Stone Staircase

The Blarney Stone is a famous stone that is part of the Blarney Castle. It is an ivy-covered castle live hundred years old in the south of Eire (Ireland). To see the stone, you climb a narrow stone staircase whose sloping steps are shaped like wedges. The steps-118 altogether- wind around in a tight spiral and you finally come out upon an open platform on top of the castle. You are probably not alone, because a steady stream of people from all over the world visits this castle. When your turn comes, two men hold onto your legs as you lie on your back, and push yourself out through a hole in the low wall around the edge of the platform.

Then you take hold of two rusty upright bars, raise your head and shoulders about two feet, and- kiss the Blarney Stone’ Why? In the hope that this will give you the gift of Blarney! The word blarney means many things to many people. To some, it is simply “the gift of gab”-a quick tongue, always ready to spout a river of words. Others think of blarney as a form of lying, either gentle and pleasant, or big and impressive, like “tall tales” and “whoppers.” Blarney is also flattery and the art of coaxing. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, wellknown Catholic priest, tells us the difference between boloney and blarney. He says, “Baloney is flattery laid on with a trowel; blarney is flattery laid on with the lips; that is why you have to kiss a stone to get it.”

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