Blarney Stone Origins Found: 330-Million-Year-Old Limestone Has ‘Nothing To Do’ With Stonehenge

 @ZoeMintzz.mintz@ibtimes.com
on March 17 2014 3:47 PM
blarney stone
The Blarney Stone is believed to give the "gift of the gab" to whomever kisses it. Wikimedia Commons

The Blarney Stone has been found to live up to its name. According to a new study, the stone that is supposed to imbue the “gift of the gab” to whoever kisses it is 100 percent Irish.

The stone, which some believe came from Stonehenge, is embedded in the battlements of Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland. Other theories surrounding the origin of the stone have pointed to the stone coming from Scotland as a gift for winning the Bannockburn in 1314. The Blarney Stone has also been associated with Moses, King David, and the death of St. Columba – an Irish abbot and missionary credited with spreading Christianity throughout Scotland.

While no account was confirmed, geologists at the University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum were able to determine the stone’s origin. By studying a sample of the stone under a microscope, researchers found the Blarney Stone is a limestone comprised of mineral calcite, and slightly deformed fragments of fossil brachiopod shells and bryozoans and bryozoans which are unique to Ireland.

"This strongly supports views that the stone is made of local carboniferous limestone, about 330 million years old, and indicates that it has nothing to do with the Stonehenge bluestones, or the sandstone of the current 'Stone of Destiny', now in Edinburgh Castle," Dr. John Faithfull, curator at the Hunterian, told The Herald.

The slice of the Blarney Stone that was studied under the microscope was in the museum’s possession for years, but remained unnoticed until it was spotted in the catalogues by an intern.

"It was probably made between 1850 and 1880, during the period when new microscope techniques began to revolutionize our understanding of rocks, and how they form,” Faithfull told The Guardian adding that it may have been collected by Professor Matthew Forster Heddle, of St. Andrews University.

"Very few pieces of the Blarney Stone seem to exist outside Blarney Castle. Apart from our microscope slide, the only other one I'm aware of is in a monument at the University of Texas. However, this object seems to have its origins in a beer-fuelled party, and the genuineness of the fragment must be in doubt,” Faithfull said.

"The Blarney Stone is famous for bestowing the gift of eloquence on those who kiss it. We don't know if kissing the microscope slide would have the same effect, although I have tried it."

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