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Origins of Blarney Stone Revealed

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the origin-story dept.

Science 47

sciencehabit writes "Kissing the Blarney Stone, which involves hanging upside down from the battlements of Blarney Castle near Cork in Ireland, is meant to bestow eloquence and persuasiveness. Such claims are not known to have been put to the test in a clinical trial, but then not much is known about the rock itself. Some say it is made of Welsh bluestone, the same material used to make the monoliths of Stonehenge. Others say it was cleaved from the Stone of Scone, which forms the coronation seat used by the kings and queens of Scotland and Great Britain for hundreds of years. Now, some light has finally been shed on the stone's mysterious origins by the chance find of a microscope slide in the Hunterian Museum of the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Analysis of the sample, which is cut thin enough to be transparent, by geologists at the museum reveals that it is not a bluestone, nor is it sandstone like the Stone of Scone. In fact, it is a 330-million-year-old carboniferous limestone typical of that corner of Ireland and contains fragments of fossilized brachiopod shells and bryozoans."

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Long live... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508107)

Terry Pratchett!

Hogwash! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508161)

330 million years old? God didn't even make our beloved planet till 6000 years ago!

Re:Hogwash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508583)

Wrong! It has been 2014 years and 3 months (obviously!)

Re:Hogwash! (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46509303)

Maybe, but how old was the clay he used?

Re:Hogwash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510039)

Just like a pearl forms around a bit of grit, the Blarney Stone was formed over thousands of years as drunk Irishmen all pissed on the same spot. At least, that's my theory on its origin.

that explains it then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508177)

The stone's powers come from it being like the others there. That sure sheds a lot of light on that.

Re:that explains it then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508203)

How do they know the slide was taken from the real thing?

In other news... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508191)

I always laugh when i see idiots kiss the stone. When drunk, the locals have a habit of urinating on it.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508239)

perhaps it's Irish piss that gifts them with eloquence ... ...

Re:In other news... (3, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about 8 months ago | (#46508277)

If you're going to let a little piss get in the way of your fun, you're in for a boring life.

Re:In other news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508647)

True. Some of the bests spots to play in have piss streaming across them several times a day (unless for some reason they're particularly dehydrated that day.)

Re:In other news... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 8 months ago | (#46508283)

Ive been told the same from family who live in ireland. NEVER kiss the stone as the locals love to piss on it

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46512807)

Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man!

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508291)

I find that hard to believe because it has always someone from the tourist office watching for it and helping the tourists.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508343)

That locals like to urinate on the Blarney Stone seems almost as well-known as kissing the Stone.

In other words - you wouldn't catch me kissing it.

Re:In other news... (2)

careysub (976506) | about 8 months ago | (#46510407)

That locals like to urinate on the Blarney Stone seems almost as well-known as kissing the Stone.

In other words - you wouldn't catch me kissing it.

At least the urine is sterile. The same cannot be said for the lips that are kissing it.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46513931)

About the only thing you're going to get bestowed on you from kissing that rock is a scorching case of Herpes.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46522205)

That locals like to urinate on the Blarney Stone seems almost as well-known as kissing the Stone.

In other words - you wouldn't catch me kissing it.

At least the urine is sterile. The same cannot be said for the lips that are kissing it.

Urine is only sterile if it is your own urine.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508389)

I dated a girl who lived very near Blarney; her mom worked at the castle selling tickets. It is well known that the locals piss on it with regularity and hilarity.

Put your back in it, man! (1)

srussia (884021) | about 8 months ago | (#46514289)

I once met a girl out near Blarney
Whose Mom worked as some kind of a carny
And so says my miss
The locals would piss
Ensued then quite a bit of hilarity.

Re:In other news... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46509197)

When drunk, the locals have a habit of urinating on it.

There's a rumor that a few people did that with the Black Stone in the Kaaba. Apparently, it just seems like the right thing to do with stones that people are used to kiss, wherever you live!

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46513017)

well, i'm crossing that off my bucket list

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46515003)

As a local, I can say you'd have to be very flexable any even then you'd still probably end up urinating on yourself. Don't believe everything you hear.

OBLG: Futurama (3, Insightful)

powerlord (28156) | about 8 months ago | (#46508257)

So according to The Fine Article ...

Those who want to kiss the stone should basically go "Kiss Our Shiny Fossilized Asses"?

The Stone of Scone (3, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | about 8 months ago | (#46508609)

Not to be confused with the "Scone of Stone", which can be purchased at O'Callaghan's Deli down the road.

Re:The Stone of Scone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509483)

Nor to be confused with the Scone of Stone [lspace.org] , the famous dwarf bread upon which rests the authority of the Low King.

Re:The Stone of Scone (2)

MondoGordo (2277808) | about 8 months ago | (#46510997)

Oh come on ... modded Informative ? ... funny maybe but hardly informative.

Re:The Stone of Scone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46512847)

Sounds like we got an O'Callaghan's employee here guys!

Re:The Stone of Scone (2)

bmeiers (191662) | about 8 months ago | (#46511307)

Ah, the O'Callaghan's scones. I'd almost forgotten about them. Thank you for this thoroughly informative comment.

Frist Oragne post, so it is (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#46508639)

Top o' the morning to you all and fuck the pope, to be sure to be sure.

Who would have thought? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46508657)

It is amazing to find out you can work out what something is made of by looking at it rather than inventing a semi-mystical explanation. This science thing might just catch on.

Re:Who would have thought? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510635)

Maybe, but almost certainly in the US, only on the East and West coasts where most of the heathens live.

How Do You Slice A Stone So Thin? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46508679)

How do you slice a stone so thin that it becomes transparent?
I have enough trouble with blocks of cheese.

LMGTFY (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 8 months ago | (#46508775)

here [about.com]

Re:How Do You Slice A Stone So Thin? (2)

Spiridios (2406474) | about 8 months ago | (#46508815)

How do you slice a stone so thin that it becomes transparent? I have enough trouble with blocks of cheese.

You start by cutting it into a thin, but not extremely thin, block. Then you grind away material until it's thin enough to transmit light. See Thin Sections [wikipedia.org] .

Re:How Do You Slice A Stone So Thin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46515423)

You slice it with a diamond-edge saw to make a relatively thin slab of rock a few millimetres thick. Then you mount that slab onto a glass slide with epoxy, and grind down the surface using silicon carbide or diamond grit on either a polishing machine or by hand. Once it is ~30 microns thick, the light shines through most common minerals easily.

The resulting slide is called a thin section [wikipedia.org] and the study of it is called petrography [wikipedia.org] .

It always amazed me (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 8 months ago | (#46508761)

People are willing to allow a complete stranger to hold them while they slide over the side of a 90-foot wall in order to share in the bacteria and viruses of thousands of others on the oft change they'll be given the ability deceive people without offending them.

Re:It always amazed me (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 8 months ago | (#46509037)

I do that every Saturday night ;)

Re:It always amazed me (1)

einar2 (784078) | about 8 months ago | (#46509059)

You can shrug off the stranger there to help you. Although I have helped to get the archetypical American tourist back to safety. He was too heavy for the helper alone to haul him back in.
The view from up there, while you are hanging out of the castle battlement, is terrific!

So in other words... (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 8 months ago | (#46509191)

All the myths around it's special origins was just a bunch of Blarney.

OH NOZ! (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 8 months ago | (#46509481)

Carboniferous? A living rock that only eats carbon? Quick, hide your BBQ briquettes!

Thanks... (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 8 months ago | (#46509493)

for clearing that up for us.

Once you see it in person it is obvious (1)

jandrese (485) | about 8 months ago | (#46509615)

The magic of the Blarney Stone isn't what it's made of, it's the fact that you have to hold your body over a very tall drop in order to kiss it. It's one of those thing where after you do it you're supposed to be thrilled to be alive, and presumably have something to talk about.

Of course these days it has been ruined by some metal bars that make it impossible to fall off of the castle and die.

Re:Once you see it in person it is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46512859)

I too kissed the stone back in 2003 under those barred conditions, however what I recall the most is a fat american lady complaining to her tourist companions, 'OMG, they don't have pepsi in ireland!". anyway im glad that the stone issue has been resolved, and we can move onto other 1st-world problems.

Knock that castle down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46512357)

If you knocked down Blarney Castle you would have Blarney Rubble.

I know a lot of (0)

Luck1234 (3581263) | about 8 months ago | (#46513511)

I know a lot of Chanelr [usine32.com] ornaments made of many beautiful stones. Like the seventeenth Century king!

So according to The Fine Article ... (0)

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