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Blarney Stone,

Leprechauns & Fairies


St. Patrick's Day History - Folklore, Phobias, and Fairies
By: Tippy & Alfred

Blarney Stone

So why do people kiss the Blarney Stone?

Blarney Castle is in County Cork, Ireland. Blarney Castle
was built by Cormac Laidhim McCarthy (Lord of Muskerry) in
1446. The Blarney stone is located between the main castle
wall of the southern tower and the parapet. The Blarney
Stone has many varying stories of its origin attached to it,
from the stone that the Biblical Jacob used for a pillow to
the stone Moses struck to produce water. In any event, it
has had a long and rich history.

To kiss the stone a person must lay on their back, hold onto
iron bars for support, and bend backward and downward. The
Blarney stone is said to have magical properties. The legend
is that an old woman cast a spell on the stone (or revealed
a magic that was already there, depending on the story) to
reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the
stone gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and
convincingly - the "gift of gab."

Francis Sylvester Mahony, an Irish bard of the early
nineteenth century, wrote:

" There is a stone there,
That whoever kisses,
Oh, he never misses
To grow eloquent.
'Tis he may clamber
To a lady's chamber,
Or become a member
Of Parliament. "


St. Patrick's Day isn't necessarily noted for stress and
phobias like some of the other holidays we celebrate. If
there are any neuroses related to this holiday, they are
extremely rare. But some examples of a St. Patrick's Day
phobia could be chromatophobia - the fear of colors or of

St. Patrick's Day parades can induce those who have
ochilophobia - the fear of crowds or phonophobia - the fear
of loud noises and loud yelling to become stressed out.
Ironically, there has never been any reported incident of
mythophobia - the fear of lying, associated with St.
Patrick's Day. I guess because of kissing that blarney
stone? :)

Leprechauns & Fairies

The Irish have several kinds of fairies, but the ones we
know as the Leprechauns originate from a group called the
"Luchorpans," also known as the "wee ones." Leprechauns, at
least the ones that let themselves be seen, are rich old men
about two feet tall, and built proportionate. They wear
green or red suits, and they are said to carry two coins
with them at all times - one magic coin that will always
return to their purse after it's spent, & one coin that will
turn into a rock once the leprechaun has given it away.
Although they are usually grouchy loners, they like to play
pranks, and all are shoemakers or cobblers. (Apparently,
some of the other Irish fairies are much taller, friendlier
and traveled in groups?)

In general, the Irish feared fairies, and thought that they
stole children, especially the firstborn. They believed that
listening to fairy music (what this was exactly I'm not
sure) made you lose your sense of right and wrong. However,
many people still watch carefully to try to spot a shy
leprechaun, because if you catch one, hold on to it, and get
it to look you in the eye, you can force it to tell you
where its inevitable pot of gold is hidden. That is, unless
you look away for a second, in that case the leprechaun will
be nowhere to be found when you look back. (Supposedly you
can also follow a rainbow to its end and find a pot of gold,
but that plan has never worked for me either.)

Some also believed that the "fairy mounds" in the woodlands
and fields could have been small forts or gardens of the
leprechauns. Fairy mounds can be seen today, and some
farmers still will not disturb fairy mounds as it's said to
bring bad luck. Whether Irish fairy mounds are natural or
made by fairies is up for argument. (But botanists say they
are made by mushrooms, not fairies.)

So why, of all the fairies, is the leprechaun included with
the world's image of Ireland and so St. Patrick's Day? Some
believe it's his green outfit. But the leprechauns on modern
St. Patrick's Day cards are representative not of
shoemakers, but of farmers or owners of pots of gold at the
end of rainbows. So goes Americanization: The Irish
themselves consider the popularity of the leprechaun to be
stereotypical and don't make it a large part of their

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By: Tippy & Alfred in between their nap times.....

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