Blarney Stone Mystery Solved

It's not a chunk of Stonehenge, tests reveal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2014 2:14 AM CDT
A visitor at Blarney Castle's famous stone.   (Wikipedia/Srleffler)

(Newser) – Ireland's famous Blarney Stone isn't a slice of Stonehenge, part of Robert the Bruce's "Stone of Destiny," or anything else more exotic than local limestone, researchers say. The stone reputed to give those who kiss it the "gift of the gab" has been revealed to be fully Irish by tests on a fragment scraped from the stone embedded in the battlements of County Cork's Blarney Castle, the Herald reports. Some legends had claimed the stone set into the castle in 1446 had associations with Moses or King David.

Researchers at University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum found the sample amid a collection of thousands of 19th-century geological slides. "Very few pieces of the Blarney Stone seem to exist outside Blarney Castle," the museum's curator tells the Guardian. "Apart from our microscope slide, the only other one I'm aware of is in a monument at the University of Texas," though that piece "seems to have its origins in a beer-fueled party, and the genuineness of the fragment must be in doubt." Tests on the rediscovered slide, which was likely made between 1850 and 1880 by Matthew Forster Heddle, a St. Andrews professor renowned for his investigations of the country's rocks, revealed that the fragment contained bits of of fossil brachiopod shells and bryozoans, which are specific to the region. (Speaking of Stonehenge, one of its secrets has been revealed.)

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