Book gives Blarney Stone kiss of death

 

TRACES OF saliva picked up with each kiss have earned the Blarney Stone an entry on a list of the world’s 101 worst places to visit.

The famed Cork attraction promises the gift of the gab but US based author Catherine Price has ranked it among delights such as Beijing’s Tap Water Museum, a Los Angeles porn convention and a “vomitorium”.

In a new book, 101 Places Not to See Before You Die, the travel writer criticises the Irish tourist attraction because of access problems, but she is even more disgusted by the “trace bits of spit left behind with every pucker”.

She placed it 55th on the list of 101 destinations, sandwiched in between a steam room at a Turkish bath and Chicago’s Weiner Circle – a hot dog stand where mutual abuse between staff and customers is commonplace.

Blarney Castle owner Sir Charles Colthurst dismissed the ranking “as a load of Blarney” and joked that falling visitor numbers would significantly reduce the amount of saliva on the stone.

“I haven’t seen what was written but it’s all Blarney anyway,” he said. “In any case, we are well down on visitor numbers, which have been falling for the past two years. At least there will be less saliva this year.”

Visitor numbers are down from 400,000 to 338,000 last year and are expected to fall below 300,000 this year.

The Stone of Eloquence has attracted controversy in the past, with a newspaper reports suggesting it was a hotbed for the spread of disease and further accusations last year that the stone, implanted in the walls of the 15th-century castle, was not authentic.

“To my knowledge no one has ever caught anything from kissing the stone. I had an esteemed expert clarify that you cannot catch any disease from kissing the stone,” said Sir Charles.

Other entries in 101 Places Not to See Before You Dieare a Groper’s Night on the Tokyo Subway, Eurodisney, Ibiza for a family holiday and the world bog snorkelling championship.