In the latest blow dealt by COVID-19, visitors can no longer kiss a chunk of limestone in Ireland to gain the gift of the gab, if that’s your thing (apparently it is for around 460,000 tourists a year).
Yes, we’re talking about Ireland’s famous Blarney Stone, located in Blarney Castle in County Cork.
The castle’s management sent out a tweet advising that “for the first time in our history the kissing of the Blarney Stone has been postponed until further notice”.
For the first time in our history the kissing of the Blarney Stone has been postponed until further notice.
The castle & gardens are still open and we would like to reassure all our visitors that we are doing everything possible to provide a safe experience.
— Blarney Castle & Gardens (@Blarney_Castle) March 13, 2020
Twitter users had some cleaver responses, with one asking if it was still okay to kiss the stone if tourists used a dental dam.
Another lamented that it was probably for the best as they heard local kids were “pissing on it at night”.
“Oh the humanity!” another responded.
People have been kissing the stone for almost 600 years. Previously, visitors had to be held by the ankles over the castle battlements to reach the stone, but now there is a platform that allows you to literally bend over backwards to reach it.
According to legend, during the 15th century, a man who lived at the castle who had a speech impediment saved a witch from drowning in a lake. The witch promised him he would gain the gift of the gab if he kissed the stone.
Ireland now has around 1,125 cases of COVID-19, and has implemented similar social distancing rules as Australia, cancelling all indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings with more than 500.
Featured image credit: iStock/chrisdorney.