For centuries, visitors to Ireland's Blarney Castle have been partaking in a tradition of kissing a historic monument known as the Blarney Stone; kissing the stone is said to impart a "gift of gab," or extreme eloquence with a particular talent for flattery, upon the person who kisses the stone. Though it seems unlikely that a piece of stone could have such magical powers, Blarney Castle seems insistent that this gift is a tangible effect of kissing the stone, one that will be apparent immediately after the visitor bestows a kiss on the stone. It has been at Blarney Castle since the 15th century C.E., and the stone's legendary status can be traced back farther than that, with early stories dating back to the 1300s.
The Blarney Stone's historical significance derives chiefly from a belief in some sort of supernatural or divine power. One version of the stone's mythos holds that an Irish mythological goddess told the Blarney Castle builder, Cormac McCarthy, to kiss the stone in order to gain the power of eloquent speech before a court date. No matter what its mythological or historical significance may be, the stone and the castle have been a popular Irish tourist attraction for centuries. It is likely that millions of castle visitors have kissed the stone over the years.