Thanks to Paudie Kennelly for telling me about this legend. On the Wikipedia page for the Blarney Stone, that famous block of bluestone in Ireland, it says that “it is claimed that the synonymy of “blarney” with “empty flattery” or “beguiling talk” derives from one of two sources. One story involves the goddess Clíodhna and Cormac Laidir MacCarthy. Another suggests that Queen Elizabeth I, while requesting an oath of loyalty to retain occupancy of land, received responses from Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, which amounted to subtle diplomacy, and promised loyalty to the Queen without “giving in.” Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her “(a lot of) blarney,” thus apparently giving rise to the legend.”
So, was Elizabeth I the first person to tell someone that they were talking “a load of blarney”? Perhaps so!
By the way, Elizabeth I had a tiny bit of Irish blood – see “Anne Boleyn’s Irish Roots” for details.
Happy St Patrick’s Day and here is an Irish joke for you:-
An Irishman and an American were sitting in the bar at Shannon Airport.
“I’ve come to meet my brother,” said the Irishman. “He’s due to fly in from
America in an hour’s time. It’s his first trip home in forty years”.
“Will you be able to recognize him?” asked the American.
“I’m sure I won’t,” said the Irishman, “after all, he’s been away for a long time”.
“I wonder if he’ll recognize you?” said the American.
“Of course he will,” said the Irishman. “Sure, an’ I haven’t been away at all”.
Joke from St Patrick’s Day Jokes