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In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

The gift of Irish eloquence

March 15, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

County Cork harbors the southernmost port in Ireland, to which most Irish immigrants once walked, rode on horseback or in carts, alone or in droves, all heading for a ship to take them to America. Just a few miles to the north is Blarney Castle - built nearly 600 years ago, now famous for one thing that brings millions of people to Blarney, making it one of Ireland's greatest treasures.

The Blarney Stone - the legendary Stone of Eloquence - is found at the top of that great rectangular stone structure. Kiss it, says the legend, and you'll never again be at a loss for words.

To kiss the stone requires an odd ritual. For a price, people have to lie on their backs, their heads toward the tower's stone wall and, held by the ankles or waist, are lowered headfirst while clutching a pair of iron rods behind them - lowered until their lips reach the stone, now smooth from those millions of lips that preceded them.

For centuries, the combination of those early travelers, and the Gift of Eloquence given to them on their way to America, have been rewarded to all Irish people - and others since then - the gift of gab for which they have become renowned:

There's the joy of dear Killarney

In this blessing meant for you,

There's a bit of Irish blarney,

There's a touch of magic, too

A hope that love and laughter

Will steal your heart away

And a prayer that all you're wishing

God grant you and yours today.

In a more secular vein, there is this Irishman's philosophy, eloquently stated:

"In life, there are only two things to worry about; either you are well or you are sick. If you are well, there is nothing to worry about, but if you are sick, you have two things to worry about: Either you will live or die. If you live, there is nothing to worry about, but if you die, you have two things to worry about: Either you go to heaven or to hell. If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about, but if you go to hell, you'll be so busy shaking hands with your friends, you won't have time to worry."

"So you take your wife everywhere, Paddy. Why?"

"Don't you know, she's so ugly she makes me children cry, an' were I to roam and leave her home, I'm obliged then to kiss her goodbye."

"Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place. Looking up to heaven, he said, 'Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place, I will be good for the rest of me life an' even give up me Guinness Stout.' Miraculously, a parking place appeared. Paddy looked up again and said, 'Never mind, I found one.'"

A jolly old fellow named Mike was stopped while wobbling drunk down the street, saying, 'Look, snoo!' When he was asked what a snoo was, he would reply, 'Oh, nothin' much; what's snoo with you?'"

Mrs. Pete Monaghan came into the newsroom to pay for her husband's obituary. She was told by the kindly newsman that it was a dollar a word, and an' wasn't it too bad about him passin' away. She thanked him for his kind words and bemoaned the fact that she had only two dollars for the obituary. She wrote out, "Pete died." The newsman said he thought old Pete deserved more, so he said he'd give her three more words at no charge. Mrs. Pete Monaghan thanked him again and rewrote the obituary: "Pete died. Boat for sale."

And finally: "Here's to me, and here's to you. And here's to love and laughter, too. I'll be true as long as you, and not one moment after. And may you be filled with plenty of blarney to keep you smilin' ever after!"

Rotten Tomatoes average: "John Carter," C+



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