Irish History, A Happy Accident, And The Quiet Town Of Shamrock, Texas
St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. The Texas panhandle will be buzzing with action, mainly along I-40 as people flock to Shamrock for the festivities. Do you know the supposed wild story of how a piece of the Blarney Stone came to be in the Texas panhandle?
What Is A Blarney Stone?
The actual Blarney Stone is a block of limestone that's built into Blarney Castle in Ireland. There are several stories, theories, and legends on how this important stone came to be a part of that castle.
What matters is that, according to legend, whoever kisses the Blarney Stone will be given the gift of gab. Another way of putting it is that locking lips with that rock will make you a smooth talker.
The actual Blarney Stone is a major tourist attraction in Ireland, and it beckons pilgrims from all walks of life to go and give it a smooch.
How Did A Piece Of The Blarney Stone Get To The Texas Panhandle?
This is where things get really interesting. There are several accounts of exactly how the stone came to be in Shamrock.
The most interesting involves the Texas Highway Patrol and the National Guard. Supposedly, the piece of the Blarney Stone that is in Shamrock is a piece that fell off. It was allegedly an accident, and in 1959 the chunk was brought back to the Texas panhandle.
A Trip To Ireland, An Accident, And The National Guard
According to this version of events, the mayor of the town called up the highway patrol and National Guard to protect the stone as it was being brought into town. Supposedly gunners were positioned on the rooftop of the drug store to keep watch.
My first big question is how did that piece of the stone get accidentally knocked off? In order to kiss the actual Blarney Stone, you have to do a bit of gymnastics.
You basically have to lean over the edge of a balcony, backwards, and plant your kiss. Knocking a piece of that stone off couldn't have been an easy feat to accomplish. Also, you're at the top of the castle. It's a long way down, and finding that piece of the stone couldn't have been an easy task.
There has to be more to that story.
If You Want A Piece Of The Blarney Stone, Just Ask For It
Another version of events states that a local organization proud of Shamrock's Irish heritage simply asked for a bit of the Blarney Stone.
In this version, a group interested in celebrating Shamrock's Irish heritage simply "sent away" for a piece in 1959. There are a few other towns in the US that have done the same.
While not nearly as exciting as an armed guard, it is a little bit more believable.
The Blarney Stone In Shamrock, Texas
The piece of Blarney Stone actually sits, secured better than Fort Knox, inside a concrete cylinder. It honestly isn't much to look at, but the gift of gab might be worth a trip.
On the top, there's one side of the stone that's exposed and ripe for the kissing.
Shamrock does have a faux Blarney Stone that is supposed to bring good luck. It's perfectly accessible for the smooching, and it even has a leprechaun engraved on it.