Lonely Planet Writer

Do you have the 'gift of the gab' for the most famous job in Ireland?

If you’re friendly, chatty and have strong arms, Blarney Castle & Gardens in Cork has a very unusual job position on offer. It is looking to hire someone to hold people as they kiss the famous Blarney Stone located on its grounds, and calls the role the “most famous job in Ireland.”

The Blarney Stone is located in Blarney Castle in Cork. Image: Jamesbowyer/Getty Images

Legend has it that anyone kissing the stone will acquire “the gift of the gab,” local parlance for having great eloquence and persuasive charm. The 15th Century castle is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors in years gone by used to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements to kiss the stone. That has changed these days for safety reasons, and visitors now lie down and lean backwards while holding on to an iron railing. The “Keeper of the Stone” holds on to them as they do so, and local man, Denis Cronin, who currently holds the role is set to retire after 13 years.

Denis Cronin is retiring from his job as Keeper of the Castle after 13 years. Image: Blarney Castle

The castle says that the successful candidate will be based at the main attraction at Blarney Castle, and will have a very important job ensuring that all visitors have an enjoyable day out. They must be very charismatic and have a friendly manner, and be good at liaising with staff and working as a team. Energy and enthusiasm is a must, as the job is physically demanding and can take place in all kinds of weather. They’ll be kept busy as the castle had 420,000 visitors last year.

Blarney Castle in Cork. Image: Chris Hill/Failte Ireland

The origin of the stone is unclear and several theories abound. Some say it was Jacob’s Pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah, and used as an oracular throne of Irish kings. Others say it was originally the deathbed pillow of St Columba on the island of Iona, and was given by the Scots in gratitude to Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, when he sent troops to support Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English in 1314.

Blarney Castle in Cork. Image: Chris Hill/Failte Ireland

Others say it may be the ‘Stone of Ezel’ brought back to Ireland from the Crusades, behind which David hid on Jonathan’s advice when he fled from his enemy, Saul. A few claim it was the stone that gushed water when struck by Moses. Whatever the truth of its origin, the castle says that it believes a witch saved from drowning revealed its power to the MacCarthys.

Interested applicants for the position can email their CVs to socialmedia@blarneycastle.ie by November 24.