Blarney Stone: The world’s dirtiest tourist attraction?


Blarney Stone: Worse than an airport bathroom? (Brian Rosner/Wikimedia Commons)

If you’re ever lucky enough to make it to Blarney Castle in Cork County, Ireland, you might want to think carefully about how far you’re willing to go for the ”gift of gab.”

The Blarney Stone, fabled for its ability to bestow the attribute of eloquence upon anyone brave enough to lean upside-down-and-backwards to kiss it, is also gaining recognition as one of the world’s germiest tourist attractions.

I’m taking this one with a grain of salt, but The Forensic Science Technician ranks the Blarney Stone higher than airplane bathrooms, ATMs and murder scenes in the number of germs people are most likely to encounter. And in 2010, the book “101 Places Not to See Before You Die” gave the stone the kiss off, ranking it 55th the list, which also includes such stateside attractions as the Testicle Festival in Montana, not to mention the entire state of Nevada. Why such bitterness toward Blarney? Too much spit-swapping, according to author Catherine Price.

But the stone’s slutty reputation hasn’t slowed down the steady stream of tourists eager to romance it — up to 400,000 people a year dangle from the highest point of Blarney Castle, their lips puckered.

“To my knowledge no one has ever caught anything from kissing the stone. I had an esteemed expert clarify that you cannot catch any disease from kissing the stone,” Blarney Castle owner Sir Charles Colthurst told the Irish Times in 2010.

Update: BlogPostess Melissa begs to differ with the Blarney Stone’s ranking, going on record by saying the Gum Wall in Seattle gives her nightmares. Fair point. What other gross attractions am I missing?

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