Bosses at Blarney Castle in Cork have defended their precious stone’s cleanliness after a US-based travel website cited it as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction.
It may be kissed by up to 400,000 visitors each year – several of whom are likely to be carrying some sort of germs – but the custodians of the stone say they have never received a complaint from anybody.
“We clean the stone every day. I think this [the website’s claim] is just twaddle,” Blarney Castle marketing manager John Fogarty said.
“I have never heard of anybody making complaints. People come here from all over the world to kiss so as to acquire the gift of the gab. Many famous people have kissed it, including Winston Churchill and Laurel and Hardy. We even had a king kiss it last year and recently so did the American deputy ambassador to Ireland, Robert Fauche,” Mr Fogarty said.
The TripAdvisor website claimed that the vast number of people puckering up to the stone and passing off their germs made acquiring its eloquence a risky business.
One traveller posted a comment on the website saying: “You have to bend over backwards, and kiss the stone upside down – imagine the germs on the stone from everyone doing that.”
The website claimed the Blarney Stone was even more unhygienic than a wall of masticated chewing gum in Seattle, Washington. Thousands of people have been placing chewed gum on a wall near Seattle’s Market Theatre for more than a decade. The stomach-churning site even features some moulded pieces of gum depicting faces. That was rated as the second most unhygienic tourist spot to visit.
Getting pooped on by the thousands of pigeons which flock around St Mark’s Square in Venice was only rated as the fourth most unhygienic tourist spot in the world by the website, which also criticised the thousands of lipstick marks on Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Paris.