Blarney Castle, in County Cork, Ireland, was built about 1446 by Cormac McCarthy. Its name was derived from that of a little village nearby.
When Queen Elizabeth appointed Sir George Carew Lord Piesident of Munster, something over a hundred years later, it became his duty to obtain, by peaceful means if possible, the surrender of all the castles and strongholds in the region to the crown.
However, the owner of Blarney Castle, descendant of its builder, was unwilling to agree to this plan, but did not wish to appear wholly rebellious. So, by blandishment, it is said, he kept putting off the actual surrender, using vast powers of persuasion to delay the event from month to month.
The repeated postponement finally became a joking matter among the associates of the Lord President, and blarney became a byword for soft speech, caj olement, or persuasive words to gain an end. (Sometimes this legend is attributed to an earlier period and to the original builder of the castle.)
To commemorate the achievement, it is said that a certain stone set high up on the wall of the castle, accessible only with great difficulty, has such potency that if one can succeed in kissing it, he too will become gifted with all the soft speech and persuasiveness that served the lord of the castle in such good stead centuries ago.