Friday, August 31, 2012

The Old Tree at Blarney

Blarney Manor House and its old tree

“Weel, now, Pat, I’ll tell ye…” Grandad wheezed from his bed.  “The secret of the old tree is this…”

Some 150 years ago the Lord of Blarney Castle ordered the young Thomas O’Roark to cut down the oak tree, since it interfered with the view of the castle.  Cutting down a healthy old oak tree?  Desecration…you damn English built your ships with Irish oak!  So Thomas pondered how to save the tree.

His old Gran listened to Thomas voice his anger and hurt.  Her eyes twinkled. “Weel now, Thomas, I’ll tell ye.  T’ain’t nothin more da English afeared than da’ curses that befall them when dey break our magic.  You go down to da’ pub in Carrigtwohill and tell Ol’ Paddy der dis…”

So Thomas went to the pub and found Ol’ Paddy spinning his stories to the local boys.  He pulled Ol’ Paddy aside, and told him what he had heard in the wind about the oak tree.  And, before Thomas was out the door, Ol’ Paddy was telling the tale whispered from Gran to Thomas to Ol’ Paddy.

Two days later, the Lord of the manor nervously pulled Thomas aside and pleaded with him NOT to cut down the tree.  That he had heard the whispered legend about “If ye cut the tree down, ye cut down the Lord of Blarney…”  Thomas told him  indeed that was what had been said all these years.

The tree was spared.  In fact, Thomas made sure his sole job was to keep that old tree alive.  Thomas’ son Conor did the same.  Conor even grafted shoots from other healthy oaks onto the branches.

The Lord of Blarney was so grateful that he gave Conor his own cottage to be near the tree at all times.

Over the years, the top of the tree grew blackened and scarred, which scared the bejeebers out of the Lord.  Conor’s son Liam rescued the tree, invoking the fairy magic and some horse manure, plus some horticultural knowledge.

Now Grandad passed the truth down to Pat.  He breathed his last, a smile on his face.

Blarney Castle


  1. Such a tricky scheme, but all it takes is one person to spread a tale and it grows a life of its own.

    1. Those Irish--they have a way with words and legends.

  2. That's a great story.

  3. stories passed down are the best--loved this!

  4. Loved it! whenever I visited my Grandparents, my cousin's would scare the daylights out of me with myths about monsters in the area. I still get the Hee Bee Gee Bees when I think of them.
    That's a Cool picture too!
    Blessings, Joanne

  5. I treasure the picture of my mom kissing the Blarney Stone. Yes, those Irish, they are so special and great storytellers.

  6. Loved it! I do enjoy an old tree with character; they all have a tale to tell.

  7. Great story! I just love old trees. Just think of all the secrets they could tell :)Congrats on your story in Open doors, just downloaded and can't wait to read!

  8. DEar Susan, sure and those Irish have a way with words. They can spin gold out of straw and silver out of moonbeams. And you've done it here. Peace.

  9. Loved this story! What is it about old trees and houses that just set the imagination going?


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