Read From Dublin to Cork and Blarney Castle of Stories and Legends of Travel and History‚ for Children , free online book, by Grace Greenwood, on


We left Dublin for Cork, on a fresh August morning pleasant but showery, like nearly all mornings in Ireland. The railway on which we travelled, passes for the most part through a barren, boggy, desolate country, with only here and there a tract of well cultivated land past low, miserable hovels of bog-working peasants, and wretched, tumble-down little villages.

It was melancholy to see, all along our way, multitudes of ruins churches and castles and towers battered, dismantled, and ivy-grown making it look more like a country of the dead than of the living. In these crumbling remains, you read, almost as in a book, the history of the ancient prosperity and power of Ireland, and of its gradual destruction by wars, sieges, famine, and pestilence, till it was brought to its present state of poverty and desolation.

We passed through, or in sight of, several famous old places, such as Kildare, the Rock of Dunamase, Cashel, Kilmallock, and Buttevant.

Kildare, though now a small, dilapidated town, was once a large city, renowned for its religious institutions. Its principal buildings were churches, monasteries, and nunneries, and its chief productions crucifixes, rosaries, and saints. The most celebrated among the latter, was Saint Bridget, who received the veil from the hands of St Patrick himself. She founded a nunnery here, which was most remarkable for “the sacred fire,” which the nuns who succeeded her kept burning for hundreds of years in remembrance of her, probably. From a little story related of her, when she was a child, I should say she better deserved to be called a saint than many of those so honored by the Church.

The father of Bridget was a warlike Irish chieftain, but a loyal subject of the King of Leinster, and on one occasion, that monarch bestowed upon him a rich sword, with the hilt set with costly jewels. Now the peasants on this chieftain’s estates were very poor indeed, suffering absolute starvation, and there was no one to help them, for their lord had enough to do to fight his enemies, without feeding his humble friends; and his wife, Bridget’s stepmother, was a hard, cruel woman. Poor little Bridget gave all her pocket-money, and sold all her little keepsakes, for their relief, and still they were starving. At last, she went to the armory and took down her father’s idle, show sword, and had the rich jewels taken out of the hilt and sold. With the money she bought food, and saved the lives of several most worthy but unfortunate families. When her father came home, she told him what she had done. History does not say, but we can easily guess, what he did. And that was not the last of it; soon after, the King came to her father’s house to dine, and having heard about the theft, called the child up to him, and asked her how she had dared to do such a wicked thing as to rob her father and deface the gift of a great monarch. Now, we republicans can have very little idea of what it was to be called up and spoken to in this way. Kings, in old times, were far more terrible than they are now, and Irish kings were the most terrible of all. But brave little Bridget, though she was only nine years old, was not frightened by his black frown and thunder-like voice. She stood up straight, and looked calmly into his angry eyes, as she replied: “I have but bestowed thy gift upon a greater and a mightier king than thou art even Christ, who hath said that whatsoever we give unto his poor children is given unto him.”

In the neighborhood of Kildare, is Inch Castle, about which Mrs. S. C. Hall tells a touching legend. Inch Castle was once in the possession of the MacKellys a proud and powerful family. Ulick, one of the sons of the old lord, a handsome, gay, daring young man, but wild and heartless, paid court to a beautiful peasant girl, named Oona More. He won her love, and then, being very fickle, cruelly forsook her. Oona was very good and gentle she forgave her false lover, and would not allow her brothers to harm him, though he had broken her loving heart. Suddenly the plague broke out in the neighborhood, and Ulick MacKelly was one of the first struck. As was the custom, for fear of the infection, he was removed at once from the castle to the fields, where a shed was erected over him, and he was left alone with only a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water by his side. When Oona heard of this, she forgot his cruel desertion forgot every thing but his suffering and her love and went to him, and tended him, and prayed beside him, day and night, till he died. Even then, she did not leave him. She had taken his deadly disease; on her breast came a bright red spot the sure sign of the plague. She was not sorry to see it there and the next day, all her pain and trouble and sorrows were over. Then her brother came to take her away. She still sat by the dead her hood fell over her face, so she seemed to be yet alive. Her brother laid his hand on her shoulder, and said, gently

“Oona, come home the cow is lowing for you the little lambs have no one to care for them. Oona, dear, come home with me!”

Seeing that she did not stir, he lifted the hood, looked in her dead face, and gave a bitter cry. He had no sister any more.

We passed through a portion of the “Bog of Allen,” the largest of all Irish bogs said to be full 300,000 acres in extent. Some of my readers may not know that the bog is not the primitive soil, but masses of partly decomposed vegetable matter, which have accumulated during many, many ages. In nearly all of the bogs, trees of various kinds have been found imbedded sometimes small buildings, arms, ornaments, strange implements, and the bones of enormous animals, now extinct. From oak dug up from bogs, many pretty black ornaments are now made.

This bog takes its name from the hill of Allen, or “Dun Almhain,” on which was the residence of the famous old Irish chief, Fin MacCual, or Fingal, as he is called in Ossian’s Poems. He was the king of the Fians, the name of the ancient Irish tribes who lived by hunting. He must have been handsome as well as heroic, for he was, it seems, a wonderful favorite with the ladies. It is related that when he concluded that it was time for him to take a wife, he was sadly puzzled who to choose among his many fair admirers. Finally, he settled upon a plan odd and funny enough, certainly. He sent out a proclamation to all the beautiful young women of Ireland, calling upon them to assemble on a certain day, at the foot of a mountain in Tipperary, now called Slieve-na-man. When they had all come together, a host of rival beauties in their best array, the great chief coolly announced to them that he was about to ascend the mountain, and that from the summit, he would make a signal to them, when they should all start fair, and whoever should first reach the summit, should have the honor and felicity of being Mrs. Fin MacCual. He then proceeded leisurely up the mountain, seated himself on an old Druidical altar, at the very topmost point, and graciously waved his hand to the expectant ladies below. Off they started like eager young race-horses, nothing daunted by the hard course they had to run. Up, up, over rocks and streams, and patches of black bog up, up, through woods and briars and furze, they leaped and climbed and scrambled laughing and panting and scolding and screaming! Ah, what sport it must have been for Fin, watching them from above! Yet, though they all ran well, only one came in winner. But that was the highest princess of the country Graine, daughter of Cormac, monarch of all Ireland. I hope she found her husband worth the chase.

The great rock of Dunarnase stands alone in the midst of a plain, and is crowned with the ruins of a castle once a very strong fortress. The rock of Cashel is seen from a great distance, and upon its summit are the finest ruins in all Ireland. This noble height was a stronghold of the ancient kings of the province of Munster. The first Christian kings built churches, chapels, towers, and cathedrals here, and the present ruins are mostly of religious edifices. This imposing site is much venerated still, and a favorite oath among the Irish peasantry is “By the Rock of Cashel!”

Kilmallock, now all in ruins, was once a city of great beauty and consideration. It was destroyed by the troops of Cromwell, the desolater of Ireland. Kilmallock was the seat of the ancient and powerful race of the Desmonds.

Buttevant is a poor little place, but containing the ruins of a fine old abbey. Near Buttevant are the ruins of Kilcoleman Castle, at which the great poet Spenser lived, and which was burned by the Irish in a rebellion. The youngest child of the poet perished in the flames.

Cork is usually ranked as the second city of Ireland, and is a handsome, pleasant, prosperous looking place. It has not many interesting antiquities, but some of its modern buildings are very fine. The country around Cork is exceedingly picturesque, and its harbor is very beautiful. The city itself is about twelve miles from the mouth of the harbor, upon the River Lee.

We had letters of introduction to a gentleman living at Monkstown, about six miles below the city, and on the day after our arrival, we took the steamboat and went down to his residence. We were received with warm Irish hospitality, and throughout that day and the next, every thing that our friend and his family could do for our enjoyment was done in the pleasantest and heartiest way. They took us boating up and down the noble bay driving along the shores, and walking over their estate. There was always a large, lively party, and we had the merriest times imaginable. They made a pic-nic for us, on Cove Island, but a rain coming on, we took refuge in an old, old castle, where we feasted, and jested, and laughed, and sung songs, and even danced, in the rough and gloomy halls in which, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, were gathered barbaric Irish chieftains grim, terrible fellows parading the spoils of the chase, or the plunder of war.

A little way back from their house, our friends have another ruin Monkstown Castle. This was built in 1636 tradition says at only the cost of a groat. Of course, the statement was a puzzle to me, when I first heard it, but it was soon explained. The estate belonged, at that time, to John Archdeken, who, while serving with the army abroad, left his wife in charge of his property. She was a thrifty woman, and determined to surprise him on his return by a noble residence, which should cost very little. So she hired workmen, with the privilege of supplying them with all their provisions and articles of clothing. These she purchased by wholesale, and though she sold them at the ordinary retail price, found in the end, that the profits had only fallen short of paying the expenses of building, one groat.

It came very hard for us to part from our kind friends at Monkstown but it has by no means been hard to keep them in loving remembrance.

Just a pleasant drive from Cork is Blarney Castle a noble ruin, towering above a beautiful little lake, all surrounded by delightful, though neglected grounds made famous by an old comic song, called “The Groves of Blarney.”

This stronghold was built in the fifteenth century, by the great chief, Cormac MacCarty, and retained by his descendants, the lords of Clancarty and Musterry, until 1689, when it was confiscated. It has since belonged to a family of Jeffries. The sad work of decay and demolition has been going on for several centuries, and yet some of the walls look as though they would stand centuries longer.

The chief object of curiosity here is the famous “Blarney Stone,” about which there is a foolish tradition that whoever kisses it shall be gifted with such shrewdness and eloquence that nobody will be able to resist his persuasions. From this comes the expression of “blarney” for cunning and flattering talk. I did not perceive that the people in this neighborhood had any more of this peculiar gift than those of other provinces; indeed, I should suppose that there was a Blarney stone in every town in Ireland, and that no Irishman, woman, or child had failed to kiss it.

This stone is now on the inside of the highest battlement of the great tower. It was formerly on the outside, some feet from the top, and those who wished to kiss it, were obliged to be let down by their heels which being a rather disagreeable and dangerous process, Mr. Jeffries had it removed to its present place. Some learned men say that this is nothing but a spurious stone, after all; and that the real magical stone is yet imbedded in the outer wall, about twenty feet from the top, and bears the name of the great MacCarty. Perhaps it is so but I don’t believe it.

In the grounds about the Castle, or “The Groves,” there is many a sweet, dewy, flowery spot, where the grass, moss, and ivy, are green as green can be, and no sound is heard in the deep shade but the gurgle of water and the warble of birds. Here are some rude steps made in the rock, called “The Witches’ Staircase,” and a cave, in which it was said a fair Princess remained enchanted for many years. Legends say that the last Earl of Clancarty sunk all his valuable plate in the lake, where it will remain until one of the old race regains possession of the estate. Our guide told us that Lady Jeffries tried to drain the lake, but that though she made a deep opening in the bank, not a drop would run out “for fear of exposing the plate of the rale lord!” He said, too, that enchanted cows in the MacCarty interest came often at night, and drove the Jeffries cows out of their pastures; and that no earthly cattle had any chance at all against them for they were furious animals, with “mighty sharp horns.” Of course, all this is very absurd, and not half so pretty as the legends we heard everywhere in Ireland of the fairies, or “good people.” I will tell you more of these another time. Now I have only room for a little anecdote of the last Lord Clancarty, which I find set down as a great lesson to people to read their Bibles.

When this unfortunate nobleman was going into exile, he told his relative, the beautiful Duchess of Marlborough, that he was certain he could recover his property, if he only had money enough to carry on a lawsuit for it. She did not offer to help him, but she placed in his hands a Bible, saying that he would find in it comfort and support in all his troubles. The young lord thanked her with such a pious face that one would have thought he meant to do little else than study the good book for the next six months. But the rogue never once looked into it, and when, long after, he returned to England, the Duchess asked him for it, and opening it before his eyes, showed him that she had placed between the leaves, bank notes enough to have recovered his estates, now hopelessly lost.

I must say that this account of Lord Clancarty’s poverty, and that of his treasure hid in Blarney Lake, do not hang together very well; but, as the Bible story has the best moral, perhaps we had better hold on to that, and let the other go, with the legends of enchanted cows and princesses.


One pleasant summer morning, in 18 , a gay party of English ladies and gentlemen visited the old Castle of Blarney. They strolled along the green shore of the lake, wandered about the wild neglected gardens and “groves,” ran up and down the Witches’ Staircase, poked their heads into the princesses cave, and then ascended the great tower of the castle. This party was headed by a gentleman of middle age, tall and stately, but very kindly and pleasant in his looks. He wore a military uniform, but was addressed as “my lord.” He held by the hand, that is, whenever he could catch her, a smiling rosy, dimple-cheeked little girl, whom he called “Fanny,” and the rest of the party “Lady Frances.” It was a pretty sight to see her break away from them all, and flit about the ruins and through the dark tangled alleys of the groves, like a bird on the wing. She laughingly skipped up and down the Witches’ Staircase with the rest, but she lingered longest in the haunted cave, looking about her wistfully, as though she expected to see the enchanted princess; and once her father found her peering into a dark green dell, and listening attentively, her dark eyes growing big with expectant awe.

“Why, daughter Fanny, what have you there?” he asked. “What wonderful discovery are you making?”

“Hush, father!” she replied, with her small taper finger on her lip, “it’s the fairies I’m after the ‘good people,’ nurse Bridget has told me so much about. I am sure there must be some of them in this still, shady place. I’ve found their ‘rings’ in the fresh, green grass.”

Lord Clare at first smiled at this simple, childish faith, then grew serious, and sitting down on a flowery bank, drew his little daughter on to his knee, and explained to her how the story of fairies was, in the beginning, only a fable of poets and romance-writers, and was now only believed in by ignorant peasants, like her Irish nurse; that, in truth, there were no such beings as the fairies in all the world. When he had finished, he was surprised to see that the child had covered her face with her hands, and that the tears were fast trickling through her fingers. “What is my little daughter weeping for?” he asked.

“For the fairies, papa; the dear, beautiful fairies. I can’t believe in them any more.”

“But was it not right for papa to tell you the truth, my darling, even though it gave you pain?”

“Yes, I suppose it was. But, oh, papa, somehow things don’t look so beautiful as they did when I believed in the ‘good people.’ Then every bank of moss, or bit of green turf, I thought might be a fairy ball-room. Whenever I saw a flower, or a leaf floating on the water, I thought some fairy might be sailing on it. I was almost sure full-blown roses were the thrones of fairy queens, and buds just opening they were the little baby-fairies’ cradles. Oh, it was so beautiful! and then, the kindness and goodness of the wee things, papa; that is, when you did not happen to offend them. They were always helping people out of trouble, especially poor persecuted princes and princesses, and they were such fast friends of good children at least, so nurse and the fairy books said, and I used to believe so; now it’s all over.”

“But, my daughter,” said Lord Clare, “we can be better than fairies to one another, if we will; and then, remember, that we have God’s good angels to watch over and help us, when they can.”

“Yes,” said Fanny, brightening up a little, “that is some comfort.”

It was soon after this conversation that the party ascended the old crumbly stone steps of the great tower of the castle. After enjoying the fine prospect from the summit for some time, Lord Clare inquired for the famous Blarney Stone.

Rooney, the guide, a shrewd, smooth-tongued fellow, leaned over the ruined parapet, and pointing to a stone, several feet below, replied, “There it is, yer honor, the rale meraculous ould stone. Sure if your lordship would so demane yourself as to kiss it, to-day, you would never have any trouble in governing Irishmen at all. You would have only to spake, and the spirit of fight and rebellion would leave them, and they would be quiet as lambs.”

“Indeed! that would be a miracle; but how am I to get at the stone?”

“Oh, that is aisy done. I’ll hould your lordship by the heels and swing you over just all for half a crown, and as much more as yer lordship is plased to give.”

“O yes, I remember to have heard of your original way of showing up the Blarney Stone,” said Lord Clare, “but how can I be sure that you will not raise your price before raising me. It strikes me that I have heard of your once playing off that trick upon a tourist.”

“Ah!” said Rooney, with a sly chuckle, “yer lordship alludes to a mean-souled tailor, from London. He stood where yer lordship stands for more nor an hour, beating me down from half a crown, my lawful fee, to a shilling, and me with seven children and the wife at home down with the fever. At last, I gave in, and swung him over. He kissed the stone, and then called to me to pull him up. ‘Wait a bit, my man,’ says I, ’you gave me only a shilling for letting you down; it’s a dale harder job to pull you up. I must have half a crown for that same.’ With that, he began to swear and call me a chate, and threaten me with the police. But I only said, ‘my arms is givin’ out, and I can’t hold on much longer, and if you won’t pay me my just demand, I shall be under the necessity of dropping yer acquaintance.’ Then he began to beg, for you see, he could look down and see the ugly rocks and the black water more nor a hundred feet below him. But I told him he had bothered so long, and given my arms such a strain, that I could not let him up so aisy. At last, to save his neck, he promised me the half guinea I asked, and paid it as soon as he set foot on the tower. I know it was a big price for the article, but that was his own affair. And now, begging your lordship’s pardon, for proposing such a thing as your kissing the stone after a tailor, shall I have the pleasure of suspending your lordship over the wall, this morning?”

“No, Rooney, you must excuse me. But here is your half crown, all the same,” said Lord Clare, with a good-humored smile.

Just at this moment, Fanny called the attention of the party to a little girl, about her own age, who had just ascended the tower, and was standing near them, looking about her curiously and wistfully. She was evidently one of the poorest class of peasants, for her dress was coarse and patched, though clean and tidy. But she was a beautiful child. She had large, dark, tender eyes, and soft curling, brown hair; her arms and hands, though much sunburnt, and her feet, which were bare, were small and gracefully formed. Her face wore now a weary and troubled look, so little befitting a child, that it touched the hearts of all that gay company. One of the gentlemen asked very kindly what it was she wanted. She courtesied, as she answered timidly, “Sure, yer honor, it’s the Blarney Stone I’m after. Will you tell me, plase, where I can find it?”

“Why, child,” said Lord Clare, “what do you want of the Blarney Stone?”

“Only to kiss it, yer honor. I’ve come all the way from Bantry, on my two feet, barring a lift now and then on a car, just to do that same all for the sake of poor Phin.”

“And who is Phin?”

“He is my brother, sir my own brother, and he has gone and ’listed, and it’s breaking my mother’s heart; and sure, yer honor, if he goes away for a soldier, she will die, and it’s all alone in the world I’ll be.” With that, her little red lips began to quiver, and the tears to fall from her soft, brown eyes.

“But what good will it do Phin, for you to kiss the Blarney Stone?” asked one of the ladies.

“Whist!” said the child, looking about her, and speaking low, as though afraid of being overheard by some one unfriendly to Phin, “it’s just a little plot of my own. I was told that the new lord-lieutenant was coming to Cork, and I knew he could let poor Phin off from being a soldier; so I said nothing to nobody, but came up to entrate him. You see I had often heard how this same Blarney Stone would give people an ilegant and moving discoorse; and sure I thought I’d need to kiss it, before I could stand up forninst a great lord, and say my story. That is all, yer ladyship.”

“Oh, little girl!” cried Fanny, joyfully, “you need not kiss the old stone for that, for my papa is ” Here the impulsive little girl caught a warning look from her father, and paused suddenly, while his lordship took up the conversation with the peasant child.

“What is your name?”

“Norah McCarthy, yer honor.”

“Ah, quite a pretty name. Well, Norah, how came this brother of yours to enlist?”

“Och! it all came from going to Darby O’Hallagher’s wake.”

“What is a wake?” asked Fanny.

“A wake, my darling young lady,” said Rooney, very politely, “sure it’s an entertainment that a man gives after he is dead, when his disconsolate friends all assemble at his house, to discuss his virtues and drink his poteen. There is one who is called a ‘keener,’ usually an elderly woman, with a touch of madness, or poetry, and a wild rolling eye, who chants a ‘keen,’ or lamentation; in short, it’s a sort of melancholy frolic, where we only drink to drown our sorrow a good old Irish custom. Now, go on, Norah, my jewel.”

“Well, may be Phin was a great mourner for Darby, for he was overtaken in drink that night, and brought shame upon himself, that had always been a dacent and a sober lad; and the next day Mary Nelligan wouldn’t spake to him, and even our mother turned her face away from him; and so, with the hot shame at his heart, he went straight to the sergeant and ’listed. He was sorry soon, and Mary was sorry, and mother is just kilt with grief, for she has nobody to look to now.”

“And to obtain your brother’s discharge, you have come on this pilgrimage to Blarney Castle, my poor child?” said Lord Clare, laying his hand gently on the little girl’s head.

“Yes, and will yer honor kindly point out the stone to me? for I must go back to Cork this day.”

Lord Clare took her by the hand, and leading her to the parapet, pointed down to the stone, imbedded in the outside wall. “Ah,” cried Norah, in a tone of dismay and grief, “how can I reach it there? and where am I to get the heart to spake up to the lord-lieutenant for poor Phin?”

Just then, an idea of testing the courage and devotion of the child occurred to Lord Clare. Unwinding from his waist a long silk, military sash, he said, “If you will let me tie this around you, under your arms, and let you down by it, you can kiss the Blarney Stone, and I will draw you up again. Are you brave enough to venture?”

As Norah looked down from what seemed to her a dreadful height, she grew dizzy and shrank back; but when she looked up into the calm, kind eyes of Lord Clare, she took courage, and said she would go. As he tied the sash firmly about her, she said, “If yer honor finds me heavy you’ll not let me fall, for sure you have a colleen (girl) of your own.”

She put up a little prayer when she went over the wall, which I doubt not was lovingly listened to, by Him who blessed little children. Safely she was lowered to the stone, and eagerly she pressed against it her soft red lips, and then called out, “I’ve done it, yer honor; now pull me up, if you plase.”

As Lord Clare lifted her up over the parapet, Fanny, in admiration of her courage, rushed forward, flung her arms about her and kissed her calling her “the best and bravest girl in the world.” The ladies and gentlemen of the party all made presents of money, which she received with grateful thanks, but seemed bewildered by their great kindness and in a hurry to get away.

“Where are you going?” asked one.

“Back to Cork, sure, to find the lord-lieutenant, while the feel of the Blarney Stone is on my lips.”

“But how will you get to speak to him?”

“Ah, then, I cannot tell; but the saints will help me, may be.”

“I will tell you what to do,” said Lord Clare. “Come to the Royal Hotel, where he lodges, just after the Review, to-day. I know him, and will see that orders are given to admit you, at once.”

“But hadn’t I better wait till his lordship has dined?” asked Norah, “for I have heard that gentlemen are better natured after dinner.”

“Ah, you are a shrewd child,” said Lord Clare, laughing, “but you forget that you have kissed the Blarney Stone, and need not fear even a hungry lord-lieutenant. Come at the time I set.”

“And keep up good courage,” whispered Fanny. “You can’t expect any help from the fairies, for there are no such little folks nowadays; but there are the angels, you know and my papa, he is almost as good as a fairy.”

At the hour appointed for receiving his humble petitioner, the lord-lieutenant was standing in his parlor, at the Royal Hotel, with a group of officers in rich uniforms and ladies in full dress about him. He was amusing some of the company who had not been with him in the morning, by an account of the simplicity and heroism of the beautiful Irish child he had met, when she was shown in, by a pompous serving-man, in showy livery, who looked very much astonished and somewhat indignant at being obliged to introduce such a humble little body to a room full of grand people. But no one cared for his looks. Norah was dazzled by the sight of so much splendid dress, and went forward with timid, wavering steps to where she was told the lord-lieutenant was standing. She stood before him, quite silent for a moment, her eyes cast down, and a painful blush overspreading her artless face; then, in a trembling, hesitating voice, she began “Will yer honor plase no, may it plase yer lord-lieutenantship to let our poor Phin go! Sure, with all these fine soldiers you’ll never miss him, and then” here she stammered and broke quite down. Covering her face with her hands, she cried out, half sorrowfully and half in vexation, Bad luck to the Blarney Stone! Theres no good in it at all, at all sorra a word more will it give me to spake.”

Lord Clare laughed at this a pleasant, familiar laugh and Norah dropped her hands and looked up full in his face, for the first time during the interview. In an instant, her eyes flashed joyfully through their tears, she clapped her hands and cried, “Blessed Saint Patrick it is himself!” The next moment, Fanny was at her side, smiling and whispering joyfully, “Didn’t I tell you my papa was almost as good as a fairy?”

To make a long story short, I will say that Phin McCarthy’s discharge was soon obtained, and Norah McCarthy returned to Bantry, by the public car, loaded with presents from the generous friends her beauty and brave devotion had made.

A short time after, as the lord-lieutenant and his party were passing through Bantry, on their way to Killarney, their travelling car was surrounded by the McCarthys and Nelligans, (Mary Nelligan was already Mrs. Phin McCarthy,) all come to return their thanks.

Little Lady Frances was very happy to see her Irish friend, who looked prettier than ever, in a neat new dress; and drawing her father’s face down to hers, she whispered, “Oh, papa, dear! won’t you take Norah home with us, to be my little maid?” This thought had already occurred to Lord Clare, so he proposed it at once to Mrs. McCarthy. Though feeling greatly honored, the good woman was, at first, unwilling to part from her darling, and Norah to go so far from her mother; but when his lordship promised that they should often visit each other, they gratefully consented.

So Norah went to live in Dublin Castle, as the maid and playmate of Lady Frances. She was always most kindly cared for, received a good education, and was treated more as a friend than as a servant by all Lord Clare’s household, for she ever retained her simple, endearing ways, and was as good as she was beautiful.

When she had been a year or two in his family, Lord Clare one day explained to her, as well as he could, the curious superstition of the Blarney Stone, assuring her that there was in reality no virtue or power in it whatever. Norah smiled and blushed at his earnest words, as she answered in her sweet brogue, which she had not yet been educated out of, “My Lady Frances told me long ago, that the fairies were all a pretty fable, and the Blarney Stone was like any other stone, just. I’ll let the fairies go, but,” (taking Fanny’s hand and kissing it,) “by your lordship’s leave and hers, I will stand by the Blarney Stone, for the good fortune it has brought me.”