Kissing of the Blarney Stone reopens - with new rules in place to prevent Covid-19 spread

Kissing of the Blarney Stone reopens - with new rules in place to prevent Covid-19 spread

KISSING of the Blarney Stone, one of Ireland most popular tourist attractions, finally resumed this week following restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March, people were officially banned from kissing the stone for the first time in its over 600-year history, due to fears of spreading the virus.

However, as Ireland enters Phase Three of lockdown, Blarney Castle and Gardens in Co. Cork, along with access to the famous Blarney Stone, has been reopened to the public.

But before you go rushing over to plant a big sloppy one on the gorgeous slab of limestone, there are a few new rules you'll have to adhere to first.

To begin with, the staff at Blarney Castle and Gardens are using a World Health Organization approved cleanser, which supposedly kills 99.9% of germs that might be on the stone.

The spray will be used between visitors, with at least one minute between each kiss so that the disinfectant can dry.

Adding to this, the person holding someone kissing the stone will be required to wear a protective face mask, as well as protective gloves - which will then be changed and cleaned respectively after each person.

A hand sanitiser station will be situated next to the stone for anyone who feels the need to double-down with their precaution, and for anyone who may want to clean their hands after touching the bars.

"We believe this is a significant introduction of measures to help make this 600-year-old tradition as safe as possible," said Charles Colthurst, who owns the Gardens.

"There are some very difficult times ahead in the tourism industry but hopefully this is the start of our journey over the coming years to try and grow our visitor numbers back to similar levels before the Covid situation.

"We hope to see you all very soon, whether it is to step back in time and learn the famous history of Blarney Castle, or explore the world-class gardens that we have on offer," he added.

One of Ireland's oldest tourist traditions, people have kiss the Blarney Stone to supposedly gain 'the Gift of the Gab'.