The Blarney Stone – Myth or Legend?
The Blarney stone has woven around itself a unique tradition of myth, legend and
Romance. It is said that the secret of the holy stone was given to Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster by the local witch whom he saved from drowning in the lake behind the castle. It is also said that the stone was brought back from the Crusades and that it was made into two halves. One is the Stone of Scone also known as the Stone of Destiny, the other half was given to Cormac MacCarthy by Robert Bruce of Scotland in gratitude for the Irish army of four thousand men which was sent to help him at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Whatever its origins, through the centuries the stone has succeeded in strengthening the mystical romance and legend that reaches to the four corners of the world as is evident by the thousands of people who visit Blarney Castle every year just to kiss this mysterious stone in hope of receiving the gift of eloquence or perhaps to capture a little of the mystique that is the Blarney Stone.
A Touch of Blarney (A true story)
By Frederick (Ben) Rodgers
Many readers will dismiss this story as mere coincidence, but those of you with a touch of Irish may well believe it, as do I.
In order to tell my story I must first relate an event that occurred one year earlier. My name is Frederick Rodgers I’m a twenty year old Able Seaman and as yet unmarried. I have served happily for three years in the Silent Service. During the summer of 1962 in Plymouth, England I was serving aboard the Royal Navy submarine HM/SM Taciturn. On weekend leave I suffered a severe head injury as a front seat passenger in a shipmate’s car. Three weeks in hospital and thirty stitches later I was sent home on sick leave. Whilst on leave my brother-in-law suggested I claim damages and took me to a solicitor. I recounted what little I remembered about the accident and gave the lawyer a newspaper clipping, the only real information I had
When sick leave expired I was posted to HMS Dolphin, the submarine base in Portsmouth, I remained there until declared fit for sea duty almost one year later.
A Touch of Blarney
In May 1963 I was declared fit to return to sea duty. I reported to the drafting office for my next assignment. I had long since forgotten the solicitor or any hope of receiving compensation.
The submarine base maintains a complete spare crew. If a submarine found itself short a crewmember due to health or such, a replacement was readily available. It was to spare crew I now find myself posted. I’m given several forms to complete and deliver to appropriate departments. It was important the pay office knew my whereabouts if I expected to be paid. It was equally important the post office had my new address if I hoped to receive mail. However, the first priority was to transfer with my kit to the spare crew accommodation. By the time I moved to my new billet it was already late. I decided the forms could wait until the following morning. That night I turned in and quickly fell asleep.
Suddenly a blinding light is shinning in my face. Behind it, someone was shouting “ you Rodgers?” You’ve got ten minutes to get your ass aboard the submarine Totem, she’s about to sail.
I landed onboard as they were about to remove the gangway. I was unshaven, unwashed and now underway. The boat was heading out to operate in the Irish Sea with a visit to the City of Cork on the weekend. Thursday at sea being payday everyone was paid. Everyone except me that is! I was almost broke with maybe five shillings to my name. The chance of borrowing from a shipmate was nil. Not a permanent member of the crew, loaning me money was high risk. I could disappear as quickly as I had arrived.
Saturday morning, alongside in Cork City I was free to go ashore. Opposite the gangway was a pub. It didn’t open until noon. However, a discrete tap on a side door my shipmates and I are quickly ushered inside.
The interior was dim blinds still down. We ordered pints of Guinness and headed to a table by the fireside. As our eyes became accustomed to the gloom we saw a Garda (Irish Policeman) standing at the bar.
“Tis British sailors breaking the law I’m seeing here?” he says. We froze on the spot. After a pause he continued. “Ah well! Sure tis breaking the law to let salty young seafarers like yourselves go thirsty.”
A few pints later and my funds reduced by half I returned onboard for lunch. Levity in a seaman’s mess usually increases after the daily noontime issue of rum. This was the case aboard Totem. Someone suggested we head out of town to Blarney Castle to kiss the famous stone.
Having imbibed a tot and two pints of Guinness, kissing the Blarney Stone seemed an admirable idea.
The bus fare depleted a further sixpence from my dwindling funds. Arriving at the castle we were directed to climb a circular stairway to the top of the tower. Here we found the Blarney Stone and an enterprising photographer. For one shilling he would take our photograph kissing the stone. We readily agreed we surely needed a record of our lips touching this famous stone. After paying the photographer I couldn’t afford return bus fare and had to walk the five miles back to town. I returned aboard Totem, depressed, my feet aching and my pockets empty.
A dance was hosted for Totem’s crew that night promising lots of girls in attendance. I knew I wouldn’t be doing any dancing even if my feet recovered in time.
When I entered the mess I noticed the mail had arrived. I showed no interest there would be none for me. Like my pay doc’s, my change of address was sitting in my locker back at the base. Therefore I was stunned when a shipmate asked if I’d got my letter? What letter? It had to be a mistake. It couldn‘t be for me.
Nevertheless, on the table was a large official looking white envelope with my name clearly printed on the front? I quickly tore it open to find it contained several typed pages. But what immediately caught my attention was the attached cheque. It was from my lawyer, a settlement for my injuries in the sum of one thousand pounds. Never in my life had I held such a huge sum of money in my hands.
The first question that came to mind was how this letter found me? How was it possible? The fleet mail office didn’t have my new address.
Now my second question?
A few hours earlier I had kissed the Blarney Stone with only small change in my pocket. Now I was rich beyond my wildest dreams. Coincidence??? Or Luck of the Irish?? You decide!
I served a total of 25 years in the British and Canadian Navies. I’m now retired and living with my wife, Linda, in Ebenezer, Prince Edward Island. Canada. I have completed and published two books (both memoirs) titled “Lily & Me” and “The Royal Navy & Me” they are available in bookstores or online at http://www.amazon.com or visit my.
Web page for more info http://www.irishroversbooks.com
Oh, and yes I did make it to the dance that night!
God Bless and keep reading
The Blarney Stone – Myth or Legend?
I apologize for using such a term as Red Skins when referring to our First Nations People. However, as a young boy I didn’t know any better, growing up in the UK and attending British public schools such things were never mentioned. The only education I received was at the movies, or when playing cowboys and Indians, The good guys were always the cowboys or cavalry. Most movies ended with the blue coats charging to the rescue of a beleaguered wagon train and chasing off the frightful savages. It never occurred to me they were trying to defend their lands. In 1969; I arrived on PEI, I still wasn’t very smart concerning First Nations. One night I attended a fancy dress dance at the legion, I was with my boss, a handsome and smart man for whom I had much respect. During the evening a woman staggered across the dance floor, she was dress in Indian clothes. I turned to my boss and said , it looks like that squaw has had too much fire water. He bristled, I’m an Indian he said, I almost died on the spot. I had no idea, had never given a thought to indigenous people, perhaps I’d assumed they had all disappeared . I apologized as sincerely as I could , I explained my ignorance and lack of education. Fortunately he was a lot smarter than me and we managed to move on. Since that moment I made it my business to better understand the history of this continent. It’s not something to be proud of , we and our forefathers stole this beautiful land from the First Nations. We treated them cruelly, forced them onto reservations, and in general dismissed them as non-peoples. Indeed we still are slow to offer help, many Canadians still speak of them as a lower form of life. When Wayne Easter stated it wasnt his fault, can’t blame him for his ancestors, I cringed. This is tantamount to claiming no responsibility what so ever, It wasnt me!!!! , the kind of response a school boy might offer. Of course we are to blame, how can we suddenly brush aside the crimes of the past. I realize we can’t change history, however we can change our attitudes, we can offer help, we can do the right thing. Refusing any blame is not the right way to make amends. Politicians more than anyone else should understand this and at the very least attempt to apologize. So Wayne Easter get off your high horse and do the right thing by apologizing .
God Bless and keep reading
This will be the most difficult blog I have ever attempted to write. Finding the adequate words to express my deep gratitude will not be easy. How can I convey to so many kind and generous people my heartfelt thanks? Quite an impossible task I fear. Nevertheless, I will try to reach as many people as I can. I would like to thank each and everyone of you in person but realize that is not possible. I can express my thanks to Alanna and the Sea Cadets, the islands famous girls soccer team, The Hollis oil stars, The Cumbria Lions Lionettes, the Royal British Legion and Royal Naval Benevolent Trust and the so many friends and neighbours. It was difficult to watch the auction via Face Book because of tears in my eyes. They told me at the treatment centre watering eyes were quite normal with chemo. However, I don’t think it had much to do with chemo and more to do with my emotions. Because of your amazing support I have completed the chemo ttreatment’s and was able to pay the approximate $17.000. Now I await the results, no guarantee but hopefully the disease will be in remission, I see the doctor on Wednesday 14th March and may hear good news from him. Since beginning the chemo my blood level has maintained a good reading, the normal is 140 and my last reading was 143. Many people remember me in their prayers so it’s made having a positive attitude that much easier. To conclude I offer my sincere thanks to everyone, may God Bless you and keep you safe. I do have one more thing to ask, if you read this on Face Book or elsewhere please share. I want as many people to read about the generosity of islanders my friends and my neighbours
God Bless and keep reading
He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.
So, the new monk goes to the Old Abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone
made even a small error in the first copy, it would
never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
The head monk, says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but
you make a good point, my son.”
He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the
original manuscripts are held as archives, in a locked vault that hasn’t
been opened for hundreds of years.
Hours go by and nobody sees the Old Abbot.
So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him.
He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing.
“We missed the R ! We missed the R !
We missed the damn R !”
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.
The young monk asks the old Abbot, “What’s wrong, father?”
With a choking voice, the old Abbot replies,
“The word was ….
We live in a world full of hatred, we see it every day in every part of this world. So I find even more difficult to understand a group of so called local Born Again Christians ? Just identifying as Christians is hard the understand, but when they claim that they know more about sinners than the rest of us?. Homosexuality is a sin according to their religious beliefs, such sinners are not welcome in their churches of communities.. What happened to the words in the Bible that states (judge not lest you be judged) or God so loved the world?. There are many other examples in the holy book, however, there is also many ways to interperate them. The born again Christians go out of their way to use only their own narrow opinions. Last year the owner of Skips Fish and Chips protested that gays etc should have no rights. He protested that he didn’t think they should be allowed to parade or fly their flag. Especially when one of these flags cast a shadow on his property. Lots of his fellow born againers came to his support. Many of us who disagree also came to expose his homophobic fanaticism. One one thing if find amusing in all of this is after the born againers have showered us with their Bible quotes . They suddenly disappear back into the safety of their church womb at the mere mention of Leviticus from the Old Testament. It’s an interesting read and very hard to dispute I will be happy to share with you on this blog
Perhaps Paul (Skips) will answer the list of questions listed below. After all he is a self proclaimed expert on all matters pertaining to the Bible and sin.
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from you. and will try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Americans. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Americans?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan, Now Paul and your Born again Supports its over to you!!!!!!
God Bless and keep reading
Shortly after last weeks rude phone call from my legion representative (Meaghan Rockman) and after my stress levels returned to a more normal level I decided to write Dominion Command. It was possibly because of the medications I’m on, but I really believed someone at Dominion would respond ,maybe even offer apologies. Yeah! it was the Meds! Not one word no explanation, no we are sorry etc. Just the usual, ignore him and he will go away. I have attached the letter sent to Dominion below. This has me thinking, not much else I can do these days, however the disarray of the RCL seems very obvious. I can’t speak for all of Canada just my own province of PEI. What see here clearly indicates a sinking ship. A provincial command that have lost their way and now drift aimlessly into oblivion. I look at the country branches, they are perhaps surviving on the fact most are the only place to buy a beer in the village. They are open to all and sundry, and support comes from a wall of lotto machines and ATM, plus booze. In the two major cities it’s a different story, lots of places to buy a beer. The two, once the islands largest branches, branch one and five in Charlottetown and Summerside are now renting the basements of what was once their former buildings. I don’t think it needs a Rocket scientist to see where this is heading. As I said in the title , the writing is on the wall. Please read below the letter sent to Dominion via Bruce Poulin communications officer. Since I received no communication this is another contradiction in terms.
Hello Bruce ,
it’s been a while since I last sent you an email of complaint or criticism about the Royal Canadian Legion . I hope and trust you will forward this message to the National President. I most certainly claim the moral high ground in what took place yesterday. (21st Feb) I received a phone call from Ms Rockman to tell me the RCL would not be supporting me for my present medical condition. Had she done this with a little compassion and or a sense of caring it might have turned out very differently. However she didn’t, her tone was aggressive, rude and demanding that I be quiet and listen to her. It was without doubt the nastiest phone I have ever received . As you may be aware I’m ill and it does not take much to upset me, she manage it in spades. I had to hang up on her. Next, she called back and my wife ,unfortunately ,endured the same tirade , she eventually also hung up . This person lacks any trace of respect for a veteran. She made the incredible statement that if it had not been for her I would never have received funding from the Royal British Legion and Royal Naval Benevolent Trust. Please read yesterday’s blog, I have somewhat calmed down since writing it. However my anger lingers and this has upset me more than you can imagine. I have ,of course ,no proof but the prevailing attitude from provincial command makes me believe there is a undercurrent of pettiness and revenge. I’m well aware I’m not their favourite person, but that is a very poor excuse for such appalling treatment. I’m sure this not the image Dominion Command wish to have portrayed. It is certainly not the reason the legion exists . It goes even further, I have been seriously ill for fourteen months, was hospitalized during the summer of 2017 and to date have not received a phone call, visit ,or a get well card from the local branch or provincial command. Bruce ,I sincerely hope you will pass this email to the people that need to know. This is not about attempting into shaming the legion into giving me financial aid. I have reached the point where I will manage without legion help. not a great result in the claim ( we are there for veterans). Respectfully Submitted F.Ben Rodgers.
God Bless and keep reading
It is amazing what can happen in ten years! Our little man turns the big ten today and we have enjoyed the last decade with his antics his demands and his excitement. I doubt we would change anything. We love him dearly. He is not just a dog he is family. Such a lovely and cuddly little puppy to the big jump he has become. Happy Birthday Yoda.
I wonder if one of the intellects at Dominion or Provincial Commands might wish to answer this very perplexing question about
Legion medal policies. I’ll start with the example of Tom Eagles, he sports a variety of legion medals, approximately eleven. He parades in legion uniform at most Remembrance Day ceremonies and other events. He looks resplendent in his legion uniform with legion medals flashing in the sunlight. Canada citizens applaud and cheer this apparent image of a highly decorated hero and veteran. This practice is quite legal in Canada, even though these medals are not real and not authorized by the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth. The legion tell us there is nothing wrong or illegal with wearing these medals, which are essentially fake. However, should a blood relative wear a late loved ones real service medals, that is breaking the law. They add the following reason, they say to allow a person to wear a medal they didn’t earn (worn on the right) it dilutes the value of the medal. This where I have real difficulty understand the logic, it’s ok to wear fake medals on the right breast but not the real medal of loved one. Now allow me to take this a step further.,please look closely at the two photos included with this blog. The first is Tom Eagles adorned in variety of legion medals, he is well within the law and legal, no risk of being arrested. Next, look at the young girl, she is wearing her Great Grandfathers First World War medals on her right breast, she is not legal and according section 419 of the criminal code should arrested and fined $5000 or thrown in jail for six months. Is it only me that can see the ridiculous difference between these two figures. The young girl is honouring the memory of her great grandfather, Eagles? well not sure what he stands for, its hardly to honour anyone but himself, and could be very well be considered stolen valour. Surely the legion leaders can see my confusion with is strange and unusually complex situation. I truly hope one will come forward and explain by providing a rational explanation to my delemma. God Bless and keep reading
It is surely time we veterans gave the embattled legion a break and let them do the job they are so diligently attempting to do. It was must be extremely difficult to concentrate on the important issues while receiving an never ending parade of us whining complaining veterans at their doors. It is amazing how they have coped thus far, clearly these are heroic and dedicated associate members. We veterans must appreciate how these committed members turn out for ceremonies and parades. I might add in all weathers! They March smartly across the parking lots resplendant in their pressed pants, neat legion blazers,military trimmed hair and berets just at the right angle?
Their proud chests sport a collection of glittering and hard earned legion medals. They look every bit the unsung hero’s of the legion. People clap and cheer, they wave flags and proudly wear poppies. These dedicated individuals work tirelessly advancing the legions goals. Have any one of us ungrateful veterans ever considered the amount of work they do. Do we realize the great effort put into raising money to keep the legion alive. Has anyone of us bought one of the many beautiful and attractive Poppy embossed gifts? The lovely bird feeder designed on the sacred poppy or the many other Poppy embossed lovely gifts all available at such reasonable prices. Have we taken the time to taste the delicious legion lager. What about the Canada 150 legion medal, anyone can buy and wear this impressive item for a mere $25. The list is almost endless, and all we veterans can do is moan and complain. —————. ———————————————————————————————————————
However, if you believe what I just wrote you must indeed be one of the above mentioned associate members! To be fair I apologize to the few associates that are members for the right reasons,difficult not to lump you all into the same pot!. If I have come across disrespectfully, good it was my intention to do so. What is good for the goose etc.the legion shows me no respect God Bless and keep reading
Not sure how to begin this blog, I have just received the most of obnoxious and rude phone call from the PEI Provincial Command (Meaghan RocKman) representative regarding support for my situation. Actually I should be saying absolutely not supporting . This was a real eye opener of the legion in action caring for veterans . I’m very ill and half way through her phone call I had to hang up. I could not get a word in ,she was insistent she was right and I wasn’t listening. I recently received approx $10.000 from the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust and the Royal British Legion in the UK. Ms Rockman claimed I only received this because of her? Silly me ,There I was thinking it might have had something to do with the fact I served eleven years in the RN Submarine Service. The actual phone call was about as nasty, rude and loud as I have ever experienced. After I hung up she rang again and my wife answered. Unfortunately she had no better luck than me the shouting continued and her insistence Linda be quiet and let her talk went on. In the end Linda too gave up and hung up. So to sum up! Before the award came from the UK, Dominion Command and Provincial Command stated they would both add $1000 ea. After the award arrived they said they wouldn’t be financially supporting me after all. My daughters had begun a gofindme campaign and apparently a legion member in NFLD got hold of a copy of the funding page and sent it to Dominion, hence the reason they will not support me. I have no idea why someone would just out of the blue decide to inform Dominion of the gofundme. They really must think I’m out to defraud their Poppy Fund. The fact is no one at the Legion have any real info on my situation, no one has visited, no one has call, not even a get well card from the local branch. Guess I never realized I had made myself so unpopular with my objections to how Legion business is conducted. I should have sat back said nothing and just been a good little legion boy. However, I have been very ill for the last fourteen months with a serious life threatening disease, I have needed numerous medications, insulin injections five times daily. I have travelled over 5000kms attending hospital,doctors,scans ,tests etc. The chemo treatment was denied by PEI Health and the cost is approx $15000 to 17000. On top of this I have purchased a wheel chair, chair lift for the stairs. Special shower seat and safety rails plus other needed modifications in the house. I do not know what the future holds there are no guarantees . If the chemo works it will put the disease into remission,if it doesnt work? I have no idea what I might require in the future and I’m quite sure PEI Provincial Command have no idea either??. Should I continue to need a wheel chair I will need a wheel chair ramp and perhaps other additions. Nevertheless, whatever the outcome I will not be going to the Royal Canadian Legion with my cap in my hand. I’m thoroughly disgusted with them, they should hang their heads in shame. The Legion Helping Disabled Veterans, indeed a contradiction in terms. My own history as follows , I served eleven years RN and twelve years CF Reserve. Approx 30 years as a legion member, have held several exec positions including Poppy chair. I suffered injury to both hand and my spine in 1964 while serving aboard HM/SM Alcide. and receive a small disability pension from the UK. If I wear a Poppy this Remembrance Day it will be one from the UK. God Bless and keep reading