Wednesday 23 January 2019

'It's a dream place to work' - meet the man chosen for the 'most famous job in Ireland'

Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A delighted man has proven he has the "gift of the gab" by beating dozens of hopefuls to be selected for the "most famous job in Ireland."

Colum Murphy is over the moon after becoming the new Keeper of the Blarney Stone.

Over 420,000 people visited Blarney Castle in Co Cork last year and among Colum's duties will be to help thousands of pilgrims to kiss the legendary stone, which  is said to give people the "gift of the gab."

Colum, who is from the nearby parish of Grenagh, explained to why the job is perfect for him.

Colum Murphy is the new Keeper of the Blarney Stone
Colum Murphy is the new Keeper of the Blarney Stone

"I have always loved history and I live close by so every year I visit and I have brought friends from many different countries over the years to it when they have come to visit.

"I lived in America for years and I have travelled all over the world so between that and my experience working in customer service I think that really helps as I am used to chatting with people."

Kissing the Blarney Stone. Photo: Mark Condren
Kissing the Blarney Stone. Photo: Mark Condren

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Colum started his new job at the end of November, when he took over from local man Denis Cronin.

His daily tasks include opening the castle and dungeon in the morning and waiting at the stone to chat to people about its history.

While he is relishing his new job, he admits that the unpredictable Irish weather can take its toll.

Colum said: "This month has been particularly difficult because there have been so many storms but we just have to do the best we can, after all people are on holidays and they want to see the sights and enjoy themselves, I'm definitely looking forward to better weather in spring.

"It really is a dream place to work and I love promoting our history and culture, acting as an ambassador of sorts."

Blarney Castle, Cork
Blarney Castle, Cork

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Blarney Castle's marketing manager Paul O'Sullivan said there was a lot of interest in the job when it was advertised in November.

He said: "It was funny because I put up a post about it on Facebook and by the time I had gotten home I had a voicemail asking me could I go on the radio to talk about it.

"We got over 100 CVs in a short space of time, we usually just get a handful when we advertise jobs here so that was great to see.

"It wasn't just from Irish people either, we had a lot from America as well, which I suppose won't come as much of a surprise considering they are our biggest market."

Paul also gave an insight into what made Colum stand out from the others.

"The stone keeper is probably the most important person here as everyone who goes to the castle goes to the stone so it's really important that the person who is there is friendly and happy to chat to visitors.

"From when we met Colum we could definitely tell that he is chatty and his enthusiasm for his work shows."

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