About the Blarney Crone

DSC_4286Thanks for reading. I’m Liz Barron, humorist, blogger and would-be short story writer. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland in the ’60s and ’70s and now live and work in Washington DC.  It seems I am most comfortable in cities where politicians can’t get on, and where security is fist-tight. I have a Belfast accent and try to eat a potato as part of every meal, but otherwise I can pass for an American. I have mastered driving on the wrong side of the road. I can talk about pants without giggling. I routinely ask for to-maay-to with bay-zil when I order a sandwich or a soup. Like Sarah Ferguson, I am a natural redhead with a tendency to photograph badly.

Food is important to me and I am a good cook. I am fortunate in my friends and my family about whom you will read often. I like to travel and take photos. I am good at word games. My knees are a worry.

Who is the Blarney Crone?

The Crone, close up

The Crone, close up

The Blarney Crone is Irish, sharp-tongued, quick-witted and has a redhead’s hot temper. As you will see, you can take the Crone out of Belfast, but it’s harder to take Belfast–gritty, trenchant and resolute–out of the Crone.

What’s In the Name?

The Blarney Crone is so called because she is never stuck for a word. Raised in Ireland, she was always chatty but things really took off in her teenage years (reader, she was not born menopausal). She visited Ireland’s famous Blarney Castle, near Cork, where she admits to locking her lips on the black and glistening Blarney Stone, an act that involves a most uncomfortable upside-down manuever. It is said that those who kiss the stone are forever blessed or cursed by the power of speech–usually an ability to coax, cajole or flatter. The Crone if often charming but she can be sharp-tongued and snarky. A boyfriend of later years, worn out by the constant noise, accused the Crone of going way further than just kissing  the Blarney stone. Her eloquence, he suggested, was reason to believe she and the stone had shared a greater degree of intimacy–the Crone, he believed, was the Monica Lewinsky of masonry, perhaps even the sex queen of castles. He was wrong about this of course: the crone, being from the North of Ireland, is a Presbyterian, and the Blarney stone is in a very public place.

Where can you find the Blarney Crone?

The Crone, rendered by a Yorkshire artist

The Crone, rendered by a Yorkshire artist

The Blarney Crone is far from where she was reared. She ekes out a fretful existence in Washington DC and spends weekends in Itchy Ankle, a small, mosquito-mobbed swampland settlement by the Chesapeake Bay.  The Crone and her children Hansel and Gretel are supported by a loving cast of characters  in the US, and host frequent and eccentric visitors from overseas.

Now read on…

12 Responses to About the Blarney Crone

  1. Great blog! I’ve actually kissed that very same stone me-self!


  2. Ken Tait says:

    Bout ye,
    Not a bad oul’ website, Your stories about our old school bring back the odd memory…time marches on, give me time and I’ll add a few memories of my own!


  3. Graham says:

    Hello Blarney Crone – This is ridiculous. You must be an impostor; yet the photograph does look like you! -just as winsome as ever you were. No way do you fit the dictionary definition of crone which is from Anglo-French meaning “cantankerous or withered old woman.” Well, I’m sure you not cantakerous – well, you didn’t used to be when last we met – and you are certainly not withered. But, it does look like you. It is, isn’t it? – Graham

  4. blarneycrone says:

    Yes it’s me. And you know how cantankerous I can be. I seem to remember you doing an uncannily accurate impersonation of me–(hands on ample hips and giving off) in the newsroom in Belfast all those years ago. Very well done for tracking me down by this route? When are you coming to see me in Washington DC? Can I come to see you in Holywood?

  5. Alan McCullough says:

    Would love to chat about Newtownbreda Primary

  6. blarneycrone says:

    thanks for getting in touch. I was at NPS from 1965 to 1972. I had a Colin McCullough in my class–are you his brother. I live in Washington DC now. You?

  7. Hello – found you through Yvonne Watterson’s blog. Love reading blogs like yours – I’m also from Northern Ireland and grew up near Magherafelt in the 1960s and 70s. And I’m a Doris much to my embarrassment.

  8. blarneycrone says:

    Great to hear from you Doris. Where are you living now? Happy new year, Liz

  9. Lothrien Shadowdancer says:

    Hi. I came across this site totally by accident whilst trying to do some research on Newtownbreda and the old Primary School. I attended this school from September 1959 until June 1965 and look back ever so fondly to that time. My first headmaster was a Mr. Armstrong who was succeeded by Mr. Ringland – got caned by both and to anyone who knows me they will not be surprised.
    I noticed a reply by Mr. Ken Tait, so if you are a contemporary of his you will be younger than me. I knew Ken many years ago as we lived in the same neighbourhood. Perhaps I could jog a few memories via the following:-
    P1 Mrs. Mercer.
    P2 Miss Milligan
    P3 Miss Miskimmon nee Gamble
    P4 Mrs. Sloan
    P5 Miss Gowdy
    P6 Mr. Colin Hall
    P7 Mrs. Belford
    Others I remember were Mr. Stinson, Mr. Cooke and a Mrs. Ewing.
    I also happen to remember the names of all the other pupils in my class throughout my time there; fortunately I made a list many years ago.
    During the spring of 1965, in the dining hall, if your bench seat collapsed when you all sat down, that was me with two willing friends. I noticed later that Mr. Ringland was devoid of a sense of humour which may also explain why he dismissed me as a ‘Wise Man’ from the 1964 Christmas concert!
    If I can assist anyone who might like more information about those years at Newtownbreda, I will be pleased to do so.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would appreciate any feedback/ further information via my e-mail address. I am desperately seeking school photographs relating to the above listed years and teachers.
    Kind regards.

  10. blarneycrone says:

    How great to hear from you. I was at Newtownbreda 1965-1972. Ken Tait is a neighbor of mine (Glenhugh Park). My teachers were Miss Johnson (later Mrs White), Miss Gowdy, Mrs Robinson, Mrs Morrison, Mr Thompson, and Mr McRoberts. Through this blog, I am in touch with classmates Hazel Lamberton and Maureen Bennett. Always eager to meet more 😉

  11. lothrien Shadowdancer says:

    Thank you so much for getting back to me, it was much appreciated. I lived across the road from you but I cannot seem to place you? The people I knew who lived at Glenhugh were Lynn Fleming and Linda Thompson and a girl called Zoe Ashmore. Perhaps you might also have known Lynn from Victoria College? Also, going back to Victoria, you might have known a girl called Jill Shaw from Lenaghan Park?
    It seems that you were beginning Newtownbreda as i was leaving; lol, much to the relief of the staff. We both were taught by Miss Gowdy, she was my favourite teacher throughout. Wonderful girl with a sense of humour and the only one who knew how to deal with me.
    My name is David Moore and I grew up in Beechill Park West, opposite side of Saintfield Road to you.
    Hope to hear from you again please? Thank you for kindly replying.
    Kind regards.

  12. blarneycrone says:

    We were about 10 years younger than Lynn Fleming. We lived up the hill and around the corner on Glenhugh, a couple of houses past Trevor Williams.

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