#OTD in 2009 – Blarney Stone voted ‘most unhygienic tourist attraction in the world’.

Ever since Cormac McCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, was granted the eloquence to win a lawsuit by the goddess Clíodhna*, the Blarney Stone has conferred the gift of the gab on all who kiss it (you are likely to end up with something else other than fluent speech as it is so germ ridden). Mind you, this isn’t easy to do. You have to climb to the top of the castle then dangle backwards over the edge of the parapet to reach it. Still it draws approximately 400,000 people a year.

A wall outside a theatre in Seattle, Washington, was placed runner-up in the competition. Since 1990, tens of thousands of people have stuck their unwanted chewing gum to the wall turning it into a tourist attraction. The disgusting act began with people waiting in line to visit the theatre. The wall has been scrapped clean twice since 1990 but is still covered with gum.

Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Paris is the third dirtiest attraction having been covered with lipstick prints.

St Marks Square in Venice, Italy, is fourth due to the thousands of hungry pigeons who descend on the place leaving behind their waste.

The handprints and footprints of stars outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood makes the top five. The historical Hollywood landmark is covered with grime from the hands of countless visitors who see if their hands and feet match those of the stars.

* In Irish mythology, Clíodhna is a Queen of the Banshees of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Cormac MacCarthy, being involved in a lawsuit, appealed to Clíodhna for her assistance. She told him to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and he did so, with the result that he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won. He then incorporated it into the parapet of the castle.


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