Visits For February, 2008

Saturday, 9th February 2008

This Is Not A Repeat!

What? More bullaun stones? Surely not!? I'm afraid so, folks. After a quick chat with Chris Corlett during the week I was armed with loads of information about some bullaun stones that I've looked for many times. Today I found them, so I owe Chris great thanks.

As well as the many bullaun stones I was also able to find several pieces of rock art that I've been hunting down for many years now. I've been looking for one of them for 7 years! ... and it's in somebody's front garden. It was feared that the stone had been lost or buried, but it's safe and sound.

I met up Ken Williams in the afternoon, but we were both limited in time by then. We went to the lovely, but worn, rock art panel at Tinnacarreg. Hiding under the brambles that covered the stone until recently we uncovered two bullaun stones right next to the panel. After that we headed off to track down a second stones in Ballinkillin.

What a great day. Six bullaun stones and five rock art panels. The crazy thing is that I drove past at least 15 bullaun stones en route! You can only have days like this around the Wicklow Mountains.

Carrigeenduff (Co. Wicklow)Rock Art6 New Images
Carrigeenduff (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone5 New Images
Carrigeenshinnagh (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone5 New Images
Carrigeenshinnagh (Co. Wicklow)Rock Art3 New Images
The Baltynanima Stone - Roundwood (Co. Wicklow)Rock Art6 New Images
Raheen (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone4 New Images
Trooperstown (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone6 New Images
Tinnacarrig (Co. Carlow)Rock Art6 New Images
Tinnacarrig (Co. Carlow)Bullaun Stone6 New Images
Ballinkillin (Co. Carlow)Rock Art3 New Images

Sunday, 10th February 2008

Off The Beaten Track In Antrim

With the forecast looking good I arranged to meet Anthony Weir in Antrim in order to see some little-visited tombs. As I passed Belfast the fog became really thick and I thought that we'd not get to see anything, but it eventually started to lift after our first site. It never really cleared though and the sky stayed bright white making it very difficult to take pictures.

Among the sites on my target list were Ireland's longest court tomb and a small monument that was once used as a pigsty! The former is incredible and hardly touched, while the latter is rather cute, but presents a few classification questions. We eventually decided it was similar to the tomb at Ballylumford (County Antrim).

It wasn't possible to see al the sites I wanted to, because I don't know my northeast from my northwest and we spent quite a while talking to one of the farmers we met. Mis-remembering that a site lay northeast of a mountain meant we went for a long walk that we didn't need to do, which cost us about an hour.

The Maidens - Antynanum (Co. Antrim)Stone Pair9 New Images
Tamybuck (Co. Antrim)Wedge Tomb7 New Images
Antynanum (Co. Antrim)Court Tomb18 New Images
Ballygawn (Co. Antrim)Passage Tomb9 New Images
Cander's Walls - Ballygowan (Co. Antrim)Court Tomb3 New Images

Sunday, 17th February 2008

Two Gents And Tales Of A Saint

Not too long ago I received an email from someone pointing out that County Laois has much more than features. This is true, although I have to say not a great deal in the way of things megalithic. Anyway, with the freezing fog that was around this morning I didn't want to head up to Antrim again, so I headed across country to Laois and Tipperary.

The sites on my list had some variation to them, too. Not just rock art and bullaun stones this time (I ended up seeing quite a few more bullaun stones.) I started at a very accessible roadside barrow and proceeded via a round tower and a sheela-na-gig to a string of bullaun stones.

I'd previously been to the round tower at Timahoe, but I didn't have any pictures of the lovely Romanesque doorway. Nor did I have a proper grid reference for the site - I noticed that the one on is way out!

The sheela-na-gig at Cullahill is one I'd tried to see before, but I'd been looking on the wrong wall of the castle. It has been known to become covered in ivy from time to time, too, so that could explain my previous failures to see it. It is now cleared and easy to see ... when you know where it is.

The bullauns were mainly in Tipperary, where I was following in the footsteps of local a man, Derek, who has already visited many of them.

At one of the sites, a bullaun stone known as St. Kieran's Knee, I met two lovely gentlemen who told me tales of how the bullaun stone and the nearby holy well got their name. These two chaps keep the well and stone in good order and would love for it to be signposted so that more people can enjoy them and even use them for the cures they are supposed to provide. It's great to meet people like this and the country could do with many more of them. Sadly, I'm not sure there'll be people to follow that will take such pride in their local treasures.

Greatheath I (Co. Laois)Barrow5 New Images
Timahoe (Co. Laois)Round Tower3 New Images
Moyne (Co. Laois)Bullaun Stone5 New Images
Cullahill (Co. Laois)Sheela-na-Gig4 New Images
The Knee - Lisballyard (Co. Tipperary)Bullaun Stone2 New Images
Lisballyard (Co. Tipperary)Holy Well1 New Image
Lorrha (Co. Tipperary)High Cross2 New Images
Lorrha (Co. Tipperary)High Cross2 New Images
Lorrha (Co. Tipperary)Bullaun Stone2 New Images
Lorrha (Co. Tipperary)Bullaun Stone3 New Images
Townfields (Co. Tipperary)Bullaun Stone3 New Images
Kilruane (Co. Tipperary)Bullaun Stone4 New Images

Sunday, 24th February 2008

A Tour Of Wexford

A while ago I set off to see some of the standing stones of Wexford, but was turned back by poor weather. Today I decided to retry the trip and to also see some other Wexford monuments, including Wexford's only recorded bit of rock art. Sadly, this lone piece of rock art was not to be found. It lies somewhere in the middle of a plantation, which has recently been 'cleared' leaving the area looking like a demolition site. I don't hold out much hope for this stone unless it was moved before planting.

That aside, the day was quite successful. I saw several standing stones, a fine stone pair, revisited a stone row and a portal tomb, and saw a good selection of bullaun stones (no surprises there!). I'm glad I went back to the stone row. I only managed to see it through a hedge last time and I thought it was rather small. In fact it's massive and wonderful!

The sites took me on a zig-zag trip down and repeatedly across the county, passing through towns and villages I'd not been to before. It's always a pleasure to see new places, but there's something odd about Wexford - when you stop and talk to people they're really friendly, but they don't give you that little raised-index-finger-wave as they drive past on country lanes that you get around the rest of the country.

Croghan Middle (Co. Wexford)Standing Stone2 New Images
Croghan Middle (Co. Wexford)Standing Stone3 New Images
Scurlocksbridge (Co. Wexford)Bullaun Stone4 New Images
New Baun - Newbawn (Co. Wexford)Portal Tomb2 New Images
Clongeen (Co. Wexford)Standing Stone4 New Images
Clongeen (Co. Wexford)Standing Stone2 New Images
Barmoney (Co. Wexford)Stone Pair5 New Images
Greatisland (Co. Wexford)Bullaun Stone3 New Images
Whitechurch (Co. Wexford)Stone Row or Alignment6 New Images
Saintkierans (Co. Wexford)Bullaun Stone2 New Images
The Bell Stone - Kilmannon (Co. Wexford)Bullaun Stone1 New Image
Fence (Co. Wexford)Bullaun Stone4 New Images
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