Visits For November, 2004

Sunday, 7th November 2004

A Local Day

I didn't stray very far today due to other commitments, but as I was asked to give directions to Rathmichael Church (County Dublin) to a friend recently I decided to pop back and make sure they were correct .. they weren't quite.

I also wanted to go back there and have yet another go at finding the bullaun stone that is supposed to be nearby, but even asking a couple of locals didn't help. If anyone knows where it is please let me know. All I know about it is that it is reported to the north of the church somewhere.

This week I have broken my long established golden rule: I've started selling things: well, 'thing' to be absolutely correct. You can now purchase Anthony Weir's great CD-ROM - 'Fieldguide to Megalithic Ireland' through megalithomania: See my new shop page.

More stuff will appear in the shop, but only stuff I think is of the highest quality (and that I can get hold of). I don't intend to put loads of banner ads onto megalithomania right now. If these do appear they will only ever be internal ones and never for external items.

The original purpose of bullan stones is not really known, but they have an undisputable association with water and Brigid worship. A 'bullaun' is a deep hemispherical cup hollowed out of a rock. Bullaun Stone refers to the rock itself, which can have many bullauns in it, although many are single.

It is generally thought that they date from the Bronze Age, but I personally believe there is a much old provenance to them and that there is a relationship to prehistoric rock art, for a good example of this see Glassamucky Mountain (County Dublin).

Ritual use of some bullaun stones has continued well into the Christian period and many are found in association with early churches (The Deer Stone (Glendalough D) (County Wicklow) is just one of many at Glendalough (County Wicklow)) and holy wells. Their presence at so many early Christian sites, to me, places them as being of massive importance to the pre-Christian inhabitants of Ireland and something the church was very eager to assimilate.

The beautiful example at St Brigit's Stone (County Cavan) still has its 'cure' or 'curse' stones. These would be used to by a visitor turning them whilst praying for (or cursing) someboby.

Rathmichael Church (Co. Dublin)Round Tower18 New Images
Jamestown Cross - Stepaside Public Golf Course (Co. Dublin)Cross4 New Images

Sunday, 14th November 2004

Map Confusion All Around

The first site I went to today appears on the OS map as 'Standing Stones', but is in fact a passage tomb and a standing stone (of sorts). Later I went to a site labelled 'Stone Circle' & 'Chambered Grave' - the map should say 'Stone Circles & Alignments', 'Standing Stone' where it says Chambered Grave and should have Chambered Grave elsewhere on the hillside. This site seems to be a very important place in terms of being chock-full of monuments, with a Beaghmore-like complex poking out of the peat at its heart.

After that I decided to head for home as it started to rain and, already having a cold, I didn't want to make that worse before starting my new job tomorrow. However, I decided to head for one last monument before heading south again and I am so glad I did. I found one of the most incredible court tombs I've ever been to, but more on this later.

Much closer to home I made a quick detour when I saw a sign to a place I'd read about quite a while ago, but never really knew where it was.

Sess Kilgreen (Co. Tyrone)Passage Tomb7 New Images
Sess Kilgreen (Co. Tyrone)Standing Stone3 New Images
Ballyrenan (Co. Tyrone)Portal Tomb16 New Images
Glasmullagh (Co. Tyrone)Stone Circle3 New Images
Glasmullagh (Co. Tyrone)Standing Stone3 New Images
Glasmullagh (Co. Tyrone)Wedge Tomb5 New Images
Legland (Co. Tyrone)Court Tomb13 New Images
The Jumping Church - Kilmedock (Co. Louth)Church5 New Images

Sunday, 28th November 2004

Driving to the moon

As I drove north towards the Leitrim/Fremanagh border area I was heading directly for a big fat full moon, hanging in the blue sky. My thoughts turned to the first site I was heading for (some rock art) and I wondered about the patterns I would see, whilst contemplating the patterns I could see on the lunar surface.

The weather was fantastic for the whole day, making me dawdle at the first site and take in the view and the low, winter sun. The rest of the sites I went to weren't all that spectacular, but it was a good day on the whole.

On Saturday 27th hundreds of people turned out in Dublin to march in protest about the proposed motorway through the Tara/Skryne Valley. Unfortunately, prior engagements meant I couldn't be there, but my wife, Uta, did go along and add our support.

This week is a busy one, so the notes and images from this trip may take a while to appear, so keep checking back between now and the weekend.

Reyfad (Co. Fermanagh)Rock Art22 New Images
The Giant's Stone - Big Dog (Co. Fermanagh)Rock Outcrop3 New Images
Drumgormly (Co. Fermanagh)Court Tomb1 New Image
Dog Little (Co. Fermanagh)Court Tomb3 New Images
Mautiagh (Co. Leitrim)Court Tomb7 New Images
Mautiagh (Co. Leitrim)Standing Stone1 New Image
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