Sunday, 6 September 2020

The Ninehole Stone, Offaly

 Ninehole Stone

There is a large multiple Bullaun Stone in Offaly called the Ninehole Stone. 
Curiously enough the stone actually consists of a large slab with 10 depressions in it and a small narrow channel along its length.
 
Ninehole Stone, Offaly
 
Up until the early 1800's it was considered to be a curing stone, each of its Bullauns curing a different ailment.
 
Ninehole Stone, Offaly
 
Located in the townland of Meelaghans outside Tullamore the stone is on private property so I met the owner and gained access. 
In the 1970's it is reported that the water from the Bullauns was believed to be a cure for warts however this may have been recorded in error as there is also a "Wart Stone" nearby.
 
Ninehole Stone, Offaly
 
The exposed face of the Ninehole Stone is almost perfectly flat and it's possible that the surrounding earth was once several feet lower which would have seen the Bullauns elevated higher and more "table" like.
 
Ninehole Stone, Offaly

Like all Bullaun Stones this Ninehole Stone is a mystery and there is no way of knowing for certain what its original purpose may have been.
 
Ninehole Stone, Offaly

Grinding grains, nuts, paints and medicines, or collecting rain water perhaps for use in unknown rituals? 
Ocassionally some Bullaun stones are known as "Cursing" stones and were believed to be used in attempts to cast spells or curses.
 
Today most are associated with sites of veneration or devotional sites where prayers are offered. 
 They are often associated with curative properties for illness.

Some Bulluans seem to predate written history but they are difficult to put a date on or reference in time when individual stones appeared in certain areas.
 
Ninehole Stone, Offaly
 
Most of the Bullauns in Ireland have smooth polished depressions in them and are near perfectly circular in appearance. 
 
It's impossible to know their exact function but interesting to ponder and certainly the Ninehole Stone is one of the more unusual Bullaun Stones in Ireland.
 

Ninehole Stone, Offaly

The word Bullaun is ocassionaly spelled in Irish as Bulláun, Bullán and Búllán. Although widespread in Ireland they are not unique to the country and similar stones are found worldwide.




 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

The Ardmore Stone, Donegal

 The Ardmore Stone Donegal.

 

Perched in a field on a small hillside just outside the village of Muff in Donegal and overlooking Lough Foyle lies the Ardmore Stone, sometimes called the Ardmore Gallaun.

 

The Ardmore Stone 

 
This large upright monolith is almost perfectly rectangular in shape and probably weighs at least several tons. It must have taken quite some effort to set it upright in its present position.
 

The Ardmore Stone

 
One face of the stone in particular is covered with simple Cup marks along with several  Cup and Ring marks and some of them are surrounded by multiple carved rings.
 

The Ardmore Stone

 
The markings on the stone date it to sometime in the Bronze Age so it's at least 2500 years old but probably older.
 
There are Portal Dolmens (tombs) nearby and  at one time there were many standing stones located around the area, many of which have since disappeared over time.
 

The Ardmore Stone

 
The collection of ancient tombs and stones located around the area attest to its historical significance as a place of continuous occupation for millennia and the close proximity to Lough Foyle would have provided for easy access by boat and also served as a source of food from the sea.

The Ardmore Stone

 
The townland here is called Ardmore hence the name for the stone. 
The parish area is known in Irish as Iskaheen (Eskaheen) which can be interpreted into English as clear water/pleasant water. 
Ardmore translated to English can be interpreted as meaning great height or a great plateau.
 

The Ardmore Stone

 
The Ardmore Stone is located in pasture on private property so my thanks go to the owner Seán for kindly allowing me access to take some photographs.
 

The Ardmore Stone

 
The angle of the sun made it difficult to take decent pictures and the inquisitive cattle nuzzling my bag made for unsteady shooting so the images are not great quality.
 

The Ardmore Stone

 
The area is a scenic gateway for further exploration of the Inishowen peninsula and further afield.
 
The Ardmore Stone itself is a beautiful relic from times past and its sheer size combined with its wonderful rock art make it very unusual and well worth a visit but do check with the landowner first for permission to access it.
 
Coordinates here : 

55°04'58.0"N 7°15'42.0"W

55.082777 - 7.261677

 
The Ardmore Stone
 

 
Database of Irish Placenames logainm.ieEskaheen
 
 





 

 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 


Monday, 17 August 2020

Pallas Castle, Galway

Pallas Castle

 

Pallas Castle 

One of the most beautiful Tower Houses in Ireland is nestled away at Pallas in the east Galway area.
 

Pallas Castle

 
An OPW managed site, there is free entry and when I visited in 2020 it was wonderfully quiet with the sun shining and the colour of the blue skies and green grass contrasting brightly. 
Pallas Castle is often described as the best preserved Tower House in Ireland and in reality it probably is.
 

Pallas Castle

The Tower House at Pallas in Tynagh was first constructed in the 1500's by the Burke's who would have originally been known by their Norman surname, De Burgh or De Burgo. 

It later passed into the hands of the Nugent family.

Pallas Castle

A lot of Tower Houses in Ireland eventually fell into quite ruinious conditions however this particular example has been thoughtfully cared for over the intervening centuries and is particularly attractive and well maintained.

Pallas Castle

The surrounding Bawn wall is particularly striking with its turreted corners and intact Wall walks and parapets.

Pallas Castle

Entrance to the Bawn is through a two storey Gatehouse on which is mounted an armorial plaque dated 1719 with an inscription in Latin.

Pallas Castle

I don't now whether or not this would have been a family crest but I imagine it was.

There is also the ruins of what looks like a Jacobean era house beside the Tower.

Pallas Castle

I didn't see any signage for the Castle but perhaps I just missed it. 

The approach into the site at Pallas Castle is along a very narrow road but well worth the effort in locating it.

Pallas Castle

The Tower House itself wasn't open when I visited but the grounds and bawn were a pleasant surprise and fantastic to wander around.

Pallas Castle 

The reward for travelling to Pallas is the beautiful views unfolding as you approach what is probably quite rightly often called Irelands best preserved Tower House.

Pallas Castle

Co-ordinates Here:

53°07'35.8"N 8°21'42.7"W 

53.126620 - 8.361846

 

A few more Photographs of Pallas Castle.

Pallas Castle

Pallas Castle

Pallas Castle

Pallas Castle



 






 

 


Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Kilkieran High Cross, Kilkenny

Kilkieran High Cross


Kilkieran is a beautiful place to visit at any time and the fact that there are actually three
High Crosses here along with numerous other objects of interest is really just an added bonus.

Kilkieran High Cross

The area is also called Castletown townland and it's quite picturesque and surrounded by pleasant green countryside and small rolling hills in Kilkenny.

Kilkieran Unique High Cross

The name is derived from combining the Irish word for Church, Cill, with Kieran to arrive at Kilkieran, although which Kieran seems to be anyones guess as I can find no definitive answer to this.

Kilkieran decorated High Cross

Was it named after Ciarán of Clonmacnoise,
Ciarán of Saighir, or a completely different Ciarán altogether (Kieran), who knows?

Kilkieran High Cross

There is no church standing there now however the ruins of a stone church were converted into a mausoleum which fell into disrepair
but has now been tidied up and consists of a small rectangular slab surrounded by what remains of the walls.

Kilkieran Bullaun Stone

The site is very well maintained and while there I had a nice chat with a local man who was pulling Ivy off the walls of the enclosure.

Kilkieran High Cross

There is a very unusual High Cross here which is one of the few in Ireland that doesn't have a "Celtic Cross" type ring that are generally associated with most of these Crosses.
It is a tall slim Cross with notches carved into the shaft and it's quite beautiful in its setting.

Kilkieran High Cross

Of the other two High Crosses, one is an undecorated Cross while another has a depiction of eight horsemen on its base and is richly decorated with carvings.


There is also the decorated shaft of a fourth High Cross here but its carvings are badly weathered and hard to make out.
The Kilkieran High Crosses are believed to date from the 8th or 9th Century.

Kilkieran High Cross

These High Crosses belong to the "Ossory Group" of Crosses, Ossory being once an ancient Irish Kingdom.
Two of the High Crosses have caps which are interpreted by some to represent Mitres, a type of hat worn by Bishops.

Kilkieran High Cross

A peculiar and interesting little Standing Stone is located near the undecorated Cross and there are a variety of Millstones and Bullaun Stones at Kilkieran which were unearthed in the general area and placed here.

Kilkieran High Cross

Saint Kierans Well is also located here and there is a large Bullaun or Font beside it. Its waters are reputedly a curative for headaches or pains of the head.

Kilkieran High Cross

In a corner near the entrance is a modern post stone marked "Strangers Corner" which I found to be a touching marker for those who rest here unknown but not unremembered.
It struck me as a poignant reminder of just how fortunate we often are and sometimes take this for granted.

Kilkieran High Cross

There is probably more local history associated with Strangers Corner but I haven't any more information on this.

Kilkieran High Cross

I reached Kilkieran when the weather was overcast and misty so my photographs don't properly represent the beauty of the area.

Kilkieran High Cross

The collection of varied Bullaun Stones held my attention and curiosity for a while and overall I really enjoyed my trip to this tranquil and secluded site which was wonderful to vist.

Kilkieran High Cross

A collection of Bullaun Stones at Kilkieran.

Kilkieran High Cross

Signage board at Kilkieran.

Kilkieran High Cross

The undecorated High Cross at Kilkieran.

Kilkieran High Cross

Kilkieran High Cross

Pictured below is the small Standing Stone at Kilkieran.

Kilkieran High Cross

A marker to remember those who are interred at Kilkieran but were unknown, possibly travellers on the road or paupers.

Kilkieran High Cross

Coordinates Here :

52°23'53.8"N 7°22'44.9"W

52.398288 - 7.379141


Sites nearby to visit

Killamery High Cross Here :

Ahenny High Cross Here :

Kilree Round Tower and High Cross Here :

Kells Priory Here :


Possible Road Trip in Ossory, pictured below :

Kilkieran Road Trip