Thursday, 7 November 2019

Clopook Standing Stone

Near the small Townland of Clopook in Laois is a Standing Stone, The Standing Stone of Clopook sometimes known as Tullamoy Standing Stone.

Clopook Standing Stone

Legend has it that the Stone was thrown from the Rock of Dunamase by a Giant who was competing against a fellow Giant to see who could hurl a stone the farthest. The stone was dropped in mid throw by the Giant and landed in Clopook where it stands today.

Standing Stone Clopook

There aren't many Megaliths or Megalithic structures in Laois that have been discovered above ground and classified though this doesn't mean that there is a lack of them, perhaps they are there and have yet to be discovered.

Giants Grave Cadamstown

In an effort to subdue rebellious and unruly areas Laois along with Offaly was "settled" in the mid 16th century by "Plantation" which involved the dispossession of local landholders, Chiefs, and figures of importance by "settlers" from England, Scotland, and Wales chiefly who were granted lands, titles, and estates.
Natives were able to avail of the disbursement of lands to those who were conquered, swore fealty, and subsequently submitted to English Crown rule, a program which had been ongoing for Centuries.

Manger Cist

This ongoing process from the time of the Tudor reign of Mary took a while however it led to huge estates being formed in Laois and subsequent large scale farming and agriculture developed. That subsequent farming and agriculture may itself be a reason why so few Megalithic sites remain or have been discovered in Laois which has extensive tract's of flat arable lands.

Manger Cist

It's possible that many small Megalithic structures have been destroyed or have been "ploughed under", into the ground in the intervening time period without landowners being aware of what they  were or represented. I don't know and this is just a supposition however looking at the scale of agriculture, and tillage in particular, this seems a likely probable cause for the lack of Megaliths in Laois.

Ballycoolan Cairn

The few I have seen are Ballycoolan Cairn, a likely Neolithic Burial Tomb (Unclassified) which needs further archaeological investigation, Manger Cist, a possible Bronze Age burial Cist (again Unclassified), The Giant's Grave at Cadamstown, which was some type of large Megalithic burial structure toppled in the search for buried treasure and the Standing Stone's of Clopook (Tullamoy) and Newtown Skirk.

Ballycoolan Cairn

All are interesting and historic relics of the County's distant prehistoric past. Most are hard to locate and some will require the permission of local landowners should you wish to gain access.

Tullamoy Clopook Standing Stone

I've posted a few photographs throughout this post of the various Megaliths mentioned and although none are on a grand scale they nevertheless belie an interpretation of the landscape of Laois from times past. Most are located in scenic and beautiful area's well off the beaten track and each is worth a visit in its own right.

Newtown Skirk Standing Stone

Traveling from place to place in the County you will doubtless pass numerous Raths, Hillforts, Mottes, Castles, Church Ruins and Abbey's.

Newtown Skirk Standing Stone

These are some of the things we often pass yet seldom see.

Keep the wheels turning.