|There are reportedly 28 bullaun stones in the vicinity of the monastic complex of Glendalough (see the Archaeological Inventory of Co. Wicklow). The bullauns are said to be in 7 different locations, with the highest concentration on both sides of the Glendasan river, north of the monastic complex and before it joins the Glenealo river. Most of these have one bullaun/basin but some are multiple. Of the 12 stones I located today, most are set in earthfast boulders with very little other working of the stone. However, 2 in particular are very font-like, with the stone having been split and sheared prior to the bullaun being set. Another one, the main stone of the "Seven Fonts", has 4 bullauns in total but with 3 set in a deep basin that has been carved out of an earthfast boulder.
The Glendasan river is the boundary between the townlands of Brockagh and Sevenchurches or Camaderry. On the bank opposite to Brockagh in Sevenchurches or Camaderry there are 4 different entries in the Archaeological Inventory of Co. Wicklow for sites with bullauns stones. These are T121970, T121967, T123969 and T122970. I only had time to visit two of these; T123969 said to have "4 granite bullauns, 2 in the Glendasan river, one beside the river and one outside the caretaker's house" and T122970, "4 granite boulders, 2 behind the sawmill on the west bank of the Glendasan river north of the main complex, one 19 metres upstream and one to the north-east on the other side of the river."
However, the first stone I located is the Deer stone.
Walk straight through the main monastic settlement and cross the wooden bridge over the Glenealo river and there it is. The first of the font-like stones, it's surrounded by a heap of 'megalithics' that may or may not pre-date the christian settlement in their arrangement.
I goofed about the round tower and churches for a bit and then headed for what I took to be the caretaker's house. There's said to be 4 stones in the hereabouts but I could only locate the one.
It's beside the right-hand pillar at the end of the car-park and is hugely ignored, with rubbish littering its vicinity. The stone itself has been broken, probably dug up and brought here to be willfully neglected.
On a late November day there were few of the tourists around that normally throng this place. I reckoned that I could explore in the field behind the gate without being bothered too much. Still I didn't locate the reported other 3 stones.
Heading north-west from the caretaker's house, I decided to try and locate the stones behind the sawmill. You can see this about 80 metres up along the west bank of the Glendasan and as I was already in the field I went for it. Careful back here! The banks of the river are very steep and slippery. I was fairly nervous here but then I spied the huge stone in the river with the single bullaun Quite mad really, but I descended to have a better look and get a better shot. The late-November-swollen river, and the fact that I was in someone's back garden, stopped me going any further.
The most fruitful, and the area with the highest concentration, is Brockagh T123970.
100 metres or so back from the Wicklow Gap road/Glendalough/Laragh road the Wicklow Way comes down to the road from Brockagh mountain. There's a clear signpost for it there and directly opposite on the other side of the road there's a farmgate. Over this about 20 metres into the field and to your left is the first of the bullauns. Said to have '9 granite boulders with 13 basins', I located 8. The first of these is very font-like, with one bullaun carved/worked into the flat surface of a split rock. 10 metres to the west of this is a boulder with 2 bullauns, one of which seems to be in poor and very worn condition. Roughly 10 metres south of this is another double bullaun, again with one perfect specimen and its worn twin. Walk roughly 20 metres south-west of here and you're confronted with the "Seven Fonts". This is a concentration of 4 boulders, 3 with a single bullaun and one with the aforementioned rectangular basin with 3 bullauns inside it and one outside. 25 metres north-west of here is a huge earthfast boulder with a single bullaun. Which gives you 8 stones and 13 bullauns!
Posted by ryaner
28th November 2006ce
Edited 28th November 2006ce
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