The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Bullaun Stone


Perhaps after the two inscribed bullans just noticed, the ten holed example of which I furnish a faithful drawing, is the most remarkable in Ireland. It stands on the shore of Upper Lough Macnean, and close to the ancient ruined parish church of Killinagh. The basins, which average about ten inches in diameter, are of various depths, and each is nearly filled with a somewhat circular or oval stone. There is a holy well close at hand, dedicated, like the church, to St. Brigid. The bullan is populary known as "St. Brigid's stone," or altar. A lady, who from infancy has resided in the immediate neighbourhood, was good enough to inform me that she had been told when a child by her old nurse, who was a native of the district, that many years before this curious monument was known amongst the people as the "cursing stone."*

I heard the same story from a very old man who had lived all his life almost in sight of the time-stained gables of the neglected and mouldering cill. It was the custom, he said, when any of the neighbours bad a grudge against a real or supposed enemy, and wished him harm, to proceed to the "altar" and anathematize him, at the same time turning the stones deposited in the basins. This practise, however, was not carelessly or lightly to be indulged in, as the curses, when undeserved, were sure to descend in full force on the person or property of their utterer.
'On the Bullàn, or Rock-Basin, as Found in Ireland; With Special Reference to Two Inscribed Examples' by W. F. Wakeman, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy vol. 1 (1889-91).

* when a child she was not unfrequently brought to the spot by an aged nurse, who there performed devotions of some kind. - same author, 'On Certain Markings on Rocks, Pillar-Stones, and Other Monuments, Observed Chiefly in the County Fermanagh', from the Journal fo the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland (Jul 1875).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd October 2010ce

Comments (2)

Nice one Rhiannon. Hob Posted by Hob
22nd October 2010ce
I'll find that wretched rock carving folklore in the end. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd October 2010ce
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