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

Clonfinlough Stone



On both sides of the Shannon in this neighbourhood Christian tradition is busy with almost every stone, boher, and tougher, and close to this boulder, on the old boher which led to the Seven Churches of Clonmacnoise before the present road was formed, is a carn called Leacht-na-Marra, or the Monument of the Dead, where, to the present day, when a funeral approaches that famed burial ground, the coffin is laid down, and stones thrown on the carn. The tradition is that in the old times some of the "holy men" from the Seven Churches always attended here, and carried the corpse to its last resting place, about two miles distant, the laity not being allowed to enter the sacred precincts. The carn-raising, however, is the remnant of a Pagan tradition.

But I was distinctly informed that no Christian rite was ever performed at the Clonfinlough stone: on the contrary, the name by which it is known - "The Fairy's Stone" - points to a Pagan origin. Two remarkable earthworks, no mean feats in their way, consisting each of a deep fosse and rampart drawn across the esker, not very far from this stone, are termed "The Witch's Hollows."

Another legend terms it "The Horseman's Stone," and tells that a horseman gallops round it at certain times. Mr T L Cooke, of Parsonstown - who is intimately acquainted with all the antiquities of the locality, and [..] some time ago kindly communicated to me a drawing of this stone [..]
He goes on to describe the boulder and its neighbours and their cup-like hollows and the carvings, comparing them to a sun with planets and the constellation of the Plough. He also mentions crosses, daggers, the resemblence of a human foot and representations of Irish ring-brooches etc. From 'On a Boulder with Presumed Pagan Carvings at Clonfinlough, King's County' by James Graves. In The Journal of the Kilkenny and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society,
New Series, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1865), pp. 354-362.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd October 2010ce
Edited 23rd October 2010ce

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