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Giant's Finger Stone

Standing Stone / Menhir

Also known as:
  • Fionn's Finger Stone

Nearest Town:Killybegs (5km SW)
OS Ref (IE):   G7592578967 / Sheet: 10
Latitude:54° 39' 29.42" N
Longitude:   8° 22' 23.08" W

Added by Rhiannon

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I've scoured the maps so hard to find the location of this story, and I think it could be right next to this stone. That is, there's a lough with no water coming in or out, and on the historic 6" map a "Rock" is marked next to the lough. Please let me have it, I mean it's not like you get a 50 ft whistling eel in a story every day, and surely with the Danes involved there must be some ancient connection. There's a hill called Cashelbane close to the west, but we need a rock and a lough for the eel. I'm confused and need to visit.
The townland of Croagh lies half way between Calhame school and Binbawn Crossroads. In this district there is an ancient spot called Castlebawn where the Danes are supposed to have castles long ago. There they lived for many a year. On the Castlebawn a large grey stone whose circumference is about one hundred ft and whose height is about forty ft. This stone is said to mark the spot called the Golden Well where the Danes on their retreat from Croagh were supposed to hide their gold. One of the Danes was supposed to lift this large stone in his mighty hand and put it on top of the gold. The track of his five fingers are plain to see in it ever since. After the retreat of the Danes the old people who lived in those ages often gathered to the Castlebawn and tried to remove the stone to procure the hidden treasure.
When they would set to work with picks spades and shovels there would come out of the blind lough near by a whistling eel said to be fifty feet long. This monster would perch itself on top of the stone and lash its tail in every direction. Its whistles at the same time could be heard for miles around. The men would get so frightened at the whistling eel that they would run for home.
This whistling used to continue evening after evening for a long time. Then the men decided never to go near the stone.
Eventually the whistling eel disappeared but there the stone remains. It has ever since been called the Stone of the Hidden Treasure.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th April 2016ce

The note on the Historic Environment Viewer map claims there's no trace of this stone now. But it's a forested boggy area... can we hope it's just slipped out of view?
Long ago when Fionn Mc Cool and his companions were hunting the wild deer in Connacht they came to a little house which was built under the shadow of a high cliff. Being tired and hungry they thought they would get something to eat in it. Upon knocking at the door it was opened by an old woman who inquired what they wanted. Upon learning that they were hungry and thirsty she invited them inside and set a fine meal before them. When they had eaten and drunk their fill they returned out again. Great was their surprise to find another group of warriors sitting on the green outside the house. Fionn recognised their leader as his old enemy Goll Mac Morna. At this time there was a truce between them. Both companies saluted one another cordially enough. After they had conversed a while they began some games. Everything went on well for a while.

Now it happened there was a huge stone near by and this stone was supposed to cover the entrance to a fairy dwelling. Goll challenged Fionn to lift the stone from the entrance. Fionn was loth to do so for as we knew he was tired of the chase before hand. This only caused Goll and his companions to laugh and they taunted Fionn saying that he was not able to perform this feat. This enraged Fionn who started up and getting a good hold of the stone tried to enforce it out of its place. He found to his sorrow he was unable to do so. This made Goll and his friends laugh and you may be sure that this did not please Fionn and his heroes.

A battle between the two parties was imminent when the old woman came out of the house and reproached them with causing her so much annoyance. When they told her of the challenge and how Fionn had failed she went into the house again. She came out in a few minutes carrying a ripe yellow apple which she handed to Fionn, telling him at the same time to eat half of it and throw the other half over his left shoulder. When he had done this she told him to lift the stone now. Going over to sit the second time he caught hold of it and with one mighty heave pulled the stone from its bed. All who witnessed this mighty feat were amazed. Then lifting it over his head he gave it a mighty cast over the sea. The stone kept on flying in the air and at last it fell on the top of a hill near the town now known as Killybegs.

It bears the tracks of Fionn's fingers even to this day and ever since it has been called Fionn's Finger Stone. It is said that when a person goes up on top of the stone he would feel as if he were sailing through the air.
From the 1930s Schools Collection, now being digitised at
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
5th April 2016ce