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



Bullaun Stone

<b>Feaghna</b>Posted by NucleusImage © Uwe Häberle 05/2009
Also known as:
  • Rolls of Butter

Nearest Town:Bantry (15km SSE)
OS Ref (IE):   V967639 / Sheet: 85
Latitude:51° 49' 4.73" N
Longitude:   9° 29' 53.66" W

Added by FourWinds

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<b>Feaghna</b>Posted by Meic <b>Feaghna</b>Posted by Meic <b>Feaghna</b>Posted by Meic <b>Feaghna</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Feaghna</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Feaghna</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Feaghna</b>Posted by Snap


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On his superb website, Tom FourWinds describes this bullaun stone as "the mother of all bullaun stones". And this is absolutely true, as this bullaun is really massive and impressive. It is located near Bonane Heritage Park, drive southeast, than east towards Garranes and Priests Leap from here until you reach Drom-Fiachna cemetery on the left hand side. The stone is located north of the road, between the cemetery and the road.

The stone itself is a flat-topped rock, about two meteres square and embedded in the ground at one side, which reinforce the impression of a small shoulder of rock. All in all I counted eight bullauns with seven turn-stones and in the centre lies a flat, disc-type stone, which is broken into two pieces. The hole of this stone holds a tall phallic stone. Maybe someone broke this stone, while putting some coins under it, as there are many placed underneath it.

Visited May 2009
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
3rd July 2009ce
Edited 3rd July 2009ce


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Outside the burial ground is a perfect curiosity; - a natural rock of a tabular form with five basin-like hollows on the surface, of four or five inches in depth, and about a foot in diameter. These are severally filled with water, and in each is a stone of a long oval form fitting the space fully. The whole forms a petrified dairy - the basins being the "keelers," the ovals the rolls of butter.

The history of this strange monument is, that, in ancient times, a woman lived here, who, not respecting the commandment against thieving, at night milked the cows of her neighbours, and transferred the milk as well as the butter to her own dairy. Suspected at length, the hue and cry was raised against her; and Saint Fiachna, who led a holy life at the church we have referred to, resolved to punish the culprit. He mounted his horse to visit her, but she flet. The Saint as he passed turned her dairy to stone, and then descended the hill towards the river in pursuit of her. In crossing the stream his horse left his hoof-marks on a stone in the centre of it; this we did not choose to wet ourselves to look at, but we were assured by several that it was there.

He then drove up the opposite hill-side, where, about midway, he overtook the criminal of whom he was in chase, and instantly turned her into stone; and there she still stands, the Irish "Lot's Wife," - not, however, a pillar of salt, but a goodly dallan of six feet in height; yet still holding a resemblance to the original lady. The tree beside it grew out of the "kippin" of the spancel which she carried in her hand, and with which she was accustomed to tie the cows' legs at milking. And see what a goodly picture it now makes as a blooming hawthorn! It is a singular and striking object, standing, as it does, in the midst of a mountain of solitude.
From 'A Week at Killarney' by Mr and Mrs S C Hall (1850). The drawing in the book doesn't have the pointy stone in its doughnutty stone and it's not mentioned either.

The Irish Megaliths website
mentions how the 'butterlumps' are (were?) turned as part of Easter rituals at the nearby church.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
5th October 2010ce
Edited 6th October 2010ce

The story of the Rolls of Butter is that a woman in the locality stole the milk of her neighbour's cows on May morning. She was making butter with the stolen milk when Saint Fiachna came upon her. The good Saint, being as adept at cursing as he was at praying, petrified (turned into stone) the butter rolls she had made. He then pursued the woman across a nearby river where she suffered a similar fate!

She still stands, as a large upright stone, in the townland of Gearhangoul, beside a bush that sprouted from a buairicín (wooden buckle) at the end of a short rope she carried for tethering the cows, intended by the Saint as a warning to sinners.

Taken from the Folklore and Legends section of the Bonane Heritage Park website
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
3rd July 2009ce