Despite extreme ignorance of Irish sites I've figured out this refers to somewhere in Laois: perhaps Fourwinds or someone else knowledgeable can pin the location down (if the latter large stone is truly prehistoric).
ST. M'LOO'S STONE.—In the district of Ryle in the Queen's County in Ireland there exist a grave, a trough, and a stone with which the name of St. M'Loo is connected. His grave and his trough are in a small old burial-ground, in the middle of which stands a ruin, apparently of a chapel, but there seems to be no tradition connecting the name of the saint with this ruin.
The grave is 11 ft. long, and faces differently from the graves around. On the assumption that St. M'Loo was the priest, two explanations of this are given in the locality—the one that the priest may more easily stand in front of his flock to present them on the Resurrection Day ; the other, that he may occupy the most conspicuous place to bear the Divine indignation should he have proved unfaithful to his trust.
St. M'Loo's grave is at one end of the burialground, and his trough at the other. The trough is of hewn stone, 2 ft. long by 1 ft. broad, and is overshadowed by a small white-thorn tree. Many resort to this trough to be cured by its holy water of their various diseases, and every one who comes attaches a piece of rag to the little tree. The trough is never empty, and is said to be miraculously filled. Interments still take place in Ryle graveyard, and often at Roman Catholic funerals, when the body has been laid in the grave, all the mourners gather round the trough and pray there.
St. M'Loo's stone lies in the middle of a field opposite to the burial-ground, from which it is separated by the high road. Tradition states that the saint knelt so often upon the stone to weep and pray that he wore five holes in its surface —two by his knees, one by his clasped hands, and two by his tears. The holes worn by his tears are on the right side of the stone. The circumference of the stone is 15 ft. 11 in., its length 5 ft. 7 in., its breadth 4 ft., and its depth 3 ft. There are on the sides traces of what appear to have been cup and ring marks. The usual unwillingness to disturb such relics prevails, and the people believe that a blight would fall upon any one who ventured upon such desecration. Who, then, was St. M'Loo ? W.
It could read 'McLoo' throughout. From Notes and Queries, June 10, 1882.
There are so many Irish sites which seem undocumented on the internet, it makes me wonder how many are out there hiding and could be found. But this one has a photo on the Megalithic Monuments of Ireland website, and it looks superb.
Harristown is a mile south of Rathdowney and there is a stone there with the marks of St Bridgid's knees and head on it. I was told that long ago when she was passing she knelt on the stone to pray and the marks of her knees and head remained on it.
Anyone with a headache will be cured if he kneels on this stone.
This is from the Schools Collection from the 1930s, now being transcribed at duchas.ie. The stone is outside the graveyard (which is actually a circular fort) and according to the record on the Historic Environment map, there should be a holy thorn (also Bridgid / Bridget's as well), which has or had coins hammered into its bark.
I've been reading folklore for many standing stones which I can't track down on the maps. Sometimes they are marked, but only on one sort of map. So sometimes when there's no map trace at all, I wonder whether they might actually still exist in reality anyway. This is one of those times. The location seems quite definite, and it may well have gone unnoticed by a cartographer in its wood.
In a hill called Blackhill which is about a mile in a North Westerly direction from Abbeyleix there lies a famous old stone which a druid and his people used to worship at before the time of Saint Patrick. The stone itself is in a wood which covers all the hill and is now standing upright in the midst of a bunch of thorns on the top of the hill. It is now only about four feet above the ground and is very hard to find.
My mother told me that about three miles from our house there is a place called Rathmore, and a crock of gold is supposed to be hidden in an old rath there. On several occasions some men from the district, including Mr Jones and two fo the Sweenys tried to get the gold but failed, because they were prevented by a bull. The last time they searched they had to leave again as the dead coach is supposed to have passed. Tradition says that a life is supposed to be lost before the gold can be taken.
There is a Rath in Gurtnalee, which is in this Parish, and years ago Mr. Shortt the owner of it wanted to cut down the trees in it. The people of the district advised him not to cut them down, but in spite of their advise he did it. A few days after he yoked his horse to draw the timber out of it, and it dropped dead. Then he yoked his donkey to draw it out, and it dropped dead also.
After that he never had a day's luck, all his cattle died, and he met with a lot of sickness. After some time he made up his mind to leave the district, and he was not very long left it when he died.
From folklore collected from local people by schoolchildren in the 1930s, and now digitised at Duchas.ie.
The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0829, Page 169.
Judging by the Google Earth photo, this rath still exists and no-one's been cutting any trees out of it lately.
Rather impressive rath located in a bend in the road in the Slieve Blooms and luckily it is signposted. The bank and fosse appear to be in good condition there are substantial earthworks on top of the rath also. It is very steep as raths go. There is also evidence of a souterrain in the NE section of the upper part of the rath. I was unable to locate this as the site is very overgrown.
It is easy to find as the road deliberately goes around it. There are 'no trespassing' signs on the site so permission is advisable. Be careful when climbing this site as it is overgrown and has many hidden ditches and holes...not to mention the barbed wire that surrounds it.
This is well worth checking out, if only because there are many different sites of archaeological interest in close proximity.
I came here with the bullaun in mind, having seen it on archaeology.ie. It's about a metre and a half long by half a metre wide and has one shallow basin. It's now cemented into the side of a shrine to St. Brigid which in turn sits beside a dry holy well.
I had a delightful companion during my time here – a gorgeous little puppy that followed me down from the house where I attempted to ask for permission to visit the well.