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Sharpitor Nutcrackers (Rocking Stone)

"Have you any pixies in this neighbourhood?"
A rustic, who hesitated at first, shook his head, and said he "didn' think any ov 'em was left now," induced a woman standing by to say, "Ees there was;" and she pointed to a high ground covered with granite boulders (the scene was at Lustleigh), and said "You may go and zee the pixy holes for yourself up there. They comes there be night, and people goes to zee 'em; but they don't come out by day."
"Did you ever go? did you ever see them?"
She did not like to go there by night, but she had herself seen the "pixy holes," and she "knaw'd that volks did go there, and did zee 'em in the moonlight."
One of the company asked what they could find to eat in that wild place? and the answer was, "Perhaps 'twas mushrooms."
"Oh," said one of the listeners, "then they did not get any thing to eat for more than six weeks of the whole year," when a rustic wit responded, "Perhaps they larn'd how to pickle 'em."
Rustics and their quaint spelling. From "Devonian folk-lore illustrated", by John Bowring. In Reports and Transactions of the Devonshire Association vol. 2, 1867-68.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th October 2018ce

Knocklearoch (Standing Stones)

Knocklearoch, in Islay, stands for Cnoc-Cleireach - i.e., the Hill of the Clerics. The following tradition regarding the locality, as told by Mr Hector MacLean of Ballygrant, Islay, is cited by Captain Thomas: "There is a tradition that two clerics were hanged, and that the day on which they were hanged was remarkably stormy. So it has been a byword in Islay ever since I remember, when a cold and stormy day came on, 'This day is worse than the day on which the clerics were hanged.' At Knocklearoch are two monoliths called Na Cleirich, 'The Clerics,' and under these, tradition relates, the two clerics were buried. (PSAS vol. xvi, p267).
From The influence of the pre-reformation church on Scottish place-names, 1904, by J.M. Mackinlay.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th October 2018ce

Knocksouna (Hillfort)

I couldn't find out how old the earthworks on this hill are. But I'm hoping because it's a weird lump with folklore I might be allowed it until someone shows it's too modern and it is deleted mercilessly. Its name is 'Cnoc Samhna' (the Hill of Samhain, now aka Halloween) and connected with Mongfind, a queen from Irish mythology.
Cnoc-samhna (Knocksouna) is a hill on the south of Kilmallock. There is an opening in the side of the hill and a person could enter it. Often, at night-time a hunt in full cry has been heard round about the hill.

also:
There's no doubt about it, the fairies are there. My own daughter saw them in a field near Knocksouna - a host of them, little people wearing red coats. Of course they never appear to people in sin, and they never harm the innocent.
1930s folklore digitised at Dúchas.ie and here.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th October 2018ce

Carnroe (Chambered Tomb)

A big giant long ago threw a large stone from Carn Roe outside Scotshouse to Shontamon Mountain in the County Cavan. The giant was about nine feet high and had two heads. He was afterwards buried under a big stone on Carnroe because Carn was the highest hill in the district. There is some mark on the stone which can still be seen.
From Jack Donohoe, Scotshouse.

There are many versions of this story in the neighbourhood. Some say the giant threw a stone from Sliabh Glah in Cavan to Carnroe, whilst others say it was from Cuilcagh Mountain he threw the stone. All are agreed that the giant was buried in the old "Giant's Grave" on Carnroe.

There is a "giants grave" on my father's farm in the townland of Carnroe. There are three stones, two standing upwards and one across. One of the stones is about four feet long and the others about three feet long. On one of the stones the letter "J" was cut, but it is not to be seen now. It is at the head of a field beside the road. - Edmund Burke.
From the 1930s collection of schools folklore, now being digitised at Dúchas.ie. The information via the Historic Environment Viewer map says: "Located on a W-facing slope of Carn Hill. Three stones, representing two sides of chamber are situated on the E side of a N-S field bank and drain at the edge of wood. Two other stones on the W side of the field bank c. 10m further S could also be part of it at the edge of a disused trackway to W of Cairn Hill wood. The remains are insufficient to allow a closer classification."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th October 2018ce

The Hanging Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

From the Lichfield Mercury, 9th March 1906.
From the summits of a hill in the Deer Park at Swythamley two great stones which manifestly must be heavily counterpoised at the other end project themselves some eight feet into space where they hang in the air as if they were the beetling brows on the head of this pine-clad eminence.

Here they have hung through untold centuries - local tradition says, ever since they were left there by the Flood; when, maybe, they frowned upon the slow subsidence of the sullen waters.

Two centuries ago, however, it was proved by a local antiquarian that the construction is palpably an artificial one; that it constitutes what has been called a "Charemluach," or Hill-altar, such as certain ancient races were accustomed to offer their sacrifices upon. This Staffordshire example of a Charemluach is known as The Hanging Stone, a name to which the word Stone-henge is literally equivalent.
In the 21st century the 'literally' makes the author sound all the more desperate to connect their local stoney site to the famous druidy sacrifice place in Wiltshire. I think I'd prefer a trip here though; it looks solidly monumental and cool.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th October 2018ce

Balfarg (Circle henge)

An Historical Sketch of Markinch.

Boulder Stones.

About five hundred yards west from the farm of Balfarg, which is situated about one mile from Markinch, are two large stones, one about six feet in height and the other a little less.

According to legendary lore they are two 'tackets' which have fallen from the boots of a great giant who had been taking a quiet walk in that part of the district.

Another version is that the devil was carrying a quantity of stones in his apron when one of the strings broke, thus scattering his load on the ground. He picked them all up except two of the smallest, which he thought he would leave to puzzle the brain of geologists and antiquarians. Kind old gentleman!

Some folks suppose they are two Druidical stones but we think that they are two stones of the Siberian strata, which lies below the old red sandstone. In many parts they lie above the lighter limestone formation which, according to geology, ought to be the uppermost of the two. The explanation which science gives regarding the boulder stones is that they have been deposited there by icebergs or glaciers.
From the Fifeshire Advertiser, 29th July 1887.

It's quite strange to look at an old map of this area from when it was all farm and fields, and then now with all the houses circling the henge.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Machrie Moor (Stone Circle)

There is more than one tale told of 'Domhnull-nam-mogan's' encounter with a 'bocan'. A bocan is one of those dreaded visitants from another world, sometimes taking human form, sometimes animal form, and sometimes the form of inanimate things such as a ship. Domhnull-nam-mogan, a religious man who lived in Tormore, was returning late from a visit to a friend in Machrie, by way of Machrie Water and Tormore Moss, when he was met at a spot near the standing stones by a 'bocan'.

The bocan was of such a size that Donald could see all Aird Bheinn between his legs. Quite undaunted by such stature, Donald requested that the 'bocan' assume the size and appearance he had when living on earth, and the latter complying, Donald immediately remarked that he now recognised him.

He further remarked that the 'bocan' must be in possession of the secrets of a good many mysteries. 'Would he say what had happened to Angus Dubh when the latter was lost on a journey from Lamlash to Shisken [Shiskine] by way of the Clachan [Clauchan] Glen? He (the bocan) in all probability had a hand in doing away with Angus.'

The 'bocan' denied that he had any hand in the crime, but he knew plenty about it, and who did hurl Angus over a certain cliff. Donald then asked to be shown a treasure, and was told to come to a certain place in Gleann-an-t-suidhe on the following night, but without the darning needle in his bonnet, the little dog at his heel, and the ball of worsted in his pocket. Donald took counsel as to the advisability of such a course, and as a result did not keep the appointment.
From The Book of Arran, volume 2, p275 (1914).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

King's Cave (Carving)

There is a legend about the King's Caves to the effect that there is a subterranean passage from the caves to somewhere else in Arran. An adventurous piper undertook to explore this passage, armed only with his bagpipe and accompanied by his dog. After he had proceeded some distance he met with enemies, because the following wailing words were played loudly upon his pipe, which clearly indicated that he could proceed no farther.

Mo dhith! Mo dhith" 's gun tri laimh agam.
Bhiodh da laimh 'sa phiob 'us lamh 'sa chlaidheamh;

which might be literally rendered in English -

Woe's me, woe is me not having three hands,
Two for the pipe and one for the sword.

He, the piper, never returned; his dog, however, made his way out, but bereft of his hair.
From The Book of Arran, volume 2 (1914), p273.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Clauchlands (Stone Fort / Dun)

This story actually applies to the next hill but despite being called a 'Dun', it's not marked on Canmore's map as such. Clauchlands, or Dun Fionn, is marked as a vitrified fort. It might be advisable to take your darning needle with you on an expedition to either.
A hill at Corriegills, called Dundubh (Black Mount), was said to have a cave in which the fairies lived, and this cave was full of treasure. To this home of the fairies an old man called Fullarton would betake himself, as often as he felt inclined. He frequently took a stocking with him and sat knitting and talking with the fairies. But the fairies were not always inclined to let any one away if they could detain him. Fullarton was aware of this fact, and always placed a darning needle in the collar of his jacket, or took a piece of rowan with him; when these precautions were taken by a person, the fairies had no power over them. On one occasion, however, he had omitted to take either of these objects, with the result that the cave nearly closed before he could escape.
From The Book of Arran, volume 2, by W.M. Mackenzie (1914), page 269.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Lamlash (Stone Circle)

Three men were returning home in a cart, when, at the top of the hill on the road between Lamlash and Brodick, the horse stood still and snorted, and showed signs of fear, and as though it saw something it did not want to pass. After much urging on the part of the driver, the horse made a bolt forward past a certain spot. The men looked back to see what had frightened the animal, and saw a number of small figures, twelve to eighteen inches in height, on the road behind them. The fairies did them no harm beyond taking the door off the cart. This occurred within the last fifty years, and the relater heard it from one of the men who had been in the cart.
From The book of Arran, volume 2, by W.M. Mackenzie (1914), page 269. These stones definitely seem to be at the highest point of the road and surely must contribute to any high strangeness at the spot. The Fairy Glen is also not far away.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Oscar's Grave (Chambered Cairn)

In bygone days it is said a battle had been fought near Slidderie Water between Fionn's forces and some others. A great many were slain and buried near the field of slaughter.

This had become a dreaded place by the natives, as it was said to be haunted, owing to the ground having been tilled, which disturbed the rest of these dead warriors.

The shades of the dead that traversed these quiet regions in the lone hours of night were awesome in the extreme, and had evidently been visible not only to persons but also to animals; and the following instance is related.

A certain man had been on the road with his horse and cart, when without warning the horse stood still and would proceed no farther. His ears stood up, while he snorted and was sweating from evident fear. The reason of this soon became known, for there rose before the man's vision like as it were a small cloud or mist, which grew larger and larger till it became a great size, but it was not only a cloud; whether in it or of it the cloud had taken an uncanny form of a wraith.

This man had met this unwelcome thing more than once.
In The book of Arran, volume 2, by W.M. Mackenzie (1914), p252.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2018ce

Schiehallion (Sacred Hill)

Here's a video (on YouTube) which is a clip from a documentary called The Fairy Faith. Steve Oldale(?) recounts his encounter with two of the Good People near Schiehallion. He was just sat down enjoying the scenery; he saw a rainbow and a strange cloud; he started hearing the noise of the stream as music - then lo and behold there are two wizened creatures trying to roll up his shadow. He sounds as surprised about it as you'd be. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th September 2018ce

King and Queen Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

Bredon Hill Ramble.

Members of the Cheltenham Rambling Club enjoyed a ramble to Bredon Hill. Alighting from the train at Ashchurch they went to Tewkesbury by road. The party then divided, some members taking the river path to Twyning whilst the others went via Shuthonger Common.

The whole party then crossed the river by ferryboat, and made their way by fieldpath to the picturesque village of Bredon. After lunch the ramblers ascended Bredon Hill and spent some time examining the King and Queen Stones reputed to be capable of curing rickets. ...
There's something about squeezing through a gap that works in these cases isn't there. Is it like popping out reborn? Reported in the Gloucestershire Echo, 29th May 1945.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st September 2018ce

Kinderlow (Cairn(s))

... A later generation than the old wife has been known to pour out a libation of good red port to "whatever gods may be," during the exhilaration which followed reaching the highest point of our county - the cairn on Kinderlow. There was folk lore in this too. The climbers were of a hard, sceptical kind, believing in nothing, not even in themselves, yet they wasted good wine on this ritual. There on the top, against the sky, the present day world had dropped away and there was a feeling of being surrounded by they know not what elemental forces moulding the timeworn world.
Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 30th April 1920.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2018ce

Pendeen Vau (Fogou)

The house in which Dr. Borlase, the famous antiquary, was born, was the next place of interest to be visited [Pendeen Manor House], and here Mr. Millett read a paper dealing with the history of the old mansion and its most interesting features. He reminded his hearers that there was a tradition to the effect that John Wesley had once preached in that very farmyard, bu the founder of Methodism makes no allusion to the fact in his diary, and it rests on very slender evidence.

A hundred yards or so from the house is Pendeen Vau, an artificial cave of considerable extent, which according to local legends, stretches many miles under the sea. Some have even said that you can, if you only know the way, and have sufficient courage, enter the cave at Pendeen and emerge from it at Scilly!

The explorations of our antiquaries did not extend so far, but they traversed the cave from one end to the other, without finding one particle of the "fairy gold" which is said to exist in its walls, or seeing any of the "little people" who are reported to haunt it.
In the Cornish Telegraph, 9th August 1888.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th August 2018ce

Clachan Ceann Ile (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Her favourite theory, however, concerned a Danish Princess called Iula, or Yula, who left Denmark with an apron full of stones of different sizes. As she proceeded on her journey some of the stones fell out, one becoming Ireland, another Rathlin and a third Texa. The remainder of the stones fell out and became the string of islands from Ardbeg to Kildalton. She perished in the soft sands off that coast and was taken to Seonais Hill above Loch Cnoc and buried there. What was described in the Statistical Account of 1794 as the grave of "a daughter of one of the kings of Denmark" is marked by two small standing stones about 10 meters apart, though there is no good evidence to support this tradition. Islay is said to have got its name from this lady, or perhaps she may have taken her name from Islay.

Peggy Earl 'Tales of Islay'
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
13th August 2018ce

Aghnafarcan (Court Tomb)

In the folk tradition it is the burial place of a Scandinavian giant called Manowar, who came here to kill Fin McCool. Fearing the foreign visitor, Fin had himself disguised as a baby by his wife and bit Manowar on the finger when the latter attempted to tease him. As this was just the baby Manowar became afraid and attempted to leave but dropped dead mysteriously afterwards.
(Flanagan 1933; IFC, Schools MSS, (931)
ryaner Posted by ryaner
4th August 2018ce

Heapstown (Cairn(s))

In Heapstown which is near Lake arrow there is a large heap of stones which is higher than a house. It is said that they came there in one night. It is also said that a prince is buried under it and that everybody who went to the funeral placed a stone over the grave.
From the 1930s Schools Collection of folklore, which has been put online at Duchas.ie.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th July 2018ce

Boleycarrigeen (Stone Circle)

In a townland, named Boleycarrigan, in this locality, there is a place called "The Griddle Stones". The stones are standing around in a ring, on which Finn Mc Cool was supposed to have made his griddle cakes. In the centre of this ring there is a cave leading through the hillside on to Killranelagh, which highway men used to retreat with their gold, when they would be after robbing some man on the road or mountain passes. Old people say the gold is hidden there still.

Annie Byrne, Keadeen. My father, Joseph Byrne, aged about 49 years, told me this story
From the School's Collection of folklore, being digitised at Duchas.ie.

Mr Michael Toole of Kelsha, Kiltegan tells me that not far from the 'griddle-stones' in the land owned Mr James Reilly of Ballycarrigeen, is a cave just a few yards out from these larger stones referred to earlier on in this book as "Finn MacCumhail's griddle-stones."
Mr Toole knows where the cave is but says that it is now closed up. There was a passage leading down to it, stone steps, and underneath was a spacious room.
This was written by the teacher at Talbotstown school, R. Mac Icidhe. The other mention reads as follows:
On the western side of Keadeen Mountain is a place where Finn Mac Cumail and his wife are supposed to have died. The remarkable thing about it is that even when the rest of the mountain looks green in the distance, the two brown patches stand out in contrast to the rest, and appear like two huge giants reclining on the mountainside.
In this townland also is a group of large stones so arranged as to form a circle.
These go by the name of Finn Mac Cumail's Griddlestones.
The scanned images are here and here.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th July 2018ce

Craig Dorney (Hillfort)

Ah, Craig Dorney. I feel sure he was in that programme with whatshisface? No, Rhiannon, the name means 'Stony Hill', from Creag: hill and Dornach: stony, as you can read amongst many other local etymological gems in Celtic Place-Names in Aberdeenshire by John Milne (1912). Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th July 2018ce

Onagh (Portal Tomb)

This is all very strange and interesting but the handwriting is so hard to read! Perhaps you can decipher it better.
Between this cromlech and the top of Knockree there is a 'Giant's Stone' which has not a flaw in it.

It is said that the druids used worship here and here two kings held council when forming up and making a [drove?] to the top of the hill and down the far side and then up the valley to a fort.

Those taking part went on foot and horseback and it is said they went that route up to 30 years ago. Old people said they heard them regularly. Two men told J- S- that they used see bright lights under this cromlech.

The horses made a great noise galloping over the rocky hill and down by Lacken.

The wood of Lacken situated on the hill was replanted with young trees 80 years ago but after two years the ghostly route was mysteriously burned from the top to the bottom of the hill. Not a tree grew till it was replanted again 5 years ago.

[?] (says Mr J- S-) that half of the trees on the old route are now dwarfed and the other half are dead.
From the 1930s Schools Collection of folklore, now being digitised at Duchas.ie. Perhaps the Giant's Rock is the impressive quartz outcrop depicted on Megalithomania. It's rather interesting that Fourwinds mentions possible alignments at the site when there's folklore about fairy/druids lines / ghosts heading across the landscape.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th June 2018ce
Edited 10th July 2018ce

Carrickclevan (Portal Tomb)

In the townland of Carrickacleven there is a little garden and in it there is a rock shaped like a mouth. It is said that there is money under it, and an old woman minding it and there is to be a life lost at the getting of it.

In the same townland there is a house with five big stones and the one on top is said to bear the weight of six tons. A long time ago there were priests and ministers at it and they said there is an old chieftain buried there and all his riches with him in a crock coffin.

Some people came to it one night after they heard what was under it. They dug until they came to a flag that is over the chieftain and they could get no further. So no one ever went near it after that.
From the 1930s Schools Collection of folklore, now being transcribed at Duchas.ie. There is a photo and description in the 1972 Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland but I don't know how it's faring now.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th June 2018ce

Mihanboy (Portal Tomb)

In a field in Meeambee in the parish of [?], there is to be seen a cromlech. It is called locally Leabaidh Éirn.
There were four upright slabs, some of which are now fallen, topped by a huge oblong slab, many tons weight.
Near at hand there is a circular raised mound of earth enclosed by bushes called "The Fort" which his believed to be visited by the fairies. None of the bushes have been cut down, lest some dire misfortune should follow. A chieftain named Earn is popularly supposed to have lived in this district.
From an informant for the 1930s Schools Collection of folklore, now being transcribed at Duchas.ie.

The information via the Archaeology.ie mapviewer says that the huge chunky 3x3m, 60cm thick roof stone has subsided to the north, with one north sidestone and two sidestones and the septal-stone surviving on the south side. Also that there is a headstone 3m east of the tomb with a date of 1748 and an otherwise illegible inscription: this is reputedly made from the missing portal stone.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th June 2018ce

Rath Cruachan (Artificial Mound)

Old people believe that at regular times during the year the fairies hold important horse fairs. One special 'fairy' man near this village relates how he was ordered to get up in the middle of the night to change horses from Mount Mary near the town of Ballygo down to Rathcroghan near Tulsk.

Hundred of horses with small 'mineen' riders galloped down across the country in the moonlight November Eve.

The great grandfather of the present blacksmith had his instructions to be always ready on Halloween night to put on shoes on the little travellers' horses.
One night he was dozing by the fire when a shout + tramp of horses wakened him. He was going to lift the horse's hind foot, when he noticed the animal had only three feet. "I can't shoe this horse" he said. "It's all right we will help you" said a score of little riders. The work was done and away went the fairy host, galloping like the wind, on their way to Rathcroghan for the great horse fair.
From the 1930s 'Schools Collection' of folklore, now being digitised at Duchas.ie. It seems like another one of those half-told tales (the three footed horse) where you are supposed to be in the know already and instinctively understand what it means from all the other three-legged animal tales you know. I'll have to work on it.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th June 2018ce

County Meath

Elf Stones:- The following account is given by Michael Fitzsimons, age 75, Doon, Tierworker, Bailieboro.

Elf stones were supposed to fall out of the air with a shower of rain. They are a grayish white colour nearly like a sea-shell. If any of them fell on a cow she would get into a sickness called Paralysis. It was said that people would cure the cow of the sickness if they got nine of these elf-stones in a porringer or any other suitable vessel and go to a stream bordering two counties before the sun rises in the morning and get some of the river water in the vessel along with the elf-stones and bring them home and go round the sick cow three times.
While doing so keep praying some special prayers. Before very long the cow would be better.

A man named Philip Carry, Doon, Tierworker, Bailieboro, Co. Meath had two sets of Elf-stones and all the people round this locality used to go to Philip Carry's for the elf stones when they had cows sick. Elf stones are kept at certain houses yet. The nine stones were in the Prophet Malcolmson's house. Then a man named Andrew Clarke Lisnasanna, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan got them to make the cure and another named Connor Muldoon, Cordoy, Kingscourt got them from Clarke to make the cure and they remain in that house yet.

When they are given away to make the cure the man that gave them away could not take them back to keep, unless to make the cure or they would be no good. They are kept at some houses yet. It was a good cure for paralysis.

When cows were struck with those stones they were said to be "elf shot". The hair would stand on them and they would be unable to move until the cure was made.
From the Schools' Collection of folklore, made in the 1930s, and now being transcribed at Duchas.ie. Elf stones can also be interpreted as Neolithic arrow heads. But you never know.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd June 2018ce
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