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


Bullaun Stone


About a kilometre east of Belcoo, on the Belcoo to Enniskillen (or, expanding out a bit, the Sligo to Belfast) road, close to the northern shore of Lough Macnean Lower, on a damp and dreary late May day, we looked north across the rushy fields and wondered how to traverse obstacles of ditch and fence and fast traffic.

Ah maps, don’t you just love them? Where would we be without them? Take the next left here – there’s a track that skirts around at the back of the fields. We might get to it from there. Templenaffrin (Teampail nAifreann – the mass church) has, unsurprisingly, a medieval church and graveyard. And surprise, surprise it’s tended to, which we discovered after we’ve headed up the track and crossed the meadow.

But nice and all as it is (inklings here of another christianisation as the church is built on a mound), it’s not why we’re here today. Separating the field with the church from the field with the bullaun is a small wood with some very large deciduous trees. A fence runs through it and there is some dense undergrowth. However, heading south, the wood runs out and the fence is easily traversed. Heading back north-west and through the wood I got the sense that we’re not the only visitors this stone gets. The place reeked of hippiness, a not unwelcome vibe. We disturbed a grazing deer as we emerged from the wood.

The ground around the stone, and especially to its east, is marshy. We’re in limestone territory and were it not for the nearby swallow hole this would probably be impassable. My companion, not hugely experienced in the megalithic, suggested as we stood and listened to the water disappear underground that maybe this was why the carvers chose this stone. I wouldn’t disagree.

The stone is a sandstone erratic about 1.2 metres tall. The three very visible basins are satisfying. I did the old wash my hands in the water trick to ward off warts. I prefer this idea to the alternative locally named ’baptismal font’. Arriving back and checking the reports it seems I missed a fourth basin, 31cm in diameter and 3cm deep (no wonder). You can see this in one of the shots I took.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
30th May 2021ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment