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Bullaun Stone


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

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