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

The Hole Stone

Holed Stone


In December, 1927, Mr. Wm. McIlroy, owner of the farm on the edge of which stands this remarkable monument, had occasion to widen an entrance to one of his fields, and in doing so had to remove a protruding stone. He found it to be one of the top stones of souterrain, of which there were two chambers, with the passage of one or more others, blocked up. The souterrain presented no unusual features, being built in the ordinary manner with the side walls of the chambers corbelled inwards, narrowing towards the top, and kept in their position by the usual long stone slabs laid horizontally across, forming the roof [...]

The question arises, why did the builders not utilise the Hole Stone? Within a couple of hundred yards of it on either side are two souterrains with a hundred or more of these long stones used in the roofs. Here was a suitable stone immediately to hand, and yet they would not disturb it.

I can think of no prehistoric monument of whose written history we know nothing the use and purpose of which have been so well preserved by inviolable tradition as the Hole Stone. From times long prehistoric a ring was regarded as part of the ceremony of Arrhae or betrothal prior to the marriage ceremony itself. To this day, through all the changes of race and peoples that have occurred in County Antrim, particularly South Antrim, the tradition that the Holestone is a betrothal, if not a marriage token remains unbroken, and couples from all the district round still plight their troths by clasping fingers through the ring or hole in this stone. Here then appears the probability that the souterrain builders refrained from using the Hole Stone, because it was sacred in their pagan religion, if not actually a deity.
Well if you say so. From some 'Tentative Deductions' about the stone in The Irish Naturalists' Journal, Vol. 3, No. 5 (Sep., 1930) by HC Lawlor.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th October 2010ce

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