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

Punchestown Standing Stone

Standing Stone / Menhir


The largest of the eight Long Stones in the County Kildare is the one at Punchestown, which is 19 1/2 feet in height above ground, and 11 feet in circumference ; like all the others, it is of granite. One the opposite side of the Wool-pack Road, within view, and a quarter of a mile to the west of it, on the Cradockstown townland, is another granite monolith.

The only tradition the peasantry have about them is that they were hurled from the Hill of Allen, seven miles off, by the giant Finn Mac Coole; one account says it was due to a trial of strength between Finn and a companion; and the smaller boulder they call "the Gossoon's Stone"; the other accounts says that they were "fired" by Finn in this direction, as his wife was at Punchestown at the time!

The great lean on the Punchestown stone was caused by an attempt, it is said, of one of the Viscounts Allen to remove it to his mansion at Punchestown, for which purpose he yoked fourteen couples of plough-oxen by chains to the boulder, and tried to drag it from the ground - an attempt which fortunately failed. Of Punchestown House not one stone now stands on another, though an old farmer named Comfrey, of Cradockstown (strong and hearty in 1900), remembers to have seen the walls standing; they were eventually levelled, and the materials sold for building purposes.
It's not explicit that the house and its family disappeared because of the stone-tampering. But perhaps it's implied?

From the Journal of the County Kildare Archaeological Society 1906, in an article by 'Omurethi' entitled 'Notes on Punchestown and Cradockstown'.

The accompanying photo
shows the stone leaning massively (with a rather brave soul standing underneath it) so it's obviously been straightened considerably since. There's a photo of the Craddockstown stone too.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th January 2011ce
Edited 28th January 2011ce

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