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Tory Island

Bullaun Stone


I'm afraid another slightly-off location, it seems to be next to the church though ( ) .
My wife had inquiries to make concerning occupants of her relative's household, and in one case an incident was related to us which seems worth recounting here, as showing how ancient superstition in connection with remarkable stones still lingers in a secluded district.

With regard to this incident, it is first necessary that I should refer to the Glenveigh evictions, which were carried out with great harshness fifty years ago, and which at that time made the neighbourhood of Gartan notorious. The evictions were the work of a new proprietor, Mr Adair, who had come from the South of Ireland with every desire to be fair to the peasantry, but with whom he quarrelled as to the exclusive right of sporting over his new posession. Mr Adair by these evictions had become the aversion of all the neighbourhood.

Reverting now to the retainer of the Gartan household, at first no reply was given to my wife's inquiry, and then with bated breath the reply came, "Oh, she had a dreadful death! She was engaged in washing, and fell into a boiling cauldron, from which she could not be got out alive." But the awful thing about her death was, that the very morning it occurred she had been heard to be bargaining with a man to go on her account for a payment of £5 to Tory Island, off the Donegal coast, where there is a stone which, if it could be turned, and the name of Mr Adair repeated over it, would have been sure to bring about his death within a year. [..] It would have been interesting if we could have visited Tory Island to have seen this baleful stone; but there was no direct communication from Gartan, and the island is a considerable distance from the mainland.
I mean actually I've no proof it's this stone at all, but it certainly sounds like the sort of stone-turning belief you get with a ballaun stone, and this is the only ballaun marked on the Island. Unfortunately the National Monuments Service record (DG006-001002) doesn't have any details yet.

From 'Cup-Marked Stones' by James Sconce, in v5 of the Transactions of the Edinburgh Field Naturalists and Microscopical Society (1902-7).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th June 2011ce
Edited 15th June 2011ce

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