This is the finest
of several vertically-grooved stones in north Carlow, south
Wicklow and south Kildare. It stands in a field by the E side
of the N 81 Tullow-Bunclody road, some 2.8 metres high, with
6 furrows radiating down from the top. Reminiscent of the famous
"Devil's Arrows" in Yorkshire, the grooves are only partly artificial.
All these stones are of a granite containing sparkling crystals
Vertically-grooved granite standing-stones
are also found in France, notably inAuvergne and in Brittany.
50 metres to the W
is another, much smaller, stone, undistinguished and ungrooved.
A new road will pass between them.
~ 2.2 km E by S in
Rathglass (S 864 712) is a fine pair of stones some 1.6
metres high stones and aligned east-west. Both have a triangular
profile, but one is more pointed than the other, which suggests
a male/female pairing similar to Boherboy, county Dublin,
Moneyslane, county Down,
etc. The eastern stone has faint ogam on its two west facing
edges, while the western stone has two fine cupmarks near its
~ 2 km SSE in Aghade
is an unlovely but curious flat stone with a circular hole in
it 30 cms in diameter, known as "Cloch a' Phoill" or
the Holed Stone and the object of many legends and beliefs.
(see Doagh, county Antrim).
As with the Hurlstone, county Louth,
it may be the perforated door-slab of a vanished megalithic
tomb. There are remains of other tombs in the vicinity.
~ About 1.5 km SSE
of the holed stone, to the N of Aghade House, is a conspicuous
standing-stone 1.8 metres high, with a vertical groove on one
~ 800 metres SE of
the holed stone, in Aghade Fox Covert, approached through Aghade
Lodge or Cullaghmore House, at Aghade Bridge, in Cullaghmore
townland (S 856 692), is a partly-collapsed portal-tomb, whose
massive, much-grooved capstone (with ?cup-marks) is almost 4
metres long, over 3 metres broad and 2 metres thick (to be compared
with the one at Haroldstown, below). It has been estimated
to weigh 15 tonnes. The underside, however, is quite smooth.
One orthostat, 2 metres high, is now prostrate, and the sole
supporting stone is just under 1 metre. The tomb is at the N
end of a denuded cairn some 30 metres long. The river Barrow
is just 30 metres away.
~ 1.6 km SSE of the
holed stone, close to Aghade Bridge, in a wood on the E bank
of the river Slaney, in Ballynoe, about 30 metres W of
the road to Ardattin, are the remains of another sepulchral
monument with a small capstone, and a small standing-stone nearby.
Megalithic tomb (hybrid ?)
S 746 523
Known (probably only
fairly recently) as The Banshee Stone, this tomb has
been classified as a portal-tomb, but has characteristics in
common both with wedge- and with court-tombs.
A large capstone rests on two unusually-low, projecting portal
stones with a door-stone the full height of the gap in between.
One wall of the chamber lies collapsed below the long capstone.
In front of the entrance are definite signs of a court and fragments
of kerb. To the rear of the tomb are several slabs set across
the axis of the tomb in line with the chamber - suggesting that
there may originally have been a double-chambered gallery.
~ 3.5 km NW is a portal-tomb
~ 7.5 km SE is a standing-stone
Browne's Hill (or Browneshill): Portal-tomb
S 775 768
The single capstone
of this partly-collapsed dolmen, 3.2 km E of Carlow town in
the townland of Kernanstown, is reputed to be the heaviest
in Europe, weighing 100 tonnes. It rests on 3 uprights 1.8 metres
high, and on two prostrate boulders. A fourth upright stands
nearby and might possibly be the remains of a forecourt. The
extent of the burial-chamber cannot be determined.
km SE, in Busherstown (S 778 755), is an earth-fast
flat-topped boulder 1.4 metres square, framing an unusually-deep
30 cm in diameter, nearly 60 cm deep and - like several Carlow
bullauns - conical. It is said to have wart-curing properties,
if the wart-bearer visits the stone three times. There is
an old graveyard nearby and the field is known as 'Church
Field', so an old church probably stood nearby. A new trunk
road through this field was planned, but geophysical research
revealed a lot of activity below the surface and so the site
was left alone and the road located elsewhere.
~ Just over 1 km N by E of it, on the other side of the R.726
in Johnstown (S 774 766), below a huge beech tree in
the grounds of a country house, oddly surrounded by a modern
stone circle formed from tall, square-sectioned granite pillars,
is a conical
stone with a tapering depression 30 cms deep which
is nearly 20 cms square at the top. This may be a bullaun-stone,
or something else entirely - conceivably a gatepost-socket
of some antiquity or even the base of a small granite cross.
S 901 779
visible in a field to the S of the old bridge over the Derreen
river, 7.2 km NE of Tullow, this fine granite tomb has a door-slab
some 1.8 metres high between the portal-stones. The larger of
the 2 roofstones is much grooved and it is possible that some
of the grooves are artificial as in other monuments in the area.
The tomb was inhabited in the 19th century and maybe well before.
km NNE in Williamstown (S 913 798) is one of several
grooved standing stones in the area (see also under county Wicklow),
known as "The Six Fingers". It is 1.8 metres high, of granite,
and has 5 large vertical grooves.
~ 4.8 km NE (5.5 km E by S of the village of Rathvilly) in Tombeagh
is another grooved granite stone, 1.5 metres high, and of grotesque
shape, with grooves and depressions in it which are all natural.
~ 6.5 km ENE (S 963
761 on Sheet 62), signposted, close to the road and almost in
a stream at Clonmore is a massive, long boulder with
three bullauns on the top all in a row.
S 702 552
In a hollow, just 5
metres from a little river, this collapsed portal-tomb is a
charming megalith in a delightful setting. The capstone is a
large flat slab about 60 cm thick by more than 5 metres long
and 2.5 metres wide. It is now supported on just one stone.
~ 3.5 km SE is a hybrid
tomb at Ballinasilloge.
~ Just under 11 km
SE is the petroglyphic boulder at Rathgeran (below).
Lower: Petroglyphic boulder S
Hidden in bracken underneath
a gorse-bush some 8.8 km NE of Graiguenamanagh, this superb
boulder has fine views to the SW. For those with a GPS locater,
the more accurate grid reference is S 78793 48043. The top surface
features two sets of concentric rings (7 & 8 rings) most
beautifully engraved in the granite, the centre cupmarks of
which are joined by a gutter (rare in Ireland). To the east
of these is a 7-turn spiral. Below it is a 6-ring concentric
motif also with a gutter, to the west of which is a faint 6-turn
spiral, above which are two very eroded spirals or concentric
rings. The hillside is strewn with boulders, and the area is
rich in petroglyphs. Another boulder with cups and rings is
marked on the map at Gowlin a little to the south.
~ In Rathgeran Upper
(S 793 472 - GPS S 79270 47219) is a panel measuring around
150 x 100 cms now incorporated into a wall. There are at least
12 cup and ring motifs on this stone, one of which has two rings
and a gutter. Running down the right side is a line of four
cups and rings. The rings around two of these intersect each
other, making them look like a figure of eight.
Also in Rathgeran Upper (S 792 476 - GPS 79177 47574: not marked
on the map) and now standing against a field boundary not far
from where it was found, is a stone about 100 cms high and 30
cms wide, with 23 ringless cup-marks on one surface.
Rathgeran (S 802 473) is a standing-stone around 1.6
~ Almost 5 km NNE in
Crannagh, is a standing-stone (S 805 519), in a clearing
next to a track through woods. It is 1.6 metres tall and has
small grooves running down from the top, as do many standing-stones
in the area. Near to the stone is a large thorn tree, making
the clearing rather picturesque. The edge of this clearing is
defined by a circular enclosure that has a more recent wall
running around one side of it.
~ Just over 3 km SW
(5.6 km NE of Graiguenamanagh) in Tinnacarrig (S 758
470), is another
(more eroded) granite boulder liberally decorated with ringed
cup-marks. It is on the edge of a field to the NW of the road
to Kiltealy, and also difficult to find.
In a 'heritage museum' inside the former Church of Ireland at
St. Mullins (with ruined abbey and 'high' cross, 6 km
SSE of Graiguenamanagh) is a very fine piece of rock art related
to the above, and brought from Dranagh. Though labelled
as a copy, it has every appearance of being the original stone,
according to Ken
Williams,who took the photo below.
km NW is the hybrid megalithic tomb at Ballinasilloge.
under 11 km NW is the portal-tomb at Kilgraney.
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