SELECTED MONUMENTS IN
COUNTIES
LAOIS and OFFALY

Place-names in italics refer to listed entries.



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Bolart North: Standing-stone
see under Moyvoughley, county Westmeath


Clonfertmulloe: Multiple bullaun
S 230 900
Sheet 59

3.2 km NNW of Borris-in-Ossory, 6.4 km ENE of the beautiful early monastic site of Mona Incha, 50 metres from a by-road in a field on the opposite side of the road from a ruined church and 200 metres W of it, is a quartzite boulder measuring 1.5 by 1.6 metres by 60 cms high, with 4 bullauns from 20 to 28 cms deep and 25 to 45 cms wide, and another small half-bullaun. Known as "St Molua's Stone" it is associated with (but probably pre-dates) the nearby monastic site.

~ 6.5 km SSW (4 km SW of Borris-in-Ossory on sheet 60) is Skirk Castle (S 219 840), an Anglo-Norman motte-and-bailey whose bailey (yard) is a circular henge, adapted for mediæval military use. In the centre is a large conglomerate standing-stone, some 2.2 metres high and very phallic from one angle.

~ About 9 km SW of Clonfertmulloe, and 8 km WSW of Borris-in-Ossory (S 193 838, sheet 60) are "The Timoney Stones" - see under county Tipperary.


Clonfinlough: Petroglyphic boulder
N 043 297
Sheet 47

In the middle of a field about 4 km E of the celebrated monastic site of Clonmacnois, near Clonfinlough Catholic church, stands a large, flattish boulder of Carboniferous sandstone over 3 metres long by 2.5 wide, embedded in the side of an esker. It is thickly covered with deeply-incised designs, mostly in the form of cup-marks and elongated crosses, and a design dubbed "The Split Year" (by H. Wirth, 1936): a circle divided in two halves by a vertical line. These occur among solution-pits, some of them foot-shaped. Whether in fact it is prehistoric has been debated. It is certainly not beautiful - unlike the nearest comparison, at Carrowreagh in county Donegal (see under Magheranaul ). But when photographed by Ken Williams it is magically transformed, and can be declared a genuine prehistoric artefact.


Clonkeen: Standing-stone
N 602 231
Sheet 49

South of the road between the R.442 and the R.400, just south of Clonbulloge (Laois), a remarkable hammer-headed or mushroom-shaped erratic stands in the middle of a field. A 30 cm deep oval depression in the W side is reminiscent of similar depressions in stones at Ballynoe in Down and at the Wicklow stone circles.


Glenafelly: Standing-stone
N 202 013
Sheet 54

In the heart of the Slieve Bloom 'mountains', this massive Fiddler's Stone is not marked on the OS map but is easy to spot, close to the road opposite a parking area for the Slieve Bloom trail. It is 1.3 metres high and 1.7 metres wide.


Lemanaghan: Bullaun-stones
N 172 269
Sheet 48

An ancient trackway, paved with huge blocks of stone, leads around the south of the ruined twelfth-century St. Manchán's church which incorporates some Romanesque fragments in the S window, and a fragment of an ogam inscription in the N wall. Following this takes you to some other monuments associated with the 7th century monastery.
The first of these is a bullaun stone which sits outside the entrance to St. Manchán's Well. It is a large flat-topped stone, with an irregular, rounded outline. The single bullaun is quite massive measuring about 45 cm across. When it was discovered it was surrounded by crushed iron ore indicating that it may have been used in the preparation stages of iron smelting.
Opposite the National School building and outside the graveyard, built into the wall surrounding the tree in the centre of the road is another bullaun stone: a flat slab measuring 100 by 50 cm with the bullaun (20 cm in diameter and hemispherical) carved in its centre.There is a crack running across the entire width of the stone, through which bindweed grows.

~ At Boher Church, to the E is St. Manchán's Shrine.


Manger: Megalithic kist
S 598 872
Sheet 61

Hidden beneath a bramble-thicket by the roadside, some 7 km SE of Timahoe (Laois), is a fine example of a megalithic kist, with a slipped roofstone measuring 2.5 x 2.2 metres, and a chamber about 1.4 metres deep. Behind the backstone some dry-stone walling is visible. To the E are the tops of some stones which may be remnants of a surrounding stone circle.


Meelaghans: Multiple bullaun
N 380 224
Sheet 48

4.8 km SE of Tullamore (Offaly) and 800 metres W of Meelaghans crossroads, 400 metres S of a level crossing in a circular copse of thorn trees, approachable by a muddy lane and across two fields, "The Nine-Hole Stone" is a large sunken boulder now surrounded by a little wall. Its exposed surface (1.8 metres in diameter) displays 6 perfectly-formed bullauns up to 30 cms in diameter and half as deep. A seventh is unfinished, and two further natural depressions make up the nine holes.

~ In another little copse just beyond is another larger and higher boulder containing a single bullaun 35 cms in diameter. Unlike the others it does not hold water, due to a fracture in the limestone.