'St. Brigit's Shrine' : Bullaun Stone

TownlandFaughart
CountyLouth
Grid RefJ 050 127
Longitude6° 23' 47.58" W
Latitude54° 3' 9.72" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDundalk (5.4 Km)
OS Sheet29
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 25th May 2003

So. Here it is. The 1000th site on megalithomania. It's not what I'd planned, but it is still a worthy site. I had headed up to Armagh to climb Slieve Gullion and have my dinner with the Hag for my 1000th site, but as I approached I could only see the lower half of the mountain - rain and cloud were out to defeat me. This caused me to wander around a little while waiting for the weather to break, which it did after lunch.

I always stop at shrines dedicated to St. Brigit, because they invariably have a bullaun stone somewhere nearby. This is obviously a very sacred place today - it has its own car park and a recently built oratory and even toilets.

As I parked the car I could see straight away that I was not to be disappointed - a bullaun stone by a stream between me and the modern shrine. Two very worn bullauns that both break the sides of the earthfast boulder into which they are cut. This stone is now known as the Kneeling Stone and visitors/pilgrims kneel in the bullauns to pray. It is also said t have healing properties relating to leg ailments.

Next to this, mounted in the wall, is another shallow bullaun which is rubbed as part of the 'ceremony'. This reminds me of the rubbing the vulvas of certain Sheela-na-gigs practiced elsewhere during patterns. Perhaps here we can see a link. Did this bullaun represent the vulva of the Brigit/Bridid/Life-giver-mother-godess?

Next to the doube bullaun is a boulder known has the Horse-shoe stone. The person who I met walking his dog was not able to tell me much about this stone, but I owe him thanks for all the other information.

Walking towards the shrine from here you come to a curious anvil-shaped stone - almost phallic and much rubbed around its waist. Rubbing this stone is said to cure stomach problems - was it originally a fertility practice and actually helped with the womb?

Nearby is a chair shaped stone. Lying on this is said to cure back pain. Again I have to ask if this was originally a birthing stone and its gentle curving surface is just right for relieve the pressures on the back during labour. There is also a small hole in this stone that collects water. This water is said to be a cure for eye ailments.

If you wander up to the north part of the site, along the stream and across the road, there is a fountain or water spout. The water from this falls into a large scoop-topped rock, which I am very sure was a basin stone from a passage tomb. The curve in the hollowed out top is certainly the right shape, as is the boulder itself.

So, not a bad place for site 1000, especially for someone like me who has a bit of a bullaun fetish.

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About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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