'Roundwood Graveyard III' : Bullaun Stone

Grid RefO 183 014
GPSO 18339 01374 (5m)
Longitude6° 14' 6.25" W
Latitude53° 2' 59.8" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownRoundwood (2.2 Km)
OS Sheet56
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

This is a subsite of:

Roundwood Graveyard I - Ballinacorbeg - Bullaun Stone
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Visit Notes

Monday, 1st January 2007

This bullaun stone is just insode the west wall of the graveyard. To reach it walk along the path from the gate past the church and the bullaun stone is to your left at the foot of some steps.

The stone is not earthfast and has probably been moved into the graveyard at some point. There are two bullauns one of which is quite large. The other is about half the size and rather shallow.

The original purpose of bullan stones is not really known, but they have an undisputable association with water and Brigid worship. A 'bullaun' is a deep hemispherical cup hollowed out of a rock. Bullaun Stone refers to the rock itself, which can have many bullauns in it, although many are single.

It is generally thought that they date from the Bronze Age, but I personally believe there is a much old provenance to them and that there is a relationship to prehistoric rock art, for a good example of this see Glassamucky Mountain (County Dublin).

Ritual use of some bullaun stones has continued well into the Christian period and many are found in association with early churches (The Deer Stone (Glendalough D) (County Wicklow) is just one of many at Glendalough (County Wicklow)) and holy wells. Their presence at so many early Christian sites, to me, places them as being of massive importance to the pre-Christian inhabitants of Ireland and something the church was very eager to assimilate.

The beautiful example at St Brigit's Stone (County Cavan) still has its 'cure' or 'curse' stones. These would be used to by a visitor turning them whilst praying for (or cursing) someboby.

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Sunday, 1st April 2007

I was surprised to see how big the basin is in this stone. It is very uncharacteristic for a Wicklow bullaun, because it is deep and conicle - like some of the examples found throughout Carlow (see Busherstown (County Carlow) and Johnstown (County Carlow) for examples).

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Marked Sites


Head south from Roundwood on the Glandalough/Laragh road for just over 1km. At this point you will be able to see a church tower on the rise to the left. Take the first road on the left (signposted Roundwood Cemetery) and park at the graveyard gates. Walk along the path to the far side of the church and you will see this bullaun stone on your left just off the path.

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Bullaun Stones

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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