Kilgobbin Cross is a weather beaten Celtic cross of some fame. On the west face is a somewhat worn away relief figure of Christ. The cross is firmly planted into a much older Hexagonal bullaun stone with a single ballaun which is sadly echoed in the cement holding the cross.
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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Whilst at the church I noticed the sign on the ground for the first time. I had also read of a bullaun located at the church and realised that they must be refering to the one in the base of the cross. Silly me.
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Support your local high cross! This may not be the best there is, but when you have visitors I think you should show them the local stuff.
I actually owe this cross an apology. I have done it an injustice. In today's weather I could see that the cross is not mounted in a conrete base on top of the original base, but that the cross base is a thin granite section mounted on a concrete base. The bullaun is not shadowed in the cement but is actually in the base proper.
While passing I thought it would be sensible to get a GPS reading. I wasn't going to bother stopping, because the site changes so little. Oh what a surprise!
The cross is currently behind a protective wooden fence, which has presumably been erected to protect the site from the construction traffic working on the N11 extension/link thing. Let's think about this for a moment - Big Lorry Full of Rocks & Soil vs Wooden Fence.
Looking into the field behind the cross it appears as if it will soon end up on a triangle of land between two slip roads from the new road. What's worse the cross will be standing right on the corner! I wonder if Paddy Powers will give me odds on the cross being damaged within 3 months ofthe roads opening.
The fence around the cross is now battered and rundown. Is noone proud of this monument? Surely, now that the building work seems complete behind the cross, the fence can be removed now and the land around it taken care of.
This is a National Monument. It's signposted, which, for a Dublin monument, is rare. How embarassing for Duchas and Dun Laoghaire and Rathdown County County. How embarrassing for Ireland!
From The N11 in Dublin take the R113 west and then the R117 south until you reach Stepaside. In Stepaside turn left at the crossroads. After 350m you will see a sign pointing to Kilgobbin Cross up a lane to the left. The cross is just 100m along.
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.