Glassamucky Mountain : Bullaun Stone

CountyDublin
Grid RefO 129 204
GPSO 12876 20395 (7m)
Longitude6° 18' 35.32" W
Latitude53° 13' 19.14" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownTallaght (7.9 Km)
OS Sheet50
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 19th May 2002

Another unmarked site and another stab in the dark to see if it still existed. Oh Yes! It exists alright and what a beauty it is.

As I approached up the track I could see this huge boulder and I thought that it must be the stone. As so much of it was exposed from the ground the chances of seeing the bullaun was high. I was not disappointed.

There is one massive, flat bottomed bullaun still holding water in the north side of the top face. This is over 35cm wide.

Walking around the stone I could see another two bullauns of equal size which unfortunately can no longer hold water as they are on the edge of the stone now.

The views are simply stunning even in the rain and mist. Well worth a visit, although I'd recommend a sunny day. I may be back soon myself.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 21st July 2002

This bullaun is so primeval! Anthony agreed that it has a much more neolithic feel to it than any other bullaun. Perhaps this predates the Celtic date line associated with most bullauns.

One VERY important thing to note. When I first visited the weather was terrible. This stopped me noticing a significant factor in the location of this stone. Looking directly south-east the peak of The Great Sugar Loaf Mountain peps over the ridge, making a little nipple on the hill. This would seem to be a winter solstice alignment on The Great Sugar Loaf - this would be the only definite alignment with this magic mountain that I know. It woulld also be the first possibility that a bullaun stone is placed with an astronomical alignment that I have heard of.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Saturday, 7th December 2002

The feeling of raw power and sheer 'ancientness' leaps from this stone every time I visit. We had a scout around the hillside around the stone we came across several items. One was a henge type structure and another was a stone exhibiting some of the elongated cup-marks often found in the Wicklows - these may be wedge marks where someone has started to break up a stone, but they appear too even for that to me.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 22nd December 2002

For two mornings now I have stood here in the fog waiting for the sun to rise. I don't think it will be possible to verify my Winter solstice alignment theory at this stone, because I don't believe that it will ever not be misty up here at this time of year. I'll try again tomorrow, but I don't hold out much hope.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 14th December 2003

Yet another trip up here in the early hours to check out my suspected winter solstice alignment, which, although not proving conclusive, did this time strengthen my belief in this one.

What was also driven home to me was the amazing aspect towards the sunrise of an amazing recumbent sleeping figure formed by the combined outlines of Tonduff, War Hil, Djouce and Kippure. As the sun rose these mountains seemed to lift up and float on a bed of light provided by the mist on the hillside being illuminated quite brilliantly.

The peak of the Great Sugar Loaf mountain seemed much more prominent today, too - probably due to being illuminated from behind.

This is a lonely, unforgiving, yet magical spot and I can not help being drawn back here time and time again.

Thursday, 16th September 2004

I can't help myself when I'm in the area - I have to stop here and take a look at the site no matter what the weather conditions are like. Today it was incredibly windy! The main reason for this stop was to get a GPS reading to help people find it a little easier.

There are new signs up on the hillside along the road stating that it is a Game Preserve. One of these signs will actually help you find the path up to the bullaun stone as it stands right next to it.

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.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 19th December 2004

I have an odd relationship with this site and I have been drawn back here again and again, especially around the winter solstice. On my second visit I noticed that to the southwest the peak of the Great Sugarloaf Mountain in County Wicklow poked up over the false horizon created by the edge of Glassamucky Mountain and decided to check out whether there was a winter solstice alignment. If there was then this would be the first such alignemnt observed at a bullaun stone .

For three years I have come here and been thwarted in my attempts at observing the sunrise due to heavy mists and low clouds, but today it was different!

I was actually not quite right about where the sun rises, but there is a significant alignment nonetheless. The sun does not rise behind The Great Sugarloaf, but in a notch to the right.

Although heavily associated with early Xtian settlements this sunrise alignment at a bullaun stone makes a serious case for their origins being much, much further back in time - perhaps to the Neolithic. The area around Glassamucky Mountain has stone circles, cairns, a portal tomb and much more. I think it's reasonable now to suggest that this bullaun stone, with its significant alignment belongs well and truly amongst these others as a contemporary.

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.

Tuesday, 23rd May 2006

In the evening light the slopes of Glassamucky Mountain look rather odd. The heather and bilberries take on a strange hue. The light also made the Great Sugarloaf Mountain look a lot closer that it has done on other occasions.

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Directions

Take the R115 south from Rockbrook and after about 4km you will pass a turn off to the right. Keep going past the parking area on the left. As you round a bend you will see a memorial in 100m in front of you to the left. There is a parking/pull-in space on this bend. Park here. 15m behind you is a track leading up the hill. Walk along this track for 120m or so and you will reach this great big stone.

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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