Yet another standing stone incorporated into a field wall, and once again right by the road. This 1.9m tall (when measured from the field, not the road) stone is slender, but bumpy and lumpy with nice veins running down one side. It has a groove in the top making it quite phallic when looked at from within the field.
If you move a little way down the road you can see the conical top of Slemish, just poking over the false horizon created by the intervening hills, to the southeast. This would seem to be an obvious reason for selecting this location.
Standing stones, also called menhirs or monoliths, are the most simple of megalithic monuments. They are exactly what they say, a stone that stands with one end set into the ground. Being simple in form does not make them simple to understand, for they have served several purposes over time. Some were placed to mark burials, others were probably erected to mark boundaries or travel routes, the purpose of others is uncertain, but it may well have been ritual.
Standing stones can vary enormously in size from a under 1m tall to over 4m. Some have been purposely shaped (see Stone Of Destiny (County Meath)) and some must have been chosen purely for their shape (see Ballyvatheen (County Kilkenny)). Most standing stones are dated to be from the Bronze Age, but some are clearly older, especially those associated with passage tombs such as at Knowth (County Meath) and Loughcrew - Corstown (County Meath).
Others have been re-used in later times (see Kilnasaggart (County Armagh) and Breastagh (County Mayo)), perhaps to try and capture some of the powers of the old gods or to legitamise a claim to land.
As I drove past this stone I was surprised to see a new bungalow on the opposite side of the road. I decided to stop and get a GPS reading from it and to take a look at the views. The disused farm buildings to the south of the stone block the best view, which includes Slemish Mountain.
The stone and its circumstances have changed little in the last 5 or so years. It still has a loop of rusty barbed wire around it.
From Clogh Mills take the B94 south to Clogh and the turn left along the B64. After 3km you come to a cross roads. Turn left and continue until you come to a farmhouse on the left hand side after 1.5km. The stone is a few metres past these buildings.
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.