Here is an informative list of the most prominent Historical Stones In Ireland.
A standing stone which tradition associates with the death of CuChulainn, the legendary hero of the old Irish saga, the Tain Bo Cuailgne. When CuChulainn was dying of his wounds which he got while trying to ward off the army of Queen Maeve of Connacht single-handed, he tied himself to this stone. while he was still alive his enemies kept their distance. It was only when a raven came and rested on his shoulder that they knew he was dead. The scene is commemorated in a statue standing in the General Post Office in O’Connell Street, Dublin.
This little known and somewhat difficult to find monument, ‘Diarmuid and Grainne’s Bed’, is located on a farm 1 mile south of Carrowkeel (alias Kerrykeel) village and about 1/4 mile to the east of the road to Rathmelton. The portal stones are a well matched pair some 6 feet high, supporting the front edge of a craggy, cup-marked capstone which has been slightly displaced.
Newgrange is Ireland’s best known prehistoric monument, and one of the finest passage-tombs in the whole of Western Europe. Foremost among the passage-tombs of Europe.
The almost heart-shaped mound is about 36 feet high and about 300 feet in diameter. Carbon dating has shown that the tomb was constructed around 3100 BC and is thus probably centuries before the Pyramids.
The magnificent entrance slab is a decorated stone covering a small box over the passage which allowed the sun’s rays to penetrate to the centre of the burial chamber as they appear above the horizon on the morning of 21 December, and one or two days on either side of it.
It is ‘one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art. The triple spiral, found only at Newgrange, occurs both on the entrance stone and inside the chamber.
The passage is long, over 60 feet, and leads to a burial chamber with a corbelled roof which rises to a height of nearly 20 feet. A number of the stones bear decoration, such as spirals, zigzags etc.
Recent excavations have shown up some clever techniques used in building the mound, particularly the stone packing above the chamber, so that water filtering down from above could be drained off rather than dripping into the chamber – which remains remarkably dry.
Standing upright in the earth outside the base of the mound are large boulders up to 8 feet high, of which 12 out of the original estimated 38 survive. The revetment of large horizontal stones surrounds the base of the mound and many of these are also decorated with geometric designs. Excavation has shown these stones to be later than the great mound.
While standing stones are among the commonest field monuments in Ireland, stones that are holed in this fashion are quite rare. In the Tain Bo Cuailnge a story is told of Cethern , half out of his wits with pain. His enemies dressed the standing stone with King Ailill’s golden shawl, and Cethern, believing it to be the king, rushed at it and drove his sword through it with such ferocity that the sword’s pommel and Cethern’s fist also went through the stone. The hole is significant in that in ancient times it was used for the taking of oaths.
A squared pillarstone of monumental appearance, 7 feet high and 3 feet wide. its south-eastern face is decorated with a profusion of cup-marks, many with single and multiple surrounding rings, a characteristic motif of the Galician or rock art of the Bronze Age. The stone is in a field behind a farmhouse, 1 mile north-north-east of Muff, to the west of the coast road to Carrowkeel and Moville.
Visit the love stone with your true love. It is a tapered dolerite slab about 5 feet high by 21 feet, 2 inches wide with a circular hole, of some 3 to 4 inches cut into it. Evidence of tree planting nearby from 1791. In the last century the ‘Holestone’ Lovestone was used by trothplighting couples to solemnise their marriage.
Though ignored by some guide books, this is a very fine megalith which unfortunately loses much of its impressiveness on account of the roadside hedge which threatens to envelop it. It has long been neglected and abused; a photograph taken in 1914 shows it defaced with auctioneers; posters; latterly it has become a target for religious graffiti. The bulky granite capstone is 8 feet long and up to 5 feet thick and rests, somewhat precariously it would appear, on four of the six basalt uprights forming the chamber. The total height of the tomb is nearly 12 feet. Its local name, Tamlaght, means ‘plague stone’; it is also know by the more common appellation Cloghogle, ‘raised stone’. An account cited by Borlase states that several other dolmens formerly stood in close proximity here, possibly as an integral group of which the present monument is the sole survivor.
A great standing stone making the site on an ancient mound, which tradition states marks the site of a ‘Giants Grave’. The stone itself contains the remains of an Ogham inscription, which has been translated a ‘Branogeni’.