'Brittas III' : Bullaun Stone

TownlandBrittas
CountyWicklow
Grid RefS 977 950
GPSS 97714 94967 (7m)
Longitude6° 32' 40.18" W
Latitude52° 59' 47.59" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDonard (5.3 Km)
OS Sheet56
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

This is a subsite of:

Brittas - Bullaun Stone
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 15th October 2006

This is the proper Brittas bullaun stone that I've never managed to find. I'd actualy given up on it, to be honest, but recently it was located by Andy Ryan. As soon as I heard about it I had to come and see it for myself.

It is magnificent! It has four bullauns exposed: one on the east edge and three along the west edge. The largest is 20cm across. The area of the exposed rock is around 1m x 1.5m.

This and Brittas IV (see next site) are both set flush with the ground next to a tiny stream. I imagine that there could be more in the immediate vicinity waiting to be found. When added to the three bullauns at Kelshamore (County Wicklow) these four bullaun stones at Brittas make the Glen of Imaal possibly the most bullaun-rich area in Ireland.

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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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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