'Brittas IV' : Bullaun Stone

TownlandBrittas
CountyWicklow
Grid RefS 977 950
GPSS 97715 94967 (7m)
Longitude6° 32' 40.12" 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 a truly wonderful bullaun stone . Its surface is flush with the ground, so it's easy to see how I once walked right over it: it would only take a half decent summer to make the grass grow back over it.

There are four bullauns ranging from 10cm in diameter to 25cm across. Next to these are two more basins that have merged into one. Being so close to the edge of a stream and flush with the ground means that it will nearly always hold water.

Of the four Brittas bullauns this is my favourite, because it feels and looks so organic - almost as if it grew where it lies instead of being manufactured.

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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