Brittas : Bullaun Stone

CountyWicklow
Grid RefS 977 950
GPSS 97701 95012 (7m)
Longitude6° 32' 40.83" W
Latitude52° 59' 49.05" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDonard (5.3 Km)
OS Sheet56
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

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Brittas II - Bullaun StoneBrittas III - Bullaun Stone
Brittas IV - Bullaun Stone
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 7th December 2002

I had tried to find this stone before and failed. This is because the stream shown on the map has been diverted around the surrounding pine plantation, making me look in the wrong place. When I did find it, it was one of those walk right past it, give up looking, turn around and there it is moments.

The stone is about 1.5m square and about 60cm proud of the ground. There are two 20cm bullauns carved into one corner of the upper surface.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 5th December 2004

I wanted to see if I could uncover any more of the bullaun stone I discovered next to this one when I last visited. Even knowing roughly where this stone it took me ages to locate it in the chest high bracken.

Soon it will be impossible to reach this stone as new pine sapplings have been planted around it. If you want to see it, do it soon!

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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