Atateemore : Bullaun Stone

CountyKilkenny
Grid RefS 636 188
Longitude7° 4' 2.03" W
Latitude52° 19' 2.11" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownWaterford (7.3 Km)
OS Sheet76
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 6th April 2003

I was lucky enough to encounter the farmer working in the field where this stone is, who recounted some of the folklore related to this stone and the holy well it is next to. The well is now just a muddy hole in the top of a small mound of stones, upon which the bullaun stone sits. At one point the farmer thrust his hand into the mud and pulled out an old penny (1920s) from not too far down. Apparently the stone/well is still visited and like so many others is known to be a Wart Stone, i.e. the water captured in the bullaun is used as a cure for warts. The person seeking the cure must visit the well on nine consecutive Sundays. The farmer used to grow wheat in the fields, but stopped doing so because it was always getting trampled flat by visitors.

The well is called St. Patrick's Well and the story has it that St. Patrick wanted to build a church here, but was chased off by the locals. There are associations of the site with the Dish Of The Hound, a local totem made of the Hound's hide. St. Patrick carved a cross in it, upon this act the Hound leapt forth from the bowl in human form and chased St. Patrick. Several red stones in the area are said to be stained with the blood of the hound. A nearby stone, now just peaking from the grass is said to be the place where St. Patrick stood to preach here.

It is hardly surprising that such a site should have been revered. The well is almost on the highest spot on the hill and is never dry. This sort of phenomenon must have provided quite a puzzle to the early inhabitants and could easily be seen as the result of magic. It is possible to stand on the top of this hill and see five counties.

The bullaun stone is a very nice one. The cup itself is 30cm across and about 15cm deep and set towards on end of an irregular boulder, which is 1.2m x 80cm. The stone is set at an angle and so does not completely fill up. It was dry while I was there, but the farmer got some water so that I could photograph it better.

The 45 minutes I spent here were extremely pleasant. To add to the fun I was able to witness a 16 hour old calf stumbling about the field whilst learning to follow mum.

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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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