Ballyvatheen Standing Stone, Kilkenny, Ireland

Ballyvatheen Standing Stone is rather overlooked in documents and literature that mention the most fantastical of our menhirs, but personally I feel anyone who visits this stone couldn’t help but be intrigued by how it is still standing. It is a massive slab, over 2.2 metres in height, and 1.5 metres in width, yet only has a depth of 25cm. Not only is the stone thin it also tapers towards the bottom, yet it is resilient in its irregularity. I have found very little mention of the stone in archaeological records however I did find some mentions in the Dúchas Schools manuscripts collection of the 1930s. There are two separate entries of almost identical stories surrounding the origin of the stone as retold by grandparents of the children whose task it was to write down these tales. The story is one of those classic archetypal Irish tales that is repeated throughout the country in relation to other sites, but as I have transcribed it I felt I should include it. In my mind as it adds some local colour to a monument that perhaps no longer gets as much notice as it would have in its past.

“About a mile from Mullinavat there stands a large flag 7ft by 4ft. This stone was on Tory Hill during the time the giant lived there. he said he would throw it to Slievenamon. As he was about to throw it, the stone slipped off his little finger, and landed in John Cashins field of Ballynooney. Mullinavat.”

(This story was told to a pat Hoban by Pat Foskin (aged 73) from Deerpark, Co. Kilkenny in 1938)

GPS: 52.38948, -7.15454

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