Greenanstown Stones, Meath, Ireland

Situated at the junction of two busy roads stands three limestone boulders known locally as ‘The Jack Stones’. The three stones do not appear to align as a definite curve can be seen between the three points however a lot of evidence of it being part of a large stone circle has been erased. I believe there is anther large boulder to the rear of the bungalow that faces the monument and another in a field nearby. Considering its proximity to Fourknocks Tomb and the Boyne Valley we can only assume at one stage this was considered a very important site. The name Greenanstown also refers to Ghrian, meaning ‘sun’ so one can only fathom its origin. One of the local tales, an archetypal Irish tale, tells of Finn MacCumhaill throwing three stones from Tara which landed here. I did find a mention in the Dúchas Schools Collection of the 1930s that gives the stones a previously unmentioned name ‘The Druid’s Altar’ and goes on to further explain the story behind this called ‘A Remarkable Feat’, “On the village green in  Greenanstown  there are three large stones called the Jack Stones. Another stone may be seen in the field at the back of the school and another of similar size in a fence alongside the public road. Each stone weighs about six tons. The three on the green are in a straight line. It is generally supposed that they were sacrificial stones – Druid’s Altars, or making a place of assembly. A man discovered what appeared to be a grave surrounded by stones, standing on their edge. He opened the mound and found it full of red clay (burnt clay). Formerly the three large stones were surrounded by a circle of smaller stones, about one ton in weight. When the road was constructed the smaller stones were removed. (one of those stones – called the marrying stone – is in the possession of Anthony Carton,  Greenanstown. A family named Gennet lived in this village about 80 years ago. There were two brothers, Paddy and Bill. The latter “left a task” on the village for any man who came after him. He jumped from stone to stone – a feat which has not since been attempted.” This tale was rerecorded in Greenanstown National School by a teacher named, Máiréad M.Uí Nualláin. What became of the ‘marrying stone’ is unknown.

It should be noted that a children’s game known as the ‘Jack Stones’ is referenced throughout the Dúchas Schools Collection which would explain the local name.

GPS: 53.61702, -6.32042

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