Yesterday turned out to be a nice day weather wise so I took my camera gallivanting.  We scrambled over farmers fields and an old graveyard.  It is amazing what you find when you are scrambling about in Farmer’s fields!

I found a hole.

… well I had to try it!

Yes.  that is my gloved hand just about through the hole.  It was kinda difficult to have my right hand through the hole, and then lean round with the left one to take a photo for evidence.  I didn’t dare put my left hand through that there hole.  “Why?” I hear you ask.  This was no ordinary hole!

The Holestone

On the crest of a hill of private farmland close to Doagh, in County Antrim,  sits a Bronze Age megalith known as The Holestone.   It is 1.5 metres high, with a 10cm diameter hole cut into it about I metre from the base.

The Holestone is an ancient Celtic Stone that has attracted visitors, seeking eternal love and happiness, since the 18th century.

Upon reaching the Holestone, couples used to promise marriage by clasping hands through the hole in the stone.   The hole will only allow the hand of a girl to pass through and that was then clasped by the man as they made their vows.

There is a legend regarding a black horse that inhabits the field in which the holestone is situated. According to this legend a young couple were married at the stone, but the groom committed an act of adultery on their wedding night. For this act he was cursed by the stone to spend eternity as a horse, never dying, and never able to leave that field.

I looked all about me, I found plenty of dried up cowpats, but saw no horse.

Camera sitting on top of the Holestone

and again

Not a sign of a horse anywhere!

I will keep you waiting until Saturday to see what I found in the graveyard! 😉

26 thoughts on “Gallivanting

  1. Barath Rajgopaul

    Now, if we all went around Gallivanting and put our hands through holes we see, we would get into serious stushie!!
    However, the fact that the horse was not there idoes not necessarily mean that it has gone away, it may merely be grazing in an adjacent field, serve the guy right for being such a Tiger Woods!

  2. Grannymar Post author

    Big John – 😆 The whole area roundabouts is known as Holestone.

    Barath – Welcome to my humble blog. Worry not, It is not every hole that I attempt to put my hand in.

  3. Delirious

    That hole stone makes me nervous. Perhaps it is because when my oldest son was little, he went through this phase of wanting to stick his hands and fingers inside every hole. That wouldn’t be so bad, but one of the holes was the hole in the lid of the mustard. We had to cut the lid off of his hand. The other was the hole in a “spirograph” template. I can’t remember how we got that off his hand. Once he stuck his foot in the heater vent. I tried and tried to get it out, but couldn’t. I poured some dish soap down in, on his foot, but it still didn’t budge. Finally I gave it a good jerk and it came out. It smarted, but was uninjured. (Do I get the bad Mom award?) Then one day we were walking down the street in Beijing and he saw a hole in the cement. It was just big enough to stick his foot in. I stopped him just in time! So I’m sorry for saying so, but you really made me nervous sticking your hand in that hole!!!

  4. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – I will certainly try. Watch out tomorrow for part 11 thanks to you.

    Delirious – It would not have looked such a tight fit without my glove on, but since the problem with hypersensitivity to UVA back in June, I am ultra cautious with my hands. The new layer of skin is still tender and I don’t want it breaking for any reason.

    Your tales of woe remind of the day a very young Elly got her fingers caught in a bicycle chain. We were visiting friends at the time and my friend wanted to cut the chain with a hacksaw. Jack’s quick thinking saw a way to unlock and release the hand with no serious damage to either hand or bike.

  5. Grannymar Post author

    WWW – I find them fascinating. The tales might have a romantic bent to them, but on a winters day the place would be very bleak and there would be no need for finery. I was on my own and had the ground been wet, no way would I have attempted to climb up to the stone. It was not the ascent that worried me so much as the climb down.

  6. Grannymar Post author

    Nick – Nah! I think I am better off well away from a dark horse.

    Brighid – It I love finding out about these places.

  7. Jenny Woolf

    Wow, that holestone is fascinating. It’s because the hole is so round and smooth and intentional looking I think. You can’t help but wonder what it’s all about.

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Jenny – Ireland is full of legends and tales like this.

    I must say I love the photo of Mondaye Abbey on your blog. The light is amazing.

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Mike – I have just rescued you from my spam bucket. 🙁 Alas you will not find the Holestone back there!

    Judy – Not a man about, hardly a car on the roads, just the symphony of nature to keep me company. I am still protecting my hands when outdoors, see my comment to Delirious above.

  10. Marianna

    I love how you mix adventure with information and humour. A recipe that’s as good as your previous post! 🙂

    My question to you: Did you? 😉

  11. Grannymar Post author

    Marianna – I sure did! 😀 Now it is way past stardust time here so I will lie down and breath slowly and hopefully sleep will be kind

  12. Baino

    Aww who’s commit adultery on their wedding night, naughty boy. Love the photos and the story. I really must wend my way over there one of these days, just don’t ask me to kiss that Blarney Stone! I will put my hand in a hole.

  13. Grannymar Post author

    Baino – I never met anyone who would admit to committing adultery on their wedding night, but I have heard tales over the years. The Holestone is not easy to find, even when you know what you are looking for. I did once climb up to the Blarney Stone, but with a very long queue, I returned to ground level without any kissing.

  14. Carol Tulpar

    Hello Grannymar,

    We meet at last. If only we could get together for that cup of tea Marianna mentioned. I’ve seen your comments on her blog, so had a vague sense of who you were, but no idea you lived in County Armagh…or are you visiting?

    I love old stuff (the post about the Irish monks was part of a series about ancient libraries). But the closest I’ve been to the holestones is the stone circles of Avebury, and of course, Stonehenge.

    The photo of your hand peeking through the holestone is fabulous.

    Hoping to visit your wonderful country soon. Meantime I’m reading one of Patrick Taylor’s wonderful Irish Country Doctor novels.

    Warm regards,

    Carol Tulpar
    Surrey, Canada

  15. Grannymar Post author

    Welcome Carol to my blog. I live further north than Co Armagh. I am in County Antrim, the home of the Holestone. Ireland may be a small country, but it is full of wonderful ancient monuments and Monastic settlements. I did a series of posts called a Tour of Ireland, covering all 32 counties on the island. You might find them of interest or useful for a future visit to this country. The final post has links to all the counties.

  16. blackwatertown

    Reminds me of some stones supposedly imbued with healing powers in Co Louth, around the Gap of the North at Faughhart. You see people visiting them to heal or alleviate ailments of the eye, knee and (not so sure about this one) the backside. My Granny put her gammy knee in the knee stone and it was wonderfully improved. (The knee replacement might have helped too.)

  17. Grannymar Post author

    Blackwatertown – I think there are stones like that all around Ireland, You will also find an abundance of holy wells.

  18. Grannymar Post author

    Alice – I was fortunate the morning I went gallivanting, I was only home when the heavens opened and it rained all evening.


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