Exploring Waterford's Ancient Monuments

Coumaraglinmountain - "The Stone Man"

Coumaraglinmountain - "The Stone Man"

If there were Oscars for “Best Located Standing Stones” in Ireland, then this one would certainly be amongst the nominations. The location of the "Stone Man”  is truly magnificent and it undoubtedly ranks as one of Waterford’s ‘must see’ sites.

This is an amazing place to visit whether you are a prehistoric buff or an avid hill walker, the mountain climb will be well rewarded. The spectacularly located 2 metre high stone stands in the Bearna na Madra (“Dog’s Gap”) which is a saddle between the mountains of Farbreaga and Seefin. Known locally as “The Stone Man”, this iconic landmark is found at an altitude of 500 metres (1,700 ft) and on clear days is visible from up to 4 km away from either side of the mountain. It’s south face is a bright white due to being traditionally whitewashed over the years, making it even more visible on bright evenings when the sun swings round the mountain range to the west. The stone is oriented in a E-W direction.

On a fine day, the views from here are breathtaking. However, in inclement weather conditions it’s a lonely and mystical place where bracing winds frequently blow up and over the exposed gap in the mountain range. In late evening as the light fades, it can be somewhat eerie too, for as you move around, one almost feels you are not alone with the ever presence of the shadowy stone figure over your shoulder. Just 10 metres south of the monolith is a large dry stone wall enclosure measuring 21m X 17m with two entrances at the west end. Both monuments were most likely had an association with each other and probably date from the same time. Perhaps this gap in the mountain was reserved for some special rituals or ceremonies where people made a long ‘pilgrimage like’ walk to this special high place.

In terms of Christianity, a faint track which runs through the heather on the way to the summit from the west side, is called St. Declan’s Road. This saint is thought to have brought the Christian faith to Ireland even before St. Patrick.

The ‘Gap’ can be reached from either East or West. Reaching the site is a bit of a climb from the nearest road, but it is certainly well worth it.


 

The large Prehistoric enclosure to the south

 

 

 A mystical place

 

 

View from the North of Bearna na Madra gap with stone arrowed

 

 

Visible from 4km away

 

 

 Directions: See Treenearla Commons.

From  the summit of the Mauma Pass at Treenearla Commons continue the descent NW towards Kilbrien. After 4 km where you see the road signposted for Kilbrien, turn right

Follow this narrow road almost 0.75 km till you come to right turn. Drive on this very narrow uneven track for about 2km which brings you in closer to The Gap. You can park near a small wood on the left and make the ascent to the monument.

 

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23-01- 2017

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