Exploring Waterford's Ancient Monuments

Ballymacaw - 'The White Lady'

Ballymacaw - 'The White Lady'

This intriguing figure shaped stone, almost 2 metres in height, is spectacularly situated near the cliff edge. It stands on exposed farmland between the small coves of Rathmoylan and Ballymacaw. The stone has  always been known locally as the ‘White Lady’ which almost certainly suggests that it would have been painted white or whitewashed at some stage in it’s history. It is orientated in a NW-SE direction.

The stone bears strong resemblance to a tombstone but it’s unsure if this sculpting took place prior to or after its erection. What it represents is difficult to say. Whether it was used as a marker for local fisherman is open to speculation, but with it’s human like appearance and unique location overlooking the Celtic sea, it could have had some other important symbolic meaning such as commemorative monument.

In Folklore, a “White Lady” is a female ghost present in the mythologies of many different cultures all over the world. She has commonly lost or been betrayed by her husband, or was the victim of a sudden, tragic death. Associated with death, she generally appears in rural lonely places or beside highways. The lady dressed in white, would have no visible face or a disfigured face.

Perhaps this stone has associations with someone lost at sea and through local folklore (when once painted white) was the material representation of a white ghost who walks the cliffs here on dark winter nights illuminated by the light of the moon.


 The White Lady's spectacular location


Looking north                                      South view


Directions: From the fishing village of Dunmore East take the coast road for Tramore. Not far up at the top of the hill turn left. Follow this road for about 3km and take the second left turn which takes you down to Rathmoylan Cove.

Park here and walk back up the road to the second mobile home on the left. Beside it there is an opening in the hedge to take you up over the hillside. Keep walking due West, crossing three field boundaries and keeping at least 100yds back from cliff. Soon you will see the stone in the distance.


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Other sites in this area : Harristown 8.8km





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The White Lady, Ballymacaw



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