Exploring Waterford's Ancient Monuments

Knockanaffrin - Stone Pair

Knockanaffrin - Stone Pair

When it comes to location, this is another of Waterford’s ‘star’ sites.

The Knockanaffrin stone pair is outstandingly located at 360 metres (1181 ft) above sea level with broad breathtaking views of the Monavullagh and Knockmealdown mountain ranges.

On this lonely bleak mountainside, known as the ‘Hill of the Mass’, one finds perhaps the best example of a stone pair in Waterford, though it is debatable if this monument is a stone pair or that it could have possibly been a stone row.

The two main stones, which are conglomerates, are almost of identical height at around 1.6 meters and stand 1.5 meters apart. In most cases of stone pairs, they are thought to represent male and female because of their differing stature. Here the south stone takes on the male appearance, being more blocky and rectangular, while the north stone is more slender and pointed.

What makes  the site more interesting is that 3.75 metres further to the north is a small stumpy stone (see photo below) measuring 0.4 metres high. Could this have been a part of a row which was aligned NE – SW.

When one stands at this ancient site you get the ever increasing feeling that this was a commemorative monument and a place where some significant ceremony once took place. One could even speculate that the stones may have represented a notable family - that of two parents and their offspring. 

It also appears as if these stones were brought some distance and erected here, as there are no similar rock deposits in the surrounding area.

It’s quite a steep climb to reach this monument but the physical effort is well rewarded.

Knockanaffrin is one of Waterford’s special places.


The three stones at Knockanaffrin


Directions: From Ballymacabry take the road eastwards towards the Nire Valley.After 6km you will reach the Nire Bridge (also known as Birchell’s Bridge), which is a black & white iron structure. Just before the bridge turn right. After 1.25 km along this road you come to a left turn. Follow this narrow road for 1km till you reach a farmhouse a short distance up a lane on the right. About 400 meters further up is a gate on the right. Enter this field where you will see a row of conifer trees about 100 metres away. Up behind this is an abandoned stone cottage. When you reach the cottage veer to the right. Not far from here across the hill you will see the stones.


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