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Holy Hills of Ireland

38 39 turNiNg stoNes cursing and curing Bullns are often found at old church sites and holy wells. These are flat stones with round indentations in which sit water worn stones or pebbles, which were often said to grow in the holy wells and are frequently called cursing stones. At Kilmoon, Clare, a victims mouth would be twisted awry by the stones being turned while reciting the individuals name, two stones in the Joyce country, Connemara, brought evil on a false accuser if the slandered person turned the stones and called down harm, and on Iniskea island off Achill, anyone seeking revenge turned a bulln stone by a well three times while praying that their enemy would not prosper or get the length of life. They also brought cures, if turned diseal, or sunwise. A healing stone at St Conalls well, Donegal cured most ills, as did the thirteen stones of Toberaraght well and the seventeen stones at Toomour altar, both in Sligo. Another Sligo bulln, at Killery, was famous for its curing powers, and water collected from the bullns cured ailments too. Turning stones to call up supernatural powers must be extremely ancient. New Grange has circular depressions in one stone basin, and many more elsewhere. They are common to many sites and integral to the freestanding neolithic cup and ring rock carvings of Staigue Bridge and Derrynablaha, Kerry. Opposite left St. Bridgets Stone, Killinagh, nr Blacklion. Opposite right Altar at Toomour, with Dumbbell Stone, and dicket stones. This page, top The Little Altar, with Stones, Island of Inishmurray. Left Clocha Breacha Altar with cursing stones, Island of Inishmurray. Below Altar at Toberaraght. The intense belief in the bullns powers led to their inclusion in popular Christianised beliefs. Similar sites are found all over Ireland.
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