Apr 18, 2011

Antrim's Round Tower and the Witches Stone

We visited the round tower in Antrim. It's supposed to be one of the best examples of a round tower in Northern Ireland and it was indeed in excellent condition. The tower, 93 feet high, is all that's left of an early 10th century monastery. The tower is in the middle of a park. Tom snapped a picture of some soccer (football) players in front of it. When they knew we were taking pictures, they hurried off. The photo gives a pretty good perspective on how high that door is. On the back side (pictured below) there is a door/window that is not so high.

There were a couple of interesting things about this site. One, unfortunately, is that it bears quite a bit of graffati.

These are some closeups of the stone wall and window. We are a little weird, being so fascinated by stuff like that. But in case you are too, here you go:

The other interesting thing about this site is the legend of the Witches Stone. There is a large stone near the tower with two holes or indentations. One thought is that it was used by the monks to prepare their meals and to grind grain. But the Irish, storytellers with great imaginations that they are, couldn't leave it at that. The legend says that a witch, dismayed at the Christian monks building the tower, climbed up and flung herself off the top. She landed on the stone, leaving an impression of one knee and one elbow. These holes are said to be always filled with water. As you can see, they were when we were there (well, you can see one of them, anyway.) It's called a bullaun stone. A sign at the site states that the witch must have glided part of the way since the stone is a distance from the tower. Well, those kinds of details never hender a good Irish tale!

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