Statistical Survey of the County of Clare, 1808

By Hely Dutton

Chapter V - Section 28

Pillar-stones, &c.

Pillar-stones occur in but few places; some may be seen on the road between Spansel-hill and Tullagh: from the rudeness of the workmanship they are probably of very high antiquity. A gentleman informed me they were rubbing-posts for cattle! —See General Vallencey’s Prospectus.

At Kilfenora several ancient crosses are to be seen; one in the church-yard seems to be of great antiquity, as there is no inscription on it; another on the estate of George Lysaght, Esq. is of very light and beautiful workmanship, and probably of a period long after that in the church-yard.

Near the church and round tower of Dysert O’Dea, a very curious one lies on the ground; it represents (it is said) St. Monalagh, who was bishop of this place, and whose figure is represented on it, with his crozier, &c. accompanied by several other figures; it is without date; but on the base, that supported it, we are informed, that it was repaired by one of that family in the year 1689. It is remarkable, that the head of the saint is cut on a square piece of flat stone, that can be put in and out at pleasure like the stopper of an oven. The crozier also of this saint is still preserved with great care; it is called the Boughal, (stick,) and is of curious workmanship; it is held in such veneration, that oaths are taken on it with great solemnity, and a shilling paid for the use of it to a poor woman, who gives it out to any person, who applies for it, and it travels safely from cabin to cabin.

In a field near the church of Kilnaboy, a remarkable cross is fixed in a rock; tradition says, that two men had a violent quarrel of many years standing, which, by the interference of mutual friends, they agreed to settle here; they met and shook hands, and in commemoration of the event a cross was erected on the spot. The appearance of it gives some degree of probability to the story, for there are two faces in relief looking towards each other on the top of the cross, and two hands in the middle like those in the act of shaking hands; my informant said this happened long before the building of the round tower or the church. (See plate below.) It is remarkable how little curiosity there is in the county; not a single gentleman, even of those, who passed it by frequently for forty years, had ever noticed it, though not twenty yards from the road.

Curious Monument at Kilnaboy

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