I've written before about Bulluan stones...those boulders often found in burial grounds with holes that hold rainwater...what I didn't know until today was that they've been dated back as far as Neolithic times...and there are some examples which have cure or cursing stones in the water filled hollows.
It's uncertain as to their use in Neolithic times...the water in their hollows has been used for many years as cures for various ailments, but once Christianity took hold of the general population, that purpose was frowned upon by the church...as were cures...and they were forgotten about except in a few of the remoter country areas.
By the late mediaeval period the cures were once again used by everyone regardless of status or social standing...and so the Bulluans were back in fashion as it were.
Cure or cursing stones are usually large rounded stones...like an over-sized pebble. You turn them clockwise...one at a time...while either muttering dark thoughts about your nasty neighbour or praying for the relief from illness.
I was amused to see that the cure stones at our local Holy well have been cemented firmly into the wall...and I wouldn't put it past the old Bishop to have arranged that in cahoots with Father Vincent...neither of them approve of 'the old ways'.
There is a little story attached to the Bulluan stone and cursing or cure stones at a St Fiachna's cemetery...it is said the Saint himself came across a village woman who was making butter in the Bulluan from milk she'd stolen from her neighbours cow...St Fiachna was furious with her and turned all her butter making equipment into the cursing or cure stones...and they've been there ever since.
A curious fact which cannot be disputed, is that at sunrise on the Winter Solstice, the Bulluan and the end of the boundary wall of the burial ground are in direct alignment with the rising sun...
If Neolithic peoples placed that Bulluan stone there it can hardly have been pure coincidence that it was so placed to catch the rays of the sun at the Solstice...the wall might have been coincidental...it certainly wouldn't have been there when the Bulluan stone was put in place.
Maybe there was something else there once...a standing stone perhaps, now long gone. Farmers used to bring standing stones to their fields for the cattle to use as scratching posts, so maybe if there was one there it landed up miles away for itchy cows to rub themselves on...