Irish Rocking Stones

From The Irish Fireside, Volume 1, Number 4, July 23, 1883.

Several rocking-stones are to be found in Ireland. Camden speaks of one at Clonmany, in the county Donegal, described to be of vast size and pyramidal form, and known by the name of Magarl Fhin mhic Cuill. At Brown's Bay, on the coast of Antrim, is a remarkably fine rocking-stone, well balanced on a projecting rock; it can be moved with great ease in one direction. On the side of a lofty hill in the Coom Duv, or Black Valley, near the Upper Lake of Killarney, county Kerry, is the Balance Rock spoken of by Mr and Mrs S C Hall in their elegant work on Ireland, as a "Druidical" memorial of great antiquity. This stone is likened by Moore to the poet's heart, which

"The slightest touch alone sets moving,
But all earth's powers could not shake from its base."

On the side of Slieve Ban, near Rostrevor, is a large block of granite, probably deposited there, as so many have doubtless been, by ice, which formerly is said to have been easily rocked. Tradition affirms that the mass of granite "was pitched there from the Carlingford Mountains by Fionn M'Comhal, who, having accepted a challenge from a celebrated Caledonian giant, travelled as far as Carlingford to meet him. Benandonner, the Scotch giant, having landed at Dundrum, came as far as Slieve Ban to meet his adversary Fionn. The latter, as a salutation or exhibition of his strength, is said to have taken this lump of granite from a gap--still shown in the Carlingford Mountains--and heaved it across the lough. It fell at the feet of bold Benandonner, who was so much startled at the strength of Fionn that he declined further competition, and returned at full speed to the quiet of his native Scottish hills." At Luggala, on the eastern side of the valley, a rocking-stone is said to have been thrown down by a party of military in 1800, and now lies immovable some yards from its original position. On the Three Rock Mountains, county Dublin, culprits are said to have been "placed under the stone, which was made to vibrate over their heads and threaten death at every instant."