Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/68

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50 Collectanea.

St. John's altar at Killone "Abbey," and those at Kinallia and Ross, appear to be used only as a rude rosary to keep count of the prayers and " rounds " offered at these shrines. At Killone the well and altar lie under old ash-trees at the end of a lake, with the gables and two east windows of the convent showing between the tall trunks (Plate III). On the altar lie, or rather lay, seven of the cake-like concretions found in the shale of the district ; on my last visit I only saw five. These stones used to be moved, one at each "round," as the penitent went on the knees along the grassy slope and ended each time by prayer on the altar steps. At the lonely little oratory and cave of St. Colman MacDuach, under the high cliff of Kinallia in Glen- columbcille, we find several of these stones and a flat slab with two parallel shallow flutings, (each with one end rounded), lying on the altar (Plate IV.). At Ross, near Loop Head, numerous rounded stones from the neighbouring shingle beach lie on the altar in the Saints' church, — one of them hollowed like a shallow saucer. I have seen no religious rites at either of the latter churches, and so can tell nothing of the part played by these objects. Killeany church, near Lisdoonvarna, has a primitive altar, carefully built of large rude limestone blocks, in the grave- yard, and on it lie several of the shale concretions.^ I have seen other examples at Glenquin, Kilcredaun, and elsewhere.

The " bad member" of the group is the set of " cursing stones" at Kilmoon, between Killeany and Lisdoonvarna. They lie on a dry-stone wall under an old wind-bent tree at the holy well, adjoining the ruin in the field to the west of the church, and were brought to more than local knowledge some fifteen or sixteen years ago. A farmer was prosecuted by a beggar woman for beating and laming her. He put forward as his defence, (at petty sessions, I think, at Corofin), that " she swore to turn the stones of Kilmoon " against him. It was believed that, if a person went fasting to the place and did seven rounds "against the sun," turning each stone in the same unlucky direction, the mouth of the person against whom the stones were turned would be twisted

^ See Plate V, reproduced here from Plate IX in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Ser. III. vol. vi, by kind permission of the Council of that body.