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10th Aug 2023

‘Lasting damage’ caused to 1,000 year-old stone at Glendalough

Fiona Frawley

Glendalough deerstone damaged

The damage is believed to have been caused by an act of vandalism.

Significant damage has been caused to the historic Deerstone in Glendalough, a 1,000-year-old bullaun stone associated with St. Kevin of Glendalough.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes, Project Manager at Pat Reid said it’s believed that someone lit a fire on the stone, causing it to crack.

Mr Reid said:

“There’s four significant cracks running across it, and they may run quite deep.

“This is a significant problem in that if water gets into these cracks during winter the resulting freeze thaw will cleave the boulder that holds it apart, so it is a serious issue.

“There was some damage to it before, but it has really accelerated it,” he said.

There’s rich history and many legends associated with the Deerstone, which is the most well-known out of an estimated thousand similar bullaun stones in Glendalough.

According to legend, a man who was working to build the monastery at Glendalough came to St. Kevin after his wife had died giving birth to his son. The workman asked for help to feed the baby, and St. Kevin prayed for a doe to come to the monastery each morning and leave some milk in the hollow of the stone for the child. The child is said to have thrived and eventually inherited his father’s estate.

According to the Irish Times, the Department of Heritage said an inspection showed severe scorching from fire and cracking on the stone. It said “further specialist analysis will be required to inform any possible repair”, and the matter is being reported to An Garda Síochána.

Header image via Getty 


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