The Stone of the (varied) gatherings

West across the hills from Port, the first village you hit is Glencolmcille – a deeply historic place.

We headed out one fine morning for the two hour walk along the cliffs to the village. You could do it faster, but our kids are smallish.

We headed for the pub, inspecting a standing stone on the way . It was called The Stone of the Gathering (Cloch an Aonaigh) . It has a large hole bored through it – and looked , to our African tribal eyes, suspiciously like a fertility symbol.

Standing Stone

It was clear, that although this and fifteen other stones in the village form the basis of a three hour Christian pilgrimage around the town every June (the Turas Cholmcille), that the stone we were looking at was way pre-christian.

Apparently, during the pilgrimage:“The pilgrim circles the cairn three times, praying, and then, placing his back to the stone, makes a declaration renouncing the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.”

Im not convinced that the humans who first erected this stone were renouncing anything.

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