Kildare is probably best known for its horse breeding and flat open plains, unfortunately we don’t have an abundance of ancient Neolithic monuments, there are no great Stone Circles or Burial Tombs so to speak. But what we do have is a fine collection of Standing Stones or Menhir’s, which includes the tallest one in the country. Aside from Castles, my favourite sites to explore are the many standing stones to be found scattered around the country. Marking the land like the needles of an acupuncturist, in fact I was once told that they were used by our ancestors as such to harness or balance the natural energy of the land similar to how acupuncture works. Whatever use these stones had, they remain to this day quite fascinating. The Gaelic name for these stones is ‘Gallan’, and there are numerous interesting stories associated with them. My personal favourite concerns the legendary leader of Na Fianna, Fionn MacCumhaill and the nearby Long Stone at Punchestown.
Just opposite the main entrance to the racecourse at Punchestown, lies the Standing Stone of Craddockstown West. Thankfully it is under a Preservation order, which means that it cannot be touched or damaged in any way. And although the Land owner seems to be respecting this, fingers crossed it stays this way. It resides on a slightly raised part of a crop field and can be easily seen from the road. This massive megalithic stone stands at just over four meters in height, with a slight lean to the west. This tall granite stone tapers towards the top.
This is one of several such Monoliths in the Kildare area, I have yet to visit the final two which have been somewhat elusive so far. Similar to the standing stone in Kilgowan, this monument has a large base with signs of packing stones around its base and tapers to the top in a conical fashion. There is a rather nasty looking scar near the base and a vein of quartz running across it. As always this stone lies within a crop field on private land so if you do get a chance to go and see this for yourself, please seek permission before entering and try to stick to the tractor marks so you don’t damage the crops.
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