Lecture at St Matthew’s celebrates parish’s ‘holey stone!’

Tuesday September 13th 2011

The Baullaun stone in front of St Matthew's.St Matthew’s Parish Church, Woodvale Road, Belfast, is hosting a lecture on the Baullaun stone on September 22.

The lecture, entitled ‘Holey Stones’ and delivered by Dr Cormac McSparron of the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University, will mark the centenary of the placing of a Baullaun stone in front of the church.

The stone is a granite boulder with a circular, water–filled hollow. For years, children have splashed the water into each others’ faces, and the stone was also reputed to cure warts.

The stone is, in fact, a Baullaun stone, probably of Celtic or early medieval origin. It was found in the Old Shankill Graveyard, and was moved to its present position in July 1911.

Baullaun stones are found on medieval ecclesiastical sites across Ireland, and sometimes in Scotland. Dr McSparron will look at the form, possible date and function of these enigmatic stones. He will discuss their possible origin in the pounding and processing of metal ores, by craftsmen attracted to the churches and monasteries of early Medieval Ireland as patrons of their output. He will also reflect on the ritual use of these stones in folk medicine.

Dr McSparron’s lecture will be given in St Matthew’s Church on Thursday September 22 at 7.30pm. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served.

For further information please contact the Revd Canon Gregory Dunstan, tel. 028 9071 4325 or email belfast.stmatthew@connor.anglican.org.  


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