Back from a guided tour of the Crom Crúaich district in NW County Cavan.
Informed locals insist the original name of the "idol" was Cenn Crúaich,
which could mean "bloody head" but I think means "head of a [stylized]
stack of corn / rick of hay". They identify Cenn/Crom with the
Killycluggin Stone. Another local theory says Crom Crúaich is the stone
circle next to which the Stone was deliberately buried in the distant
past, "crom" as "bending" presumably referring to the circle. The Stone
was found in 1921 when it was struck by a plough. It was probably
originally situated in the centre of the circle or at a distance from
the entrance stones as an outlier. Its burial place is not where one
would expect to find such a stone. The 1992 replica was installed in an
accessible place next to the road about 300 yards from the stone circle.
I saw the original in the Cavan Museum -- incompetent straight-on flash
-- and the well-executed replica. I photographed the replica with the
sun in a perfect position to show the carvings at their best, but the
film is still in the camera. I don't think it was meant to be a phallic
symbol. It is short and squat and closely resembles the head of a stack
of corn or hay.
The nearby enigmatic Darragh Hill is topped with a c. 150-foot
ceremonial circle -- bank and interior fosse -- with no stones at the
top but a broken large flat stone at the base. This flat stone has no
tradition as a Mass rock, and no evident tradition as a pagan altar
stone. No one could hazard a guess as to the purpose of Darragh Hill and
its connection with the Crom circle, though one local friend says she
had heard that Darragh Hill was the Crom Crúaich location. Her father, a
retired agricultural advisor who knows all the farmers and every inch of
the landscape, feels that the conflicting dates of the Bronze Age circle
and the Iron Age La Tene Killycluggin Stone confuse the issue, but the
two informed locals I talked to thought the Iron Age people simply
installed their idol in the existing circle.
The impression of locals that Crom Crúaich was a place of ritual human
sacrifice to a harvest god remains strong. It seems significant, but is
probably only coincidence, that in the largest nearby town, Belturbet,
there is a nursing home called The Omega -- "short term, long term". I
didn't have time to ask if the nursing home dated to the Iron Age.
----- Original Message -----
From: Croman mac Nessa <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 11:05 PM
Subject: Re: Crom Cruaich = stack of corn with a curving design?
> In a message dated 6/24/02 11:57:38 AM Central Daylight Time,
> [log in to unmask] writes:
> << I'm making a pilgrmage to the Killycluggin Stone and its 1992
> replica this week Any answers I come up with will probably generate
> questions. >>
> Still, I'ld like to see photos, if it's not too much trouble. Tapadh