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Castlestrange Stone, Co. Roscommon
Cloch Chaislean Strainse - CastleStrange
Location: From Athleague in County Roscommon take the R362 west for
Glenamaddy. After about 1/2 kilometer, watch for a sign for Castlestrange cult stone. Take
a right here and follow the road along the River Suck until you come to the entrance for
Castlestrange Demense driveway where the road curves. The Stone is to the right of
the demesne driveway. It is signposted on the road. There is a widening
in the demesne road for parking, or you may park on the roadway and walk up the driveway.
Description: Along the side of the farm drive in the grounds of Castlestrange
Demense stands this beautifully inscribed Cult stone, decorated with curvilinear ornament
and dating to around 200 BC. The design is done in the Celtic La Tene style, similar
to the Turoe Stone which is not far away in Co. Galway. The Turoe Stone is carved in relief
while the design on the pink granite Castlestrange stone is incised. At 60 cm high and
approx. 90 cm long, it sits on a round bed of radially placed river rocks which in turn
is surrounded by a protective cattle grid. While the function of these cult stones is not
clear, it is presumed that they had a ritual or religious purpose.
Comments: It is relatively easy to see the Castlestrange Stone from the road.
Rather squat-looking from a distance, it is suprisingly substantial up close. It
sits on what appears to be a manmade grass-covered terrace. It was past tourist season
when we visited, though it is doubtful there is a huge tourist trade at this site. It
is very serene here, with the cows muttering to one another and seeming to pose for
a "group photo". Cows are naturally curious and humans usually mean food is forthcoming,
but it never fails to amuse us that wherever we go, we seem to find a bovine welcoming
committee ready for a "chat".