Three Fingers
At a Glance
County Cork
OS Map 89
OS Coordinate W 174 315
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Three Fingers (Gurranes), Co. Cork

Location: About 1 km northwest of Castletownshend, on the north side of R 596, The Three Fingers stand sentinel on a ridge high above the surrounding countryside. There is a car park across from St. Barrahane's church (built in 1834 and easily recognizable by it's east gable bell-cote)and beside the school. The farmers gate is not the shortest route to the site, but is probably the easiest to traverse during wet weather. Please be aware of any livestock in the fields and secure the gate carefully.

Description: This stone row consists of three tall thin slabs, a low stone and a large fallen slab in a roughly ENE-WSW alignment. The low stone at the NE end is one meter high, though it looks much smaller as it is dwarfed by the upright "fingers". In front (N) of (and almost touching) this low stone is a fallen slab over four meters long. Directly beside the prostrate slab and leaning heavily to the east is the tallest of the upright stones at 4.3 meters tall, 0.5 meters wide and 0.3 meters thick. The middle stone is of equal width and thickness, but stands 3.6 m tall. The SW stone is almost a meter wide, 0.2 meters thick and 2.5 meters high.

Comments: This site is surprisingly easy to find, even without a good map, as the "fingers" are visible from quite a distance. While the hillside is steep, it is a less difficult climb than it might seem and well worth the trek. From a distance, this stone row is impressive. The closer we approached, the more impressive they became. At close range, these stones are awe-inspiring. It is reported that a fifth stone was removed to the Somerville estate in Castletownshend in the 19th century. With the prostrate stone standing upright, this would have made a whole handful of "fingers". The site gives a commanding view of the surrounding countryside and the sea. It truly feels almost like the top of the world.

Other Items of Interest: From the carpark looking to the south, a stairway runs straight up the side of the hill there. This was so curious, we had to attempt to find it. Just around the bend in R 596 is a farm track, blocked by a gate. There is enough room here to park a car off the road. A relatively flat walk brings you to the base of a beautifully crafted modern stone stairway. At the top is the cashel of Knockdrum, and an outstanding view from there of the Three Fingers on the next hill to the northeast.

  © 2005 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.