Saint Bridget's Head Stone

Saint Bridget’s Head Stone is a semi-perforated broken millstone next to a forest track on the west side of Kilranelagh Hill near Baltinglass. The Irish name, cloch na gceann – “the stone of the head” – gives the townland its name: Cloghnagaune.

The local man who showed me the stone in the 1980s explained that if you have a headache and put your head in the hole, the headache will disappear. In thanks, the beneficiaries leave coins, holy medals, scapulars and holy cards in the hole. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a headache when I’ve visited the stone, but a friend I took there did. Before I could tell her what the stone was used for, she put her head in the hole. She reported that she had had a headache before, but now it was gone. Another friend I took there also put her head in the hole before I could explain the purpose. She didn’t have a headache before, but when she removed her head from the hole she did.

Another explanation for the name goes back to a 6th-century episode in The Bórama (The Cattle Tribute). Cummascach, son of High King Aed Ainmire, was beheaded on the stone.

Cloghnagaune Townland

OS 27:7:2 (553, 448)

National Grid 29220, 18988

Archaeological Inventory of County Wicklow , Ecclesiastical Miscellanea 977

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