The Mottee Stone

You can climb the steps to the top of the Mottee Stone for spectacular views

The Mottee Stone is a well-known landmark near Avoca and a popular vantage point for walkers. It sits on top of the 250-metre high Cronebane Ridge overlooking the Avoca Valley with spectacular views at all points of the compass. Avondale lies to the north, the Wicklow Mountains with the peak of Lugnaquilla to the west and it is said that the mountains of Wales can be seen to the east on a clear day. Five iron steps have been hammered into the side of the stone so that it is possible to climb to the top.

This is one of the best examples of a glacial erratic i.e. a rock that was transferred here by glaciers during the last Ice Age. The Mottee Stone consists of white granite, but the underlying bedrock here is volcanic. The nearest source of granite is over 13km away to the north west in the Glenmalure area. This indicates that the Mottee Stone, which weighs over 100 tons, was carried a considerable distance by moving ice. It is a very visible example of the impact of glaciation on our landscape.

There is much local lore connected to the Mottee Stone. It is known as Fionn Mac Cumhail’s hurling ball and it is said that the legendary warrior hurled it from the top of Lugnaquilla mountain to the west. Another tale says that every year on the morning of Easter the stone changes into the form of a woman and heads down the hill to the May Hole, a well near the Meeting of the Waters, to take a drink, before returning up the hill. There is a small hole indented in the top of the Mottee Stone and according to tradition anyone who puts their finger in this hole and makes a wish will see it fulfilled. The brilliant white colour of the stone is probably the reason why many claim to have seen a supernatural glow around it at certain times.

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