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Location

Cork Map

The quay at Ballycrovane is surprisingly busy with several white-fish boats as well as the usual inshore ones. All the more surprising, since there are so few houses in the area.

It is also incredibly beautiful, despite the industrial activity and, judging by the number of antiquities in the area, has always been a place of some significance.

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Hag of Beara (An Chailleach Bhéarra)

Location

Cork Map

There is no denying that the strange grey stone, known as the Hag of Beara, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking Ballycrovane Bay looks distinctly odd.

What it does not look like is a the petrified body of a pre-Christian goddess turned to stone for stealing the prayer book of an early Christian saint (Naomh Caithighearn or Caitairin), just one of the many stories attached to this enigmatic character.

The hag is supposed to have had seven periods of youth and to have outlived each of the seven men she married. Her many off-spring spread far and wide carrying her name throughout Ireland and the west coast of Scotland.

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Kilcatherine Churchyard

Location

Cork Map

Kilcatherine Churchyard is probably named after Naomh (Saint) Caithighearn who, after a run in with the Hag of Beara, is said to have founded a nunnery on this nearby spot.

Perhaps it is just me being unobservant and it is common practice elsewhere, but all the graves to the east of the church had their headstones on the eastern end of the grave, whilst all those to the west faced the opposite way. Seemed odd.

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Ballycrovane Ogham Stone (Béal A'Chorraigh Bháin)

Location

Cork Map

The first thing to say about the Ballycrovane Ogham Stone is that it does not look local. The very flat, finely grained, greenish stone is very different from the twisted, grey, gritty rocks that surround it.

Secondly, at 4.7m (15.5ft) high, it is very tall; the tallest in the world, according to some.

Thirdly, it overlooks Ballycrovane Harbour, which may give a clue to its original purpose - some sort of day-mark or navigation aid.

Fourthly, it is inscribed in ogham 'MAQI DECCEDDAS AVI TURANIAS' which translates as "Son of Deich the descendant of Turainn" ("Mac Deich Uí Turainn"). This probably dates it to the early medieval period, although many believe it to be older.

And fifthly, in 2010 the local land owner charged €2 for access to the site, but you got an A4 sheet on Ogham Stones in return.

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