Clogh Patrick at Lanmore near Aughagower

Clogh Patrick, which is translated at ‘Patrick’s Stone’ is one of many standing stones located along the original Tochar Phadraig. The stone is also known as Clogh fhada, or ‘the tall stone,’ (Michigan State University, 2009) and is located at Lanmore, near Aughagower in Co. Mayo (Corlett, 2001). It is also known as the ‘Lanmore Longstone’ (Beckett Crowe, 2023) or more simply the ‘Lanmore stone’ (Corlett, 2001). St. Patrick’s Stone is approximately 2 meters in height, and it is slanted (Beckett Crowe, 2023). This standing stone, and others like it, have multiple roles—both religious and historical. Dating back as far as the Bronze Age, these stones marked boundaries, burying places, and ritualistic or ceremonial events (Michigan State University, 2009).

Generally, if the intention behind the stones’ erection were for burial or boundary purposes, they would have been put in place by the local chieftain or high-ranking person (Michigan State University, 2009).

Another idea surmising the origins of standing stones is what is known as ‘ley lines.’ These are, in this case, an alignment of stones or monuments which are thought to have a kind of spiritual energy that wells up from the ground. It is thought that animals are drawn to these places, and it is even suggested that if a person walks these ley lines, and if they pay attention, they can ‘feel’ the energy (Michigan State University, 2009).

Perhaps the most plausible theory of them all is that the stones were erected to mark and create a path to Croagh Patrick (Michigan State University, 2009).

Morahan (2001) says that “It is not known when the practice of erecting standing stones discontinued,” and few standing stones in this area have been mapped by Ordnance Survey (Morahan, 2001).

Hannon (2017) writes that the “Lanmore Longstone, also known as Clogh Phadraig (St. Patrick’s Stone) is a standing stone in Co. Mayo often seemingly confused with Lankill Cross-Inscribed Pillar which is another Standing Stone nearby that was later Christianised. The route, if it can be described as that, to this monument is impassable without getting a fair share of thorns and stings but it is a beautiful slanted stone about 2 metres in height….In relation to the name of the stone as Clogh Phadraig this is probably due to the amount of place-name references in this area of Mayo to St. Patrick.”

A folk tale related to the stone centers around penal times when the celebration of the Catholic mass was outlawed. There was a man who hunted priests—known as Sean na Sagart—who hunted in the area around St. Patrick’s Stone. He was seeking a reward for capturing priests. There was an area named ‘Lag na h-Altora’ where penal mass was frequently celebrated. A guard kept watch while the congregation tried to keep out of sight. Beckett Crowe (2023) writes, “John Keville penned in an article on Aughagower in Cathair na Mart: Journal of Westport Historical Society (volume 4 ,issue 1) that ‘The priest was reading Mass in the lag when the man on guard gave the warning that Seán and his men were coming across the side of the hill from the direction of the Longstone.’ The people prepared their escape. They warned the priest but he was convinced that Sean na Sagart would not arrive until after the mass (Beckett Crowe, 2023).

References:

  1. Beckett-Crowe, N. (2023). Lanmore Longstone. Available at: https://www.ouririshheritage.org/content/archive/place/miscellaneous-place/lanmore-longstone-2 Accessed: 6th of December, 2023.

  2. Corlett, C. (2001). Antiquities of West Mayo. Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wordwell Ltd, p 28.

  3. Hannon, E. (2017). Lanmore Longstone, Mayo, Ireland. Available at: https://visionsofthepastblog.com/2017/01/26/lanmore-longstone-mayo-ireland/ Accessed: 7th of December, 2023.

  4. Michigan State University, Study Abroad Programme. (2009). Clogh Patrick. Internal Report: Folder 3, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd. Unpublished.

  5. Morahan, L. (2001). Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo: archaeology, landscape and people. Westport: The Croagh Patrick Archaeological Committee, p 41.