Bullaun Stone at Farburren

There is what is known as a Bullaun Stone outside of the western wall of the church, where now a tree is growing. What is a Bullaun Stone you might ask? It is a reasonably large stone, where a hollow has been carved out of it. These Bullaun Stones feature prominently in monastic sites—typically in an ecclesiastical setting. They are thought to have been used for grinding herbs or grain with a mortar or used as receptacles for holy water. It seems however, that this Bullaun Stone was used for holy water as it had been placed at what appears to be the entrance to the church (Michigan State University, 2009).

The wife of the present owner of the site, told the following story about the Bullaun Stone. It was recounted to her by a tenant who once lived on the estate. The last Buchanan had the Bullaun Stone placed outside her house. It is said that she was woken up every night for a week by a strange crying voice, which told her that St. Patrick had used the stone to baptise people and the voice also told her to put back the stone, presumably on account of the fact that it was holy. Without hesitation, she had the stone placed back in its original position, and there was no more heard of the crying voice! (Joyce, 1999, p 95).


1.     Joyce, B. (1999). ‘Early Ecclesiastical Site at Farburren, Parish of Oughaval, Co. Mayo.’ Cathair na Mart: Journal of the Westport Historical Society. Journal 19. p 95.

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 Unpublished.