MoonStanding stone at Piperstown, Co. LouthMoon

Five-sided boulder with strange depressions

Piperstown standing stone (No.205 - Archaeological Survey of Co. Louth) O 0811 8277

This huge block of stone is strange because of its shape - it is a five-sided stone with a broad section and a flat top. It is situated on gently-sloping pasture in a townland called Piperstown, where in recent years the remains of a medieval village have been excavated. To the south there is a cairn, while to the north lie the three standing stones on the slopes of Carnanbreaga at Drumshallon. Also lying nearby, near the site of the medieval village, is a motte.

The eastern face of the stone, which is by far the largest, is littered with circular crater-like depressions, some of which are up to three inches in diameter.

Piperstown standing stone

Buckley and Sweetman (Archaeological Survey of Co. Louth) state that these depressions resemble cup marks, "but these appear to be natural solution-holes. Some of these can be seen in the photograph below.

Holes on the eastern face

Some of the 'cup-marks' on the eastern face of the Piperstown standing stone.

A very large fissure runs down this face of the stone, opening to a couple of inches in places. There is a further series of cup-mark-like holes running vertically down this side of the stone. I was able to count 17 holes which for the most part form a vertical line down the stone. Towards the top right of this face is a series of smaller holes which appear to form a curve, almost like a semi-circle.

The south-western face of the stone also features some of these holes, which form the shape of an arc. There are also some small thin grooves or notches on this face, and a denuded series of platform-like raises on the southern edge of this side.

From the north
From the north-west
Looking from the north.
Looking from the north-west.

The western face of the stone is very wide at the top, narrowing considerably at the bottom, and with a very straight edge along the top. The north-western side, visible in the picture above right, slopes outwards and narrows considerably from about five feet at the bottom to about two and a half feet at the top. There is a thin fissure running down the centre of this face, which has also suffered some graffiti. There appear to be more denuded depressions on this side of the stone, with one obvious circular depression which has a flat interior surface and resembles a moon crater.

From the east
Some holes on the eastern face
Looking from the east.
Some of the holes on the eastern face.

One amusing aspect of this stone was the fact that if you stand about 20 feet from it and shout aloud you can hear the echo coming back! It is a strange feeling in the middle of a wide open field to hear an echo.

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Notice: All pictures are copyright of the author, Anthony Murphy, 2000.

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