300 Years Old Pagan Site of Worship: Welcome to the Piper's Stone

We're here in Athgreany, Hollywood, and it's about 2, 2.5 kilometers south of Hollywood on the N81. It's a very ancient site. It consists of a ring of stones, the Piper's Stones it's known as. There's an outlier stone at [inaudible], which is referred to as the Piper, and the stones are referred to as dancers. And the Mason folklore is that the dancers were defying the Sabbath Day and they were turned into stones.

Archeologists believe that these two stones here are the entrance stones to this ancient circle of stones. And they're directly up from the pilot stone, the Piper's Stone. They're actually to the northeast from me here. And this circle of stones is very much in the tradition to Newgrange and Stone Hedge. It's our own local circle of stones here in Hollywood and West Wicklow. This is very much the keystone or the pilot stone, the key to this circle of stones, and it's referred to as the Piper's Stone. And it's very -- you see markings on it, north, south, east, and west. East coming here, north there, and during the Autumn Equinox, the sun would rise over there and shine directly across that line. And, as the sun moves around the circle, it marks the different months, the different calendar of the year. But, there's no doubt about it, this is a very ancient site. It's here, as I say, probably 1,000 up to 2,000 years before Christ, which makes it 3,000 to 3,500 years old. And it links the same with a very ancient and pagan past of when there was sun worship going on here. And, indeed, people are superstitious about a place like the Piper's Stones and it would be considered bad luck -- if you notice the tree in the middle, it's a lawn bush, a Hawthorne tree, a hawthorn tree or a whitethorn, and Sceach Gheal as it's called in Irish. And it would be considered highly unlucky and, especially given its location in this ancient ring fort, in this ancient stone, ring of stones, to go near it or to interfere with it in any way.

There was a tradition like where people used to leave petitions or offerings here, very much in the same tradition as people leaving offerings or money coins even in holy wells and so on. So, again, this shows the continuity between our ancient pagan past and our Christian past which replaced it. There's a number of Piper's Stones in this general area, but this would probably be the most famous one at Athgreany. Athgreany is an Anglicization of Achadh Greine, which in Irish means the Field of the Throne. And, again, this shows this ancient association with the stone and its ancient purpose as sort of a stone calendar where people would judge the seasons of the year and celebrate certain rituals. And this ancient circle is very much at the center of that pre-Christian pagan world. And that's why people still have this huge respect and farmers still -- and local people have a huge respect for it and its association with the past.

Click here for more info on the Piper's Stone

Wactch interview here

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