Druids prop up faerie stone knocked over by a bull to stop bad luck, sparking government investigation

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/20/druids-prop-up-faerie-stone-knocked-over-by-a-bull-to-stop-bad-luck-sparking-government-investigation.html


I think that’s the only way one can be when talking about ‘traditional’ ‘druids’.

Re the investigation - I can sort of see the difference. It’s one thing if a historic thing like a standing stone falls over without direct human intervention. In that case, it’s fine to leave it lying there - it’s just succumbed to age and natural forces.

Once human beings intervene to put it up again, the agency has a duty/interest in making sure it’s been done ‘properly’ and in a way that’s sensitive to the age, location, etc.

At the moment the farmer says he’s put it back where it came from and the right way up but did he? Did it get damaged by the bulldozer? Is it at the right depth? All reasonable questions I would say.

It’s also not clear from the story whether he previously contacted the National Monuments Service. If not, it’s a shame none of the folklore experts he contacted bothered to tell him that he can’t just fiddle about with standing fallen stones without contacting the NMS before putting him in touch with some druids.


Let them sue the bull instead, if he’s still alive. He started it!


There’s an interesting procedural tv program in this somewhere. Law & Order: Mystic Crimes. CSI: Tir Na Nog. Matlock: With The Actual Ghost of Andy Griffith.


But the use of ‘also’ in this sentence certainly strongly implies he did.

Normally, the Irish National Monuments Service would be in charge of taking care of things of such historical relevance; he also reached out to the nearby University College at Cork.

Also, this sentence from the Irish Times article.

Mr Bohane said he was surprised nobody from the National Monuments Service had contacted him previously.

So one is tempted to tell the NMS where to stick their far-too-late intervention with this stone.


The problem is that BB article summarises a few other articles, none of which give any strong indication either way.

The Irish Times says:

At times you would laugh it off but I decided to make inquiries so I contacted some folklore experts and they told me it would be okay to re-stand the stone.

“One of them put me in contact with these druids in Kerry so they came down and performed a ceremony when we re-stood the stone.”

which doesn’t sound like he contacted them.


Mr Bohane said he was surprised nobody from the National Monuments Service had contacted him previously. The stone had been lying on its side in the field less than 50 metres from the roadway ever since his bull had knocked it over, he said.

which also doesn’t sound like he did but doesn’t rule it out.

The Irish Examiner says:

Respectful of the fact that standing stones are ancient relics, he contacted University College Cork to find out how best to put it back.

“I wanted to do it myself but I wanted someone else there to make sure I did it right,” he said.

“I contacted UCC and I contacted a lot of people.

which again doesn’t say he did and doesn’t rule it out either.

The Southern Star story just says the druids were contacted by a professor with no mention of the farmer’s efforts to contact anyone which isn’t surprising since their story is just about the druids putting the stone back up.

The Grove of Anu’s website now has a note that people should contact the NMS before doing any work on a stone.

As I say the articles don’t really help either way but I suggest that if he had contacted them, they’d ignored him and now started investigating him, he would be saying he’d contacted them in no uncertain terms.

He doesn’t, so I think the indication that he did contact them comes entirely from the BB story.

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An investigation seems warranted to me. Even tough every other field in ireland has these sorts of monuments (*) it’s still a historical artifact and not the plaything of some people playing druid. Modern druids are an invention of 19 century romantics (and most druid covens are a lot younger than that). It’s fine if you start your own religion (though imho we have quite enough of those, but whatever), but build your own temples and don’t go messing about with historical artifacts.

Urg. I used to volunteer for the municipal archaeological society in my hometown and druids and ‘witches’ way too often destructed historical sites.

*slightly exaggerated.


I certainly don’t want to start an argument but

does not ‘sound like’ anything relevant to whether or not he contacted the NMS. I might surmise that the folklore experts were contacted later one he’d decided to do something himself after the others he had contacted had ignored him. There’s no indication at all, either way, in the notes about his folklore expert contacts.

Why would he be surprised they had not contacted him if he had not tried to contact them previously?

Maybe he thought the NMS were telepathic?

I guess we’ll never know.


thank god for punctuation


The summary says it is a Neolithic monument erected in the Bronze Age, fixed by Druids, but modern Druids not traditional druids.

Neolithic means “new stone age”, where people had farming, stone tools, pottery and hierarchical social organizations. Stone age by definition, is an age of stone, not bronze. The stone cannot be Neolithic and Bronze Age at the same time. Most standing stones, dolmens, passage tombs and other monoliths were erected in the new stone age. The original druids, as in Celtic learned class, whether they identified themselves that way or not were not Stone Age OR Bronze Age. They were Iron Age. They had nothing to do with erecting the original stone monuments. They might have considered ancient passage tombs and stone monuments as sacred but they had little to no connection to the construction or purpose of the monuments. They were mostly erected many thousands of years before the Druids. Celtic Iron Age is after 600 BC. Caesar was writing about Druids in 44 BC. Newgrange in Ireland was 3,200 BC. So “Druids” are closer to us than they are to the Stone Age. The new Druids have nothing to do with any of the others (with apologies to the new druids).


I have never had any interest in any CSI show… would watch the shit out of that, tho.


I saw the holy stone of Clonrichert



Spinal Tap Monument


That is what I had intended to get across. Apparently not well enough… My bad.

My point was precisely that we can surmise but we have no indications either way other than the OP which doesn’t have any backing for its implication.

He might well think they’re telepathic or he might just be aggrieved at being told off by a bunch of busybodies.

Given that Mr. Bohane seems to have quite good contacts with his local paper we might yet learn more.

As long as you give them the appropriate two months notice in writing…

While I’m busily trying to earn my Pedant Pendant:

It could be. It might be a stone carved/shaped by people in the neolithic and then erected/reerected in the Bronnze Age.

As it happens, the newspaper articles all refer to it as Bronze Age.

And so far as I can see the only reason for getting the modern druids involved was a) to get a bit of publicity - if you’re cynical, or b) to do the best possible in these degenerate modern days to ensure that the Little People are propitiated appropriately.

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If I were a druid, I would trust in the bull’s decision to knock over the lith, even if that meant putting up with some bad luck.


I want so badly for this to be real.


To qualify, better proof-reading is a pre-requisite, (:wink: sorry - open goal - ‘bronnze’) but far more to the point, the stone is neither neolithic or bronze age. It’s a stone. A true pedant would insist on referring only to whether it was shaped or erected/placed in position in neolithic times or during the bronze age. How old the stone is, is an entirely different matter.

(Yes, I’m afraid to say I do have that Pendant.)


Tir Na Nog did you say?
Was the bull that knocked the stone over an Aberdeen Angus?


I will confess to screwing up with the use of “neolithic.” As you point out, many similar standing stones and dolmens were indeed erected in the neolithic, so I associated that term with any such stone-ish creation. The articles I read said it was “erected” in the Bronze Age, so I went with that, and just wrongly conflated the terms.

I don’t believe I said that it was built by druids (or “druids,” for that matter), rather that Modern Druids were brought in to “fix” it.

Thanks for the helpful clarity here.


Imagine them trying to solve a a Threefold Death: “So the victim was hanged, stabbed and drowned? Hmm … Have you brought his wife in for questioning?” “Yes, but it turns out she’s a magical artifact made out of flowers, and the DA’s not sure whether she meets the criteria for criminal responsibility.”

(Yes, yes, I’m mixing different legends from different cultures. Sue me.)