The Piper’s Stone – Ireland’s Ancient East
We’re here in Athgreany, Hollywood, 2.5 kilometers south of Hollywood, in county Wicklow, on the N81. This very ancient site consists of a ring of stones knows as the Piper’s Stones. Click here for location and access info
This is a very ancient site of pagan worship. There’s an out-layer stone, which is referred to as the Piper, while the stones forming the circle are referred as the dancers. Local folklore says that the dancers were defying the Sabbath Day and they were turned into stones. People around here are superstitious about a place like the Piper’s Stones; for example, it would be considered highly unlucky to interfere with the whitethorn tree here (Sceach Gheal as it’s called in Irish) given its location. There was a tradition where people used to leave petitions or offerings here, very much in the same tradition as people leaving offerings or money coins in holy wells. This shows the continuity between Ireland’s ancient pagan past and our Christian past which replaced it.
As old as the Egyptian Pyramids:
The stones where laid probably 1,000 up to 2,000 years before Christ, which makes it 3,000 to 3,500 years old. This circle of stones is very much in the tradition to Newgrange and Stonehenge.
The Piper’s Stone has markings on it, north, south, east, and west. During the Autumn Equinox, the sun would rise over there and shine directly across the line on the stone. As the sun moves around the circle, it marks the different months, the different calendar of the year.
Athgreany is an Anglicization of Achadh Gréine, which in Irish means the Field of the Sun. This shows the ancient purpose of a stone calendar where people would judge the seasons of the year and celebrate certain rituals. This ancient circle is very much at the center of the pre-Christian pagan world. People here still have huge respect for this place and its association with the past.”
John Glennon (also known under his Irish name Seán Mag Leannáin) is a retired Civil Servant. He was a Principal Officer in the Department of Social Protection for 15 years up until his retirement in 2010. John has lived in Hollywood all his life and has had a lifelong interest in the local history of his area. He has published various articles about Hollywood in the Journal of the West Wicklow Historical Society. He is also editor of the Hollywood Fair book which is published to coincide with the annual Hollywood Fair each August. John is at present working on a history of Hollywood since the eighteenth century, and hopes to publish his book in 2016. John can be contacted at his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.