The Mottee Stone is a huge granite boulder, weighing about 150 tons. Owing to its prominent location, the stone has been a well-known landmark in the county for many years, and has attracted visitors to enjoy the scenic views. It is said that the five counties surrounding Wicklow can be viewed from the rock on a clear day, while in very good weather the mountains of Wales can be spotted across the Irish Sea.
The word ‘Mottee’ is possibly a deviation of the French word ‘moitie’, meaning halved or split. This name may be pointing out the sharp almost sliced features of the boulder.
Another theory as to why this stone is called ‘Mottie’ also relates its possible French derivative ‘moitie’. It is said that dispatch riders travelling from the Norse City of Dublin to Wexford would spot the stone on top of this hill and say ‘Moitie!’, French for halfway, the stone marked the halfway point on the route between Dublin and Wexford.
Folklore of the area says that the Mottee Stone was the hurling ball of the great Fionn Mac Cumhaill who hit it from the top of Lugnaquilla Mountain to top of this hill.
Another legend of the area states that every year on May Day the stone rolls down the hill to drink at the Meeting of the Waters!
The true origins of this granite stone can be traced back to the Ice Age. The stone is a glacial erratic which was plucked from its home granite bedrock by a glacier over 10,000 years ago, and taken to this predominately slate area of Co. Wicklow and dropped at its present position. It is about 13km from the nearest likely granite source in Glenmalure.
The boulder is situated at a height of this hill of about 240m. Iron rungs have been embedded into the stone to act as a ladder, which allows you to climb the 2.4 metres to the top. Apparently a rich Landlord got some Miners of Avoca to put them there so his wife-to-be could climb up them and have a look at the size of his estate from the top of the stone.
Visible from the stone is Castle Howard, a regency Gothic style house built around 1812 by Robert Howard, brother of the then Earl of Wicklow.