Also known as grian cloche, sun stones, they are white quartz, clear crystal and quartzite stones which
most famously appear on the monuments of the Boyne Valley.
Shining stones, used in the modern facade of Newgrange
& at the entrance to Knowth nearby, were discovered during excavations.
to imagine how impressive the quartz covered mound would have originally been when it glowed
in sunlight and beneath a full moon.
Quartz stones were erected in many places on the island and finds of shining stones occur at almost all of the ancient, sacred sites excavated here.
Or maybe the stone was believed to house the spirits of the departed awaiting rebirth?
white quartz was called cloche uaisle, gentle or noble stone and associated with fairies, their
mounds and the dead.
It was understood that misusing these stones in this way would awaken the ire of the Good People
who would vent their anger upon the cursed one.
White stones however could be used to heal as well as harm.
Quartz crystal amulet encased in silver,
15th century from The National Museum of Ireland.
Amulets were dipped in specially collected water and used in healing rituals.
of boiling water and sage.
The Shrine of Miosach.
Later sacred quartz was used in the decoration of Christian shrines
to protect relics and some were thought to have the power to heal.
with stones used on saints' beds, graves and at holy wells.
Skour Well. Co. Cork with Christian icons, a Rag Tree and shining stones.
On May eve, Bealtaine, pilgrims would make rounds at the well and leave a white stone.
White quartz is revered by many communities often marking rites of passage.
This is "The Tinkers' Heart", a pattern of quartz stones laid at an Argyll crossroads in Scotland
during the 1700's. Since then it has been used by generations of Travellers as a sacred place
to bless their children and hold weddings.
Although we will never know the meaning of quartz to our ancestors it appears to be connected with sacred ground, ritual fires, the Otherworld and possibly the rebirth of the spirit.
We find white quartz chippings on modern graves, cloche gaela left at holy places in the landscape,
Offerings left at Drombeg Stone Circle Co. Cork, known locally as the Druid’s Altar.