[The Stone of Denial, Bruree]

Image of pictorial inscription showing cow suckling a calf.
As acknowledged by Chatterton, this illustration, and most of the accompanying text, is taken from Thomas Crofton Croker, Landscape Illustrations of Moore's Irish Melodies: With Comments for the Curious, Part 1 (London: J. Power, 1835).

Image Details

Genre Scientific or Technical illustration
Technique Woodcuts
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites
Geographical Location
  • Bruree - Village
  • Limerick - County
  • Munster - Province
Keywords(s) Antiquities, Archaeological sites, Livestock, Sculpture
Colour Monochrome
Published / created 1839

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Rambles in the South of Ireland
Contributor(s)
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy Vol. 2, p. 234
Source copy James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland Galway Special Collections: 914.190481 CHA
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Related text from travel account

Monday.—This morning we took a long ramble after breakfast, along the banks of the Maig, on which the sun shone brilliantly, making every winding distinct in the distance. There is a curious circumstance related in the Landscape Illustrations of Moore's Irish Melodies, connected with this pretty river.
At Bruree, in the county of Limerick, a place memorable as the scene of the last assembly or session of Irish bards in 1746, there is a stone nearly in the centre of the River Maig, on which is very rudely sculptured a cow with a calf sucking, the work evidently of a very remote age, and here accurately copied.
[Image: The Stone of Denial, Bruree]
It is called in Irish, "the stone of denial" (cloch eura), and is traditionally said to be a [p. 235] memorial of a circumstance in the life of St. Senanus, that holy man who lived on Scattery Island, and whose ungallant conduct toward the beautiful St. Canera, I mentioned when we passed near it. The occurrence to which this rude sculpture relates, is in the Acta Sanctorum, from which Moore has quoted in a note to the melody. The old latin manuscript tells us of St. Senanus

Who being bound by holy vows,
Was sent to tend the abbot’s cows:
When so it chanced one day, while praying,
Most fervently his bead-roll saying
He saw the calves by stealth approaching.
And on their mother’s teats fall poaching.
So, seeing that the rogues would bilk
The honest friars of their milk,
Away his rosary he flung,
To part the cattle from their young;
And in the ground he fixed his staff,
To keep each mother from her calf:
Thus while Senanus prayed to heaven,
Nor cow nor calf, from morn to even,
Saw he attempt approximation,
Each by the staff kept in their station." [Vol. 2, pp. 234-235]
The Stone of Denial, Bruree