Ancient Irish Wedding TraditionsThis week, I've been making custom wedding rings and it got me thinking about old Irish wedding traditions. I remember hearing about holed standing stones which were known to be the setting of many Irish engagements and wedding oaths. The idea was that a couple would join hands through the hole to declare either their engagement or their marriage vows. I don't know why this stuck in my head, maybe it's the joined hands of the Claddagh Ring that reminded me of this beautiful tradition.
I thought it would be a good idea to research this practice and see if any of these stones still exist. Who knows maybe we could revive this ancient Irish tradition?! I really like the idea of a couple on a hill somewhere joining hands between an ancient standing stone :)
I discovered that there are a few remaining holed stones in Ireland. There is one in Co. Antrim and in Co. Louth and lucky for me, there's one in my native County Cork! This is the Ballyroon standing stone which is situated in West Cork on the Sheep's Head road. This imposing stone is 2.25 metres in height. Unfortunately, it is not standing and is only propped up on a smaller stone. I can't help but think of how many couples exchanged vows at this exact location over the years. The most striking feature is the beautifully carved round hole which runs through the stone. According to a local historian
The hole in the stone is narrow on one side and wide on the other. The man had a bigger hand and he put his hand through the wide side and the woman put her hand through the narrow side. They made their promises when they put their hands through the stone
Apparently, a hand slips through perfectly!