"Binny's Cairn", a Bronze Age site known locally as "the giant's grave"

March 9th, 2014, 2pm

I have lived in Crosshaven all my life looking across at Currabinny Woods, a forested hillock that stoops to meet Cork Harbour on three sides. Many weekends of my childhood were spent ambling around the gnarled paths and clearings hunting for trolls with my best friend, climbing trees, and picnicking by the gazebo.

For us the woods were alive with imagination fueled by local legends, and our footprints felt like mere scuffs on the large mound that we believed to be the grave of a giant. At the highest point of Currabinny rests a Bronze Age Cairn dated to c.2000-4000BC. As children we simply knew it as “the giant’s grave” where the much-fabled over-sized inhabitant of these woods finally found some peace.

There are several stories told in the area about this legendary giant. I was told a story of a giant named Binny who made the woods his home. A grumpy hermit, he kept within his blanket of trees to shelter him from outside interference. One night a loud party in Crosshaven, only separated from Currabinny by the narrow Owenabue River, disturbed Binny from his slumber. In a fit of rage he hurled a boulder across the Owenabue River and it landed in the slob where the village met the water’s edge.

The Giant’s Stone, Crosshaven. Image by Joan Christina Frankham1

This boulder is now on display in the village square after it was recently reclaimed during a redevelopment project. Surrounding it is an engraving that states:

”This boulder, which according to local tradition, was flung by a giant from the hills of Currabinny, to land on the green in Crosshaven.”

In reality this “giant’s stone” dates back to the ice age about 20,000 years ago. However, the legends behind it add a layer of magic to the local history and geography. For this reason the stone remains as part of the imaginative landscape of the village instead of being carted off as a piece of debris during the recent redevelopment project.

David Wade and Craig said thanks.

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Donna Maria Alexander

Doctoral candidate, teacher, blogger

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