I’d heard about this Wart Stone when I was conducting a similar project in Castlebridge some time ago. Declan Flanagan told me about it as I’d found an almost identical Wart Stone in the Old Graveyard in Screen. 
 
This Wart Stone lies on the side of the road and borders the town land of Riesk. In the same manner as many wart stones, the belief is that the rainwater which gathers in the stone has curing properties and was always used for the curing of warts. In fact one of the young people on our excursion to the stone had a wart and ‘for the crack’ dipped her finger in the water. Low and behold, in the weeks to follow, the wart disappeared. 
 
Although some refer to this as a bullaun stone it is generally believed not to be the case and instead the base for a high cross. Although bullaun stones are relatively plentiful in North Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow, many are not as well formed as this and Edward Culleton in “On Our Own Ground” too suggests that this may be a base for a cross. Nevertheless, the belief is that what was once a holy object is now the source of a healing power. You will often find a headstone or a flat with a slight dip where water gathers and people too believe this water to have healing powers.
 
What is similar to this case and the Castlebridge case is the story that once it belonged to a church that many believe once stood close by. Although not on any OSI maps and not associated with Killila, many still call the field behind the Wart Stone the Church Field. So there could have been a small church here, however there is no trace of it on the OSI maps, possibly it could have been a clay walled church and there were no visible ruins left when the maps were produced.
 
There still exists a story locally about the font of the church that once stood there. Although the story exists, the font doesn’t. Both Declan Flanagan and Eugene Murphy told me this story, almost identical in description, however what is interesting about this story is that it too is almost identical to another account which exists in Castlebridge.

In St. Brigid’s Graveyard in Ardtramon in Castlebridge a local land owner decided to take the font from the site and use it in their farmyard. The story goes that it took six fine horses to drag the font up to the yard where it was used for water for livestock. A holy woman warned the owners that they would have no luck removing it from its original site and to use it for animals to drink from. Low and behold, many animals started to get sick and die, so the owners decided to take it back to where they got it. However, this time it was pulled by just two asses: ‘it took six horses to pull it up to the house, and two asses to bring it back down’.  The asses being the owners of the land!
 
Almost identical is the story from here. Declan and Eugene recall that a local farmer too took the font from this site and used it to feed pigs. Instead of the pigs getting fatter with all the food the farmer kept putting in the font, the pigs grew smaller and sicker. The story goes that a hand was seen coming out from under the font and taking the food. So, the farmer stopped what he was doing and stopped using the font for this purpose. Needless to point out, the moral of the story was never to interfere with something holy and especially not to disrespect such a holy object. 
 
Unfortunately, unlike the Castlebridge version of this story where the font was brought back to the graveyard/church grounds and remains to this day, this particular font has since gone missing. Maybe someone knows where it is? 

The Wart Stone

Ballynellard, Blackwater, Co. Wexford

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