The Kissing Stone or Leaba na Fian at Carrowmore in County Sligo, copy of an illustration by Gabriel Beranger.
The Kissing Stone or Leaba na Fian at Carrowmore in County Sligo, copy of an illustration painted by Gabriel Beranger June 23rd, 1779.

The Kissing Stone

The Kissing Stone is the most complete monument remaining at Carrowmore, which was also known as Leaba na Fian during Victorian times.

An impressively graceful capstone balances upon the points of three upright chamber stones, and covers a spacious chamber which opens to the east, aligned, according to Frank Prendergast, towards the Equinox sunrise as it appears over Carns Hill to the east.

The monument was excavated by Göran Buranhult and his Swedish team.

The floor of the chamber was flagged and a post-hole was discovered under the chamber. There are a few stones remaining of a short passage. The dolmen is quite tall, and has plenty of room within the chamber, unlike, for example the Phantom Stones, which has a tiny chamber.

Early photograph of Carrowmore 7 by R. Welch.
Carrowmore circle number7 by Robert Welch, 1896.

A complete circle of thirth-two boulders measuring thirteen meters in diameter surrounds the monument. There is a smaller inner ring which measures 8.5 meters in diameter. The circle has a raised earthen platform or tertre within the boulder ring, a common feature of the Carrowmore monuments.

The monument is built on a slope, and is close to the edge of the Carrowmore plateau: there is a sudden drop behind the dolmen to the east, where the chimneys of a house are about level with the monument.

Watercolor of Carrowmore 7 by George Elcock.
Watercolor of the Kissing Stone by Charles Elcock dated 29 August 1882.

Monuments 7 and 13 have the largest remaining capstones at Carrowmore, and both have passageways which are oriented away from the centre of the complex. It has been speculated that these two monuments may mark the formal entrance into the Carrowmore complex.

From this point, a trail of monuments leads off to the north - following the line of the modern road - by the spaced boulder circles 9, 9A and 10, and some Bronze age barrows. Recent work outside Sligo town on the Sligo bypass uncovered the remains of a large neolithic causewayed enclosure, which dates from about 4,000 bc, and it is highly likely that there was a route from it to Carrowmore.

Carrowmore 7, drawn from an original sketch by Petrie, 1837.
Carrowmore 7, drawn from an original sketch by Petrie, 1837.

Site 7 was excavated in 1978 by Dr. Burenhult's team. The monument had been thoroughly cleared out by the time Wood-Martin excavated it. However, Burenhult found cremated bones in various deposits, which amount to about 1kg in weight.

Fragments of red deer antler pins, a piece of chert, a fine arrow-head and a limestone marble were also found. About 200 unopened seashells were found in a pit just outside the circle, which may be some kind of offering—it seems, from genetic results from Carrowkeel, that the Carrowmore people did not eat shellfish.

Carrowmore 7 looking west to Dolmen 4.
Carrowmore 7 looking west to Dolmen 4.

A small porcelin statuette of Venus was found, which may have been placed there by one of the early excavators, or visitors to the circles. A post hole was discovered under the chamber floor, which may indicate some kind of early activity, some kind of totem or surveying pole, or a marker used to lay out the circle.

Visitors will find that this is one of the most photographic monuments at Carrowmore, and is also the best place to take a picture of Knocknarea and Queen Maeve's cairn, with the circle in the foreground. Unfortunately there is no public access to this monument since August 2017.

Carrowmore  7, the most complete dolmen and circle at Carrowmore.
The Kissing Stone is the most complete passage grave remaining in the Carrowmore megalithic complex. This monument has an intact stone circle and perfect dolmen. The view is looking west to the hill of Knocknarea.