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Coronation stone at Clonalis House

Suck Valley Way Coronation stone at Clonalis House

Clonalis House, Castlerea , Co Roscommon


Clonalis House


The Coronation Stone or Inauguration Stone of the O’Connors can still be seen at Clonalis to this day.

In Gaelic tradition, Irish and indeed Scottish, when a king was inaugurated he symbolically married the soil over which he was to rule and a sacred stone was used for this purpose. The stone acted as the Kings bride and the ceremony was known as “Banais Ri” (” the Kings marriage”). The stone at Clonalis was probably used to inaugurate up to 30 O’Conor Kings. The ceremony took place at Carnfree near Tulsk in Roscommon, about 12 miles from Clonalis on a hill overlooking the 5 counties which formed the Kingdom of Connacht.

Coronation Stone of O'Conors of ConnaughtThe ceremony was highly ritual and was performed in front of the Bishops, Abbots and sub-kings of Connacht. Part of the ceremony required the King to put his foot in the footstep which is carved in the top of the stone, probably as an act of consummation. The Coronation Stone was only one of a number of such stones that existed in the past, however the only other such stone known to me to be still in existence is the Stone of Scone now in Edinburgh Castle in Scotland and formerly under the throne in Westminster Abbey.

The Coronation Stone is resonant of a time when the O’Conors were Kings, not only of their province Connacht, but for a time, of Ireland. Without doubt the greatest O’Conor King was Turlough Mor O’Conor, High King of Ireland in the 12th century AD and who left us many reminders of his reign.