Originally owned by the Butler family of Granvilla, near Cahir, Co. Tipperary, this small amulet was traditionally used to protect cattle from disease. It consists of a crystal ball weighing c. 200g that is mounted in a decorative bronze frame. There were two ways the ‘cure’ could be invoked. Sometimes the stone was placed in the livestock’s drinking water, while in other instances it was tied around the animal’s neck via a suspension loop.
During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries such folk remedies appear to have been quite common in Ireland and similar amulets are recorded from a number of locations. For example, the Imokilly and Ballyvourney stones, both from Co. Cork, were similarly immersed in drinking water to effect the ‘cure’.
Armitage, H. (ed.) 2002 The Hunt Museum Essential Guide, Scala Publishers, London, p. 156
Atkinson, G. M. 1875 ‘On a stone known as the ‘Imokilly Amulet’ (Cloch Omra Ua Maccaille)’ in The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland Fourth Series, Vol. 3, No. 23 (Jul., 1875), pp. 440-444
Image after Armitage, H. (ed) 2002 The Hunt Museum Essential Guide, Scala Publishers, London, p. 156
1 thought on “The Archer-Butler luck stone”
It’s interesting that the belief in the healing powers of crystals was active even then. There is a holy well in St.Mullins, Co. Carlow which is filled with white crystal rocks. Every year at the ‘pattern’ (probably the wrong spelling but that is how I have always said it!) people go to the holy well to fill up their bottles and drink the healing waters. You know the story. But when I visited after many years living in the UK I realized why the water was considered restorative. The crystals are charged in the sunlight all day long. Our ancestors have believed in the healing power of quartz for hundreds of years. I don’t necessarily believe in the New Age belief in crystals but I know that science also recognizes the energy potential of quartz. Great blog.