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spacer Coronation Stone head pic

The Coronation Stone, or "Coisleach Aonghuis" of the Clan Magennis stands at the entrance to a grassy trackway known as the "Bridle Loanen" on a ridge overlooking the town of Warrenpoint, in County Down. Nowadays it has rather less auspicious surroundings than in the past, situated as it is within a modern housing estate, but nonetheless, to look on this ancient object is to be reminded of a potent and mystical time in the history of the clan. The stone is reputed to have been brought to Ireland from the East by the distant ancestors of the Magennises, and is said to have had all the magic that the famous "Lia Fáil", or Stone of Destiny, at Tara possessed.

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When a true Magennis was crowned on it, it is said to have emitted a low, pleasant, humming sound, but if a usurper dared put his foot in its sacred footmark, he was dashed to death on the ground by the power within the Stone. There is an old prophecy connected with the Stone which holds that "wherever the Coisleach Aonghuis stood, a chief of the clan should there always reign supreme." However, with the coming of Christianity to Ireland the Coronation Stone appears to have lost its ancient powers, as did all of the other artefacts of the old religion, including the "Lia Fáil", or Stone of Destiny, brought to the Hill of Tara thousands of years before by the Tuatha Dé Danaan, the magical and semi-divine colonists of Ireland who preceded the Milesians, whose descendants still represent a large percentage of the modern-day population.

The Coronation Stone of the Magennises, Warrenpoint, County Down.

The ancient "Coisleach Aonghuis", of the Magennises.

"This is the reputed site of the Coronation Stone of the Clann Magennis of South Iveagh.
Here their chieftains were inaugurated for many centuries until the plantation of Ulster."

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Close by the Coronation Stone there formerly stood an ancient stone chair called the "Brehon's Chair of Justice". It was formed of great stone slabs, on which were carved figures representing some famous judgements given by the Brehons or judges of former times. Unfortunately the slabs were broken up and removed for building purposes as recently as the end of the 19th century. This chair was said to be the seat of the chief Brehon who held there, on Dromore Hill, an annual court of law. This part of Iveagh was divided into districts called "carrows" or quarters, and each one sent a representative to the convention to confer on the local laws and government of the clan, making such alterations to the laws as it was felt were needed. This "Rath of Justice" on which they met was built up with earth from each quarter of the Magennis territory, so that every law-maker stood on his own ground, and each new measure was read aloud to the whole assembled clan before it was passed as law.

Celtic Warriors
Out from the dust of centuries we see their long spears gleam,
And flash with glorious radiance, the radiance of a dream.
One moment that bright pageant lasts, it fades and dies away,
As fades e'er twilight's shadowy hour, the sun's departing ray.
For tanist, brehon, bard and kern, and abbots calm, severe,
Lie shrouded in the night that closed around his brief career.
All lonely now the chieftain's hill, swept by the winds -- "ochone",
Where all that's left of that proud past is the Coronation Stone.

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As a proud member of the clan to whom this ancient monolith was of such great importance, I am grateful on behalf of myself, those many Magennises who preceded me, and those yet to follow, to Councillor MacCartan, of Newry and Mourne District Council, whom I believe was responsible for the preservation and protection of the Magennis Coronation Stone in recent years. If you look at this map of Ireland in 1300 A.D. , you'll see that the Magennises and the MacCartans were close neighbours, so perhaps it is fitting, as a descendant of the clan which lived side-by-side with my own through the many turbulent centuries of our country's history, that it was he who was involved in the survival and conservation of our ancient "Coisleach Aonghuis"

"Go raibh maith agat, a chara, agus beannacht Dé leat".

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On the foot-marked rock he stood,
High towering o'er the clan.
A kingly chief of old Iveagh,
In truth, a God-sent man.
Ten thousand voices thundered out
"Magennis" o'er and o'er,
Until the mountains answered back
"Magennis" from the shore.
The cry swelled round the land-locked bay
Like trumpet-notes of fame,
All nature joined the chorus of
The well-loved chieftain's name.
The light of that great vision bright
With joy filled all his veins.
Making him wish to mark his span
The happiest of reigns.
Prince of Donegal, by Jim Fitzpatrick.

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The Celtic art images in these web pages are by Jim Fitzpatrick,
one of the most talented and respected Irish artists ever to wield a paintbrush.
Please do not use these graphics without contacting him regarding permission to do so.
You can see more of Jim's amazing work here.

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