Plourin is a liner village on the western most coast of France. It is picture postcard pretty and has a history that spans from the Bronze Age evidenced by the menhirs of Kergadiou, one of which is the second tallest megalith anywhere, to the 21 st century windmills which sit on the headland and much in between. The menhirs of Kergadiou are two of the giant sentinels that guard the coast, though only one stands tall, while the other appears to have toppled over at an angle, as if both had a fight and one was slain.
In fact they are known locally as David and Goliath, so that rings true. They are on private farmland and as such difficult to encounter up close and personal, not that one needs to, they are visible for miles. I got as close as the field boundary and literally stood in awe. The larger of the two menhirs is in fact the ‘fallen’ one. I describe it thus advisedly as it is entirely possible that this menhir was never fully erected into it’s intended position at all, and was abandoned for some inexplicable reason and this might account for it’s fallen appearance.
Though one wonders why the larger of the two was not erected first. Made from the same local pink granite as found in the other menhirs of the region. In fact, they are eerily similar, same stone, same type finish, same dimensions, so much so that they can be seen as contemporary to each other. This granite was easy to bush-hammer, durable against erosion, and is without defect. They are estimated to weigh between 40 and 60mtons each. The lying menhir forms an angle of 18° from the ground. Its upper surface is bush-hammered, and is 10 m long.
The lower face closest to the ground however, is as rough as when it was detached from the original rock. Some archaeologists suggest that the lying menhir was abandoned during bush- hammering and was never erected. The still standing menhir is 8.75 m above ground. It is completely bush hammered. There is a fascinating legend surrounding this alignment. Apparently, it was stolen from Ireland by a giantess, hidden in her apron and transplanted in its current location.
The witch she stole it from was furious and screamed, “Ah, your flight won’t benefit you! This rock, I’ll break it, I’ll spray it!” In her rage she ripped another stone from the bedrock and hurled it in the direction of Kergadiou. Her aim wasn’t at all bad, but it missed it’s target and now spikes out of the ground at an angle. Where do I even begin with the similarities of this tale and that of the Cailleach of Ireland?
Linguistically and ethnically, Bretons have more in common with the Irish than with the French. Many megaliths have associations with a powerful older woman known as the Cailleach, (a hag, witch, or crone) who, in folklore, is always the builder and creator. The Cailleach is portrayed in Gaelic folklore as wading through the waters up and down the length of the country, dropping large boulders from her creel or apron to make the islands, shape mountains etc. Granite is composed mainly of quartz and feldspar, and other minerals which give its red, pink hue and it is found
naturally in Ireland. So perhaps there is something in that ancient legend after all.
GPS : 48°29’39 N 4°43’22 W