Depth in Simplicity at the Mottee Stone

Image Source: Wicklow Outdoors

When I first viewed The Mottee Stone on, I was very confused. First of all, it took me a second to actually find the stone and realize what I was supposed to be viewing. Second of all, once I found the stone, I was decidedly underwhelmed. I almost abandoned ship and moved on to the next site on the list, but instead decided to poke around some more to see what else I could find. As I looked at the stone’s surroundings, I began to notice how much of the landscape can be seen from that position and how breathtaking the view was. This realization led me to come to the conclusion that the beauty and significance lies less in the stone itself, but in the beauty it allows a person to witness. A quick google search for a bit more information on the stone confirmed my suspicions.

Here is a video that gives a little background and shows more of the view from the stone

The inverted beauty of the Mottee Stone made me reflect on the Famine Roads that Eavan Boland writes about in her poem “That the Science of Cartography is Limited.” Upon first glance, the Famine Roads do not look like much of anything, and an uninformed passerby probably would not think twice about those etchings in the hillside. But beneath the simplicity of the scene itself lies a depth of meaning. Similarly, at the Mottee Stone, one might look at it and brush it off as a mere rock. But, turning away from the stone and looking out upon the breathtaking landscape, it becomes strikingly clear why the Mottee Stone has become such a prominent landmark in Ireland.


  1. I definitely thought the same thing when I saw the Mottee Stone VR picture – that the landscape was beautiful but the rock was underwhelming. I love your point that “the beauty and significance lies less in the stone itself, but in the beauty it allows a person to witness.” Ironic that even though the stone is the landmark, its the surrounds that is the actual landmark here, right?

  2. I agree with your assertion that there is depth in simplicity, especially in the case of Ireland, Irish history, and the landscapes. Your angle of simplicity reminded me of the neolithic remains at Newgrange. It is interesting that the farmer that owned the land wasn’t even aware that the ancient remains existed until he removed some of the stones on the mound. Although the area simply looked like a “scrub-covered mound,” under it was one of the oldest occurrences of Irish organized culture. It really proves that some things take a second, or deeper look, in order to see the more significant importance.

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