My husband and I recently came back from our first trip to Ireland, and we’re wondering… Why do Irish Burial Grounds have a ‘V’ slot near the entrance way? It was at practically every one that we went into.
— Tink Vasickanin via email
Those mysterious entrances have captured the curiosity of many visitors to Ireland. Tink admits to letting her imagination run a bit wild with thoughts of the shape preventing evil spirits from entering.
Truth is, the devil wasn’t the cloven hoofed creature the builders were trying to keep out. The slotted shape makes it easy for people to pass through or over but not livestock such as cows and sheep.
These entrances, called stiles (think turnstile), are generally recent additions and appear in several forms throughout Ireland.
We’ve collected several examples of stiles… there are a lot more varieties than shown here.