The steeple and church of St. Finbar were built, or rather rebuilt in the course of the years 175060, from the proceeds of a tax of one shilling per ton on all coals imported into Cork from England. It is singular that this tax (which continues to the present day, and is appopriated to that sort of establishment which in modern political economy can find but little countenance,foundling hospital) was justified in the Irish House of Commons as a protection to native industry in promoting the cutting of turf in the peat bogs!M.
I have made many inquiries after the stone bearing the sainted imprint of St. Finbar's foot, but without success for nearly the last thirty years, until this summer  when I was told by an old crone, who I found praying beside a grave in the churchyard of the Cathedral that such a stone had been there beyond all doubt in the ould times, before Orange William came, and that then it changed into the mark of the devil's hoof.
But the mark of the foot or hoof, is in the stone? said I, eager for information.
Oh without any kind of doubt in life, your honour; and why wouldn't it be there? sure you can see it with your own two sweet looking eyes, and seeing they say is believing, if ye'll go and look at the third grave-stone there, fornenting ye.
I did so, but saw nothing more than a plain slab-stone elevated upon some brick-work, with a short inscription importing that some one or other, whose name I do not now remember,
p.103was buried beneath about sixty ox seventy years before; but I perceived no trace of hoof or foot.
Harkee, old woman, I cried, where is this hoof?
And sure yourself is stan'ing on it, she replied; the Virgin herself preserve us from all harm this blessed day, if tisn't come may be to set the other foot there, beside it ye are, for company!
I jumped down from the grave-stone, and certainly saw a singular fossil remain in the piece of limestone on which I had been standing, not unlike the mark of a cloven foot.
Stones with hollows in them, said to be impressed by the feet and knees of saints, giants, and other famous personages in Ireland, are by no means of rare occurrence, and are treated by the superstitious peasantry with extraordinary respect. There is a representation of one of these capsular stones (I think called St. Columb's) in the account of Londonderry printed to accompany the Ordnance Survey. In the county of Tipperary, about a mile from Cahir on the Ardfinnan road, a similar stone with two circular hollows in it, called Clough a Padrigh (Patrick's stone) is an object of much veneration; and at the distance of a mile from Rahil towards Cahir, a pentacapsular stone occurs, which is termed Clough a vir a vaugher (the stone of the mother of the man), and the marks in which are said to have been produced by the knees, breasts, and head of the Virgin. At Caher-barrule in the wild district of Muskerry in the county of Cork, (a district singularly rich in pillar stones inscribed with Ogham characters,) there is a stone with two hollows in it, at the foot of an upright one, on which is rudely sculptured a cross surrounded by a circle. In the county of Kerry also, the stone with two circular hollows in it, known as Clough na Cuddy (Cuthbert's stone) is pointed
p.104out to the notice of all visitors of Killarney, in the demesne of Lord Kenmare, with the history of a pious friar's miraculous nap, by whose knees, while at prayer, the indentures were produced. And in the same region of enchantment may be found what are said to be the foot-marks impressed upon the solid rock, in a spot distinguished as Coleman's leap.
In the classical county of Kerry, indeed, these wonderful remains appear to be very abundant. Dr. Smith tells us of a rock, situated about five miles from the head of the river Kenmare, near a small brook amidst the mountains. On this rock are the impressions of several human feet, some naked, and others with brogues on, and these are of all sizes, from infancy to manhood. The country people imagine the work to be entirely supernatural, and to have been performed by fairies, whose existence the common people of these parts, as well as of most rude countries, firmly believe; but as there is nothing more common than for several kinds of clay to become petrified in time; if it be allowed that this rock might have been once in a soft state the wonder will entirely cease. Smith adds: In the same manner may be accounted for, such a print of a human foot given us by D. Behrens in his natural history of Hartz Forest, near the river Selke, and that of a horse shoe in a solid rock near the village of Thal, both which he takes to be a lusus naturæ; although, says he, the inhabitants tell a strange story about the former of a shepherd and a country wench, pretending this footstep was made by a leap the young woman took, to escape from the hands of her troublesome gallant.
From the popular veneration exhibited towards capsular stones in Ireland, I cannot help fancying that such objects must have had, at some remote period, a religious appropriation.
p.105Perhaps they were the rude fonts at which, in the early ages of Christianity, the ceremony of baptism was performed; or like those circles of ponderous stones, and mysteriously balanced rocks, we see in them relics of the gloomy pagan faith which the cheering light of the Gospel has dispelled; for pagan idolatry may still be traced in many Irish superstitions.C.