For it was a favourite English tactic to help destroy all trace of the ancient Gaelic clan system by removing or destroying the symbol upon which the great clan leader was initiated. By way of illustration, at the end of this article we quote from Wikipedia’s entry for the Scottish equivalent – the Stone of Scone.
Here we quote from W. Maugham Crowe’s delightful book of 1968, The Ring of Mourne.
‘Among the gutters we came across the ancient Magennis Coronation Stone, neglected and nearly overgrown.
It bore two markings: one that could have been a hole for a staff, and one like the mark of a human foot.
The story is that this was the stone on which the head of the MacGuinness clan received his initiation. It was called ‘Cusleac Aonguis’ or the Footstone of Aongus – from Aongus to MacAongus to MacGuinness of Magennis is an easy transition.
According to tradition the young potential chieftain dressed in tight-fitting clothes of many colours, and with a jacket of gilded leather and embroidered silk held by a gold brooch, would ‘step on the Stone of Fate’: .. flinging off his right sandal and placing his foot in the indentation on the Stone, he would be given ‘the white Wand of Power’, which he would place in the socket of the Stone. Finally a gold sandal would be put on his foot and he would be proclaimed ‘The MacGuinness’, with a great fanfare of trumpets.
And all that history in an auld lump of overgrown stone up a guttery lane.’