Guide to the Irish Megaliths Stone Circles - January 2023

Written by Mounmental Ireland

Irish stone circle

This is a good article on the Megaliths Stone Circles by Monumental Ireland.

There are over 250 stone circles scattered across Ireland, often located in spectacularly beautiful locations. There are indications that stone circles have their origin in the Neolithic (c. 4000-2400 BC) though they are primarily a Bronze Age ritual monument (c. 2400-500 BC). Most Irish circles are believed to have been constructed between 3000 and 500 BC.

Occasionally bodies have been found during excavations, though not often enough to suggest that they were burial grounds. Nor do excavations tend to reveal artefacts, such as pottery or jewellery, so they are unlikely to have been places of daily use. Most experts agree that most of the stone circles had ritual functions based on the solar calendar.

Nearly all of the stone circles in Ireland are found in the mountainous regions which lie near the coastal edges of the country rather than the flatter midland areas. Unlike the larger circles found in the UK and Brittany, Irish stone circles tend to compliment the spectacular scenery that surrounds them, unlike the larger circles found in the UK and Brittany, which dominate the surrounding landscape.

There are 2 main groups of these monuments: The Ulster Series which are thought to be the earliest examples and are defined by small stones rarely exceeding 0.5m in height, which often occur in groups and are associated with long stone rows.

The Cork/Kerry Series is characterised by an uneven number (5-19) of taller stones which decrease in height from the tallest entrance stones to the ‘axial’ stone opposite which is sometimes flat rather than standing. These circles are rarely found in groups, though are associated with several other monu­ment types, such as Standing Stones, Stone Rows, Pairs and Radial Cairns, which are often found in close proximity to the circles.

As many of Ireland’s stone circles are on private land, they can sometimes be hard to find and get to. However, even though they are often quite small, they are worth seeking out, if even just for the spectacularly beautiful locations they are situated in.

Where a monument is on private land, PLEASE SEEK PERMISSION from the landowner before accessing it. Most landowners are happy to allow access to the monuments and are often the best people to direct you via the easiest and safest route.

For more Irish Stories, monuments of Ireland and Maria's Sacred Tours of Ireland go to www.MariasTours.com or follow us on our Sacred Ireland Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IrelandSacredTours/

Article author and Sourcemonumentalireland.ie/





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