We stopped here for dinner. We were actually heading for Athgreany at the time and the kids moaned about the detour. However when we arrived at this strange mounded circle all our opinions changed. The view is simply spectacular. Standing in front of the main stones you look out at the intersection of two hills on the horizon. The mountains rise up at your back and protect you. The circle has been disturbed badly and was once surrounded by a second mound, sadly little of this remains. Several stones lie in the center and many lie scattered to one side on the perimeter. There appears to be a small cairn in front of the main upright stones, but this is covered in grass now so it is hard to tell.
These stones contain many markings (mainly linear 'oblong cup marks') and several are shaped including one made round. One great stone had cup marks that form a bridge. The ambience here is enormous: you get very little road noise and the air has that quiet haunting quality that prevails in so many circles - bird song and insect noise on the outside, but once you are inside ... silence.
Oh yeah, my daughter found a frog here.
Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image
It would appear that someone has been tidying up around here which was great to see. The weather also seems to have cleaned up some of the stones, too, especially the huge quartz boulders that form the entrance.
It was possible to see that many of the other stones are quartz too, which means that this place would have looked even more impressive when still used and maintained.
As we were here the landowner came along and spoke to me at length. Apparently, a bunch of Druids meet here every year to do a ceremony as the sun rises through the entrance, which faces due east, over a beautiful cleft in the mountains in the distance.
Melissa felt quite oppressed here and I must admit that I wasn't too comfortable either, perhaps this is just down to the appalling weather conditions we encountered. It was nearly sunny, but drizzly and thoroughly miserable. We managed to eat our snadwiches in the dry, but left pretty quickly.
On one of the thorn trees about the circle somebody had recenty left a little basket containing a carton of milk and a jar of honey - a practice I would normally associate with the piskies in Cornwall. They were obviously very thoughtful people as they'd removed the top from the honey jar - the little people do struggle with those!
Back again. I'm not going to mention every site that I took Jane and Aaron to today, but the mountains surrounding here were covered in a fine dusting of snow, giving a very nice feel to the place - even if it was bitterly cold and windy.
This was a quick stop off to take a GPS reading. There is now a new information board outside the field gate, which is much better than it being in the field next to the monument - a nice bit of clear thinking from those that erect these signs.
Yet another stop at Castleruddery, but this time I was here to look at the surroundings, rather than the circle. I was fortunate to bump into the landowner (by now the ex-landowner because the field has since been sold) who passed on lots of local lore, such as their once being bull fights in the field below!
As well as the alignment to the mountains through the enormous quartz entrance stones, several of the larger stones in the circle appear to line up with landscape features in the surrounding hills - something for future investigation.
A quick stop off as I passed. The new landowner has built a weird inner gate system just inside the field making access a little tricky, especially if you have any disability. This is one of the few very accessible sites in the area, so this is a bit of a disappointment. There is also a planning permission sign in the adjacent field - oh dear! If anyone builds a bunagloid there it could block the views to the mountains and may even block the view of the spctacular sunrise around the Equinox.
This tip was the first time I've truly seen the beauty of the two huge quartz stones that form the entrance into the enclosure. I've always loved these stones, but today in the reddish mid-winter sun they truly shone. Wonderful!
I do love coming here, but I think you have to pick the right time of year. I have never seen the site so overgrown. It was only the length of the grass that made it look shabby and made it difficult to see the stones properly, not neglect as such. I think that the landowner has stopped (or has been stopped from) grazing his sheep in and around the circle.
I wanted to take some good 3D photos and video here, but the the tall grass didn't really help my cause by making it difficult to see the smaller stones around the inside of the bank.
Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image
Close to where the N81 crosses the Carrigower River, at a cross road, is a very small white sign with green writing saying "Stone Circle". It is quite tricky to spot. Follow this road and be on the look out for another sign the same at the brow of the hill pointing into a field on the right. There is enough parking for maybe two cars if you are lucky.
This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.
Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.
Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.
The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.
UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.
ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.