Well, this is what that 2km walk was for. The five-stone stone circle leaves a lot to be desired, so I'll get the description of that out of the way first. The axial stone and one of the side-stones are embedded in a field wall, the other side stone is missing and the two entrance stones stand in the field. A thorn tree is growing next to one of these and almost obscures is completely.
The site is on a gentle east facing slope below a very rocky hillside. A small stream runs down the hill a few yards from the circle.
What is really impressive about this monument is the stone row that seems to stride down the hill 3m from the circle. This has four huge stones, all over 3m tall, set just over 1.5m apart. One of them is in the field wall mentioned above, one in the same field as the circle and the other two are in the scrub land on the other side of the wall to the west.
I had to settle for taking B&W photos and color 120 slides, one of which I had a print made up from so that I could put a colour photo on here of it. This is definitely the most expensive image on megalithomania, but it was worth it!
These stones really do make an impression upon you: a very humbling one. Their scale and proportions are magnificent. This is a great site.
Stones circles, put quite simply, are rings of standing stones, although not all of them are cicular, many being eliptical. Many have definite layout plans and often stone circles in one region share a similar style, e.g. Cork features many axial stones circles, where a recumbent stones faces an apparent entrance into the circle (see Drombeg (County Cork)).
They are the most well known of megalithic monuments and the ones most likely to capture anyone's imagination. Many theories exist about the original purpose of these enigmatic structures, the most popular (and at times most controversial) one is that they were built as astronomical observatories, many having apparent solar alignments with the sunrise and sunsets at the solstices and equinoxes. Lunar and star alignments have also ben noted.
No matter what the exact purpose it is certain that they played a significant role in the ritual or religious lives of the builders. One thing that nearly everyone has in common is that they are located in the most dramatic of places, usually offering unrivalled views.
Quite often other monuments, such as alignments, cairns, boulder burials or outliers, are to be found in close proximity to stone circles.
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.