I've known of this stone circle and now I've finally managed to visit it. After seeing it from a couple the sites I'd previously visited today I was really eager to experience the views from this site and I wasn't too disappointed. Unfortunately, visibility wasn't too good due to low cloud and hazy air.
The remains of this circle now stands in a copse of pine trees, which in turn stands on low circular platform about 60m in diameter. There are four large stones left, one of which is displaced. There is one granite stone with a line of linear cupmarks like those at Castleruddery Lower (County Wicklow), Ballyedmonduff (County Dublin) and The Piper's Stones (County Wicklow) amongst others. The other two stones are huge quartz blocks although one of them is so covered in moss that I didn't realise this until I was standing right next to it.
These two quartz stones mark the southwest side of the circle and appear to be entrance stones - another similiarity to Castleruddery stone circle. Through the low cloud I think I could make out a deep notch in the Wicklow Mountains in this direction, so I wonder if there's a Winter Solstice sunrise alignment here.
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.
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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.