Ballinvalley : Stone Circle

CountyMeath
Grid RefN 581 786
GPSN 58091 78596 (3m)
Longitude7° 7' 9.24" W
Latitude53° 45' 13.39" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownOldcastle (3.3 Km)
OS Sheet42
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

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Ballinvalley - Rock Art
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Visit Notes

Monday, 27th October 2008

I have looked down on this stone circle many times, but have never managed to find the time to come around to it. The drive to the farm from the Loughcrew car park isn't too bad, but it has always been enough to put me off. Well, today it was one of my definite destinations and I made sure that I had enough time to visit it. Ken Williams also wanted to come back here to track down the rock art panel close to the circle.

The monument is very ruined, but still has a certain something. The remaining (7 or so) stones that remain standing are massive. I don't think any other Irish stone circle has stones this big. It is is around 25m in diameter and an old ruined wall cuts across its eastern side, seprating one of the uprights from the rest. The rock art panel is amongst the debris of this wall.

One of the treats about standing at this site is looking back up towards Carnbane East & West with cairns L & T sitting on top of them respectively.

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.

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Stone Circles

About Coordinates Displayed

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.

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