Ballynoe : Stone Circle

CountyDown
Grid RefJ 481 404
GPSJ 48131 40382 (5m)
Longitude5° 43' 29.22" W
Latitude54° 17' 26.32" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDownpatrick (4.2 Km)
OS Sheet21
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
Hide map  (N.B. Google Maps & GPS readings are slightly out of sync - position is approximate)
Show inline map (by Google Maps)

Visit Notes

Saturday, 2nd March 2002

After meeting up with Anthony Weir just outside Downpatrick I was taken to Ballynoe stone circle. I had already been told of many anomalous features that this circle posseses, but nothing really could have prepared me for what I saw.

The first thing you notice is its untidy state. It appears to have never been finished. In fact, on closer study, it probably was finished but vandalised/adopted soon after when the long barrow was place in the middle. The builders of the long barrow seem to have used many of the stones from the circle to create the barrow's kerb. The circle gives the impression that it was an almost continuous circle, but there are many gaps now.

The alignments are all slightly out. The is nearly a winter solstice alignment and some outliers are nearly north south aligned. Nearly at the north, east, south and west there are four similar cheese-wedge shaped stones.

The circle itself is set in a small depression that makes it almost hidden from every angle, making the surprise of entering the field even greater.

This is a wonderful circle, full of mystery and as Anthony says you could probably write a whole book on the 'nearly features' it displays.

There is a stone in the neighbouring field a line from which to the center of the circle seems to bisect the entrance. This warrants further investigation.

There is also a collection of possible erratics in the field. Two of these however, when linked to one of the south outliers form a dead straight row that is tangential to the circle.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 23rd February 2003

A beautiful morning of broken cloud illuminating the stones of this great circle in some fantastic ways.

We disturbed a periguin falcon whilst walking down the sunken pathway, which took to the air in a quite massive manner. A lovely way to start the day.

I spent a lot of time either taking little close up study shots or balancing on the top of a ladder waiting for the sun to be 'just so' ... and it was several times.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 7th May 2006

With Julian's knowledge of Cumbrian monuments it seemed only natural to bring him to this wonder. The similarities to Sunkenkirk/Swinside stone circle are really interesting.

The outliers are a mystery, but I did notice that the southeasternmost one is positioned in such a way that a massive mountain sits beautifully on the top of the intervening ridge. When you stand in the circle it is not visible.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 26th August 2007

A while ago we heard that the sunken path to Ballynoe was being destroyed. I haven't had chance to call in and see what was going on since then, but Anthony Weir had done so and told me it wasn't too bad. To be honest, it could have been a lot worse. I can only assume that someone stopped the farmer from ripping up all the hedges down the one side of the track.

I had stunningly good light at the circle. Today's direct sunlight didn't last too long, but it lasted long enough to get some nice pictures here and at the next site.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Like this monument

Marked Sites

Old Images

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<a href='/show/image/6423/ballynoe.htm' class='redlink'>Permanent Link</a>_

Directions

From Downpatrick take the A25 south east and take the first left after passing the race course. At the second cross roads turn right until you see an old railway station on your left. Just opposite this is a sign posted track leading to Ballynoe.

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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