|Coumaraglin NW - Cairn||Coumaraglin NW - Fulacht Fia|
|Coumaraglin NW - North Cairn - Chambered Cairn||Coumaraglin NW - South Cairn - Chambered Cairn|
|Coumaraglin NW - Standing Stones - Standing Stone|
The first thing I will say is that this stone circle is not for the faint hearted! I only just found it using my GPS. In sunnier weather it may be possible with a map and compass if you are good with them. The ground is very marshy and I really wouldn't like to get lost up here.
The circle itself is quite small (about 5m in diameter) and has several stones missing. The stones seem to be paired.
There are two entrance stones just 1m outside the circle facing SW.
The tallest stone is no more than 70cm and the lowest is just 20cm. It is possible that the stones were lowest opposite the entrance and grew in height as you go around towards it.
It is a cute little monument that on a clear day must offer stunning views.
The last time I was here I was surprised to find the site in the fog, but today I was surprised to find it because I got the coordinates wrong, and the stones aren't very tall. As we were walking towards the place where I thought the stone circle was I saw two stones. On walking towards them to investigate I saw that they were part of the circle.
The remains are fairly ruined, but the site is still well-defined. The two stone I saw from a distance are the tallest in the circle and face west. The nearby cairns have associated standing stones that stand to their west, so this complex is definitely orientated towards the west and the Knockmealdown Mountains.
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.
I will not include directions for these sites. If you wish to find them then I recommend a good compass and an OS map. Even better a GPS.
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.