Derryarkane : Stone Circle

Grid RefW 052 537
GPSW 05171 53702 (9m)
Longitude9° 22' 21.48" W
Latitude51° 43' 40.12" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBantry (7.1 Km)
OS Sheet85
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 5th September 2004

This was my thrid attempt at finding this site. The two previous times I had come from the north, which looks sensible from the map. However, this lovely 5-stone stone circle is tucked up against the south side of a wall so you have no hope of seeing it. Two large thorn trees are growing on the south side of the stones making it even harder to spot.

One of the portal stones has fallen, but still lies in situ. The axis of the circle is NE-SW with the axial stone at the southwest. Standing in the portal and looking over the axial stone you are aligned with a notch in the distant hills. The axial stone is almost square andthe other stones are only matched in height - about 1.2m.

There is a small (possible) outlier just 30m south of the circle next to which is a pile of stones, which may be field clearance or a mini cairn, but probably the former.

The official grid reference for this site is out by some 90m.

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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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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