'Knocks S' : Stone Circle

Grid RefW 303 443
Longitude9° 0' 25.52" W
Latitude51° 38' 49.2" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownRoss Carbery (8 Km)
OS Sheets86, 89
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 20th April 2003

I am going to stop saying things like 'This damaged site is a great loss', because they are all a great loss! The location of this circle is beautiful, well it would have been before modern farming encroached upon it. It is nestled amongst a cluster of rocky out crops, one of which occupies a prominent position 100m away along the line of the axis. 150m to the south a river carves its way through the land, filling the air with the babbling of water. On this visit this sound had a couple of cuckoos on backing vocals.

Five stones now remain describing a circle 7m in diameter. The axial stone is nice and broad while each of the other stones are very equal in shape and size. These are slightly taller than the axial stone and rectangular in plan.

In the centre of the circle is a sixth stone - a sole menhir which must be part of the original design as it is exactly the same shape/size as the other stones. Or perhaps it was relocated from the circumference to the centre for some reason, perhaps to despoil the sacred area within.

One of the entrance stones is luckily still there, which is set radially and the inner stone is inline with this and the corresponding edge of the axial stone opposite.

The walk past the beat up Ford Fiestas at the start of the famr track that leads right up to the site is soon forgotten once you reach this place. The site seems to exude a magic on you, which is amazing when you consider the relatively poor state of the monument. I actually think that this site could have this effect even if you took the stones away, but then I would not have come here to experience it. This location chose itself and the genius loci that caused the builders to come here still lives on regardless of man's efforts to kill it.

Standing stones, also called menhirs or monoliths, are the most simple of megalithic monuments. They are exactly what they say, a stone that stands with one end set into the ground. Being simple in form does not make them simple to understand, for they have served several purposes over time. Some were placed to mark burials, others were probably erected to mark boundaries or travel routes, the purpose of others is uncertain, but it may well have been ritual.

Standing stones can vary enormously in size from a under 1m tall to over 4m. Some have been purposely shaped (see Stone Of Destiny (County Meath)) and some must have been chosen purely for their shape (see Ballyvatheen (County Kilkenny)). Most standing stones are dated to be from the Bronze Age, but some are clearly older, especially those associated with passage tombs such as at Knowth (County Meath) and Loughcrew - Corstown (County Meath).

Others have been re-used in later times (see Kilnasaggart (County Armagh) and Breastagh (County Mayo)), perhaps to try and capture some of the powers of the old gods or to legitamise a claim to land.

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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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