Kealkil : Stone Circle

Grid RefW 054 556
GPSW 05375 55598 (12m)
Longitude9° 22' 12.71" W
Latitude51° 44' 41.58" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBantry (8.7 Km)
OS Sheet85
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 20th April 2003

There's not much I can say about Kealkil that hasn't already been said before, because quite rightly this is one of the best megalithic sites there is in Ireland, if not anywhere. It is a very compact multiple monument site which contains a complete five-stone circle, a radial cairn and a pair of huge standing stones.

The radial cairn is a flat area of stones with a kerb, but the stones forming the kerb are set so that they point into the centre rather than being in line with the circumference of the cairn.

The pair of stones are enormous. The shorter of the two is 2.5m tall and the tall one is over 4m tall. They are set in a northeast to southwest alignment which runs parallel to the axis of the circle. The shorter stone is at the NE end.

There is something odd about the circle and it took me quite a while to spot what it was. The axial stone is the tallest stone of the five. The others decrease in height with the entrance stones being the shortest. Also the axial stone is situated at the northest side of the circle rather than the southwest. The circle is just 3m in diameter.

The grouping seems to have been carefully planned. The slope formed by the tops of the two massive standing stones is opposite to the slope formed by the tops of the circle stones, creating an interesting contrast.

My visit here was ruined somewhat by the fact that the hill side near to where you have to park was on fire and the walk from the gate is along enormous tractor wheel tracks in the muddy approach. These tracks run just metres from the stones and make it very difficult to enjoy this beautifully chosen location, which looks out to the north over a valley that runs east to west.

Sunday, 5th September 2004

When I was last here the weather was a little overcast, but the weather today was superb. There was still a bit of mist around, but that just added to the ambience of the site. This is a great place to sit and look across the valley below.

There were two things I noticed today. Firstly the axis of both the circle and the row is aligned on a notch in the hills opposite. The second is how spectacular the views to Bantry Bay are and in particular Whiddy Island.

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Sunday, 10th July 2005

No matter what you see during the rest of the day a trip to Kealkil means it a good day, especially when it���s the first time you���ve seen it (which was the case for Uta, my partner) and when the weather is so stunningly hot. Today the good weather made sure that every vista was open to us ��� I���ve never seen it so clear here.

I���m still concerned about the large bush in the centre of the ring cairn. It���s getting larger and I wonder how long it will be before it hides the stones beneath it completely.

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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