For some reason I’m becoming obsessed with stone circles and other ancient sites. But stone circles in particular.
While Ireland doesn’t have anything as grand as Stonehenge or Avebury in England, it does have some stone circles. And it definitely has some major ancient sites like Newgrange.
But those standing stones in some sort of circle or ellipse are what intrigue me. Why are they there at that particular spot and what are they there for?
While we’ll probably never really know, I still like to visit these places and see if I can feel the energy — the magic — of these places.
So on this upcoming trip to Ireland, I’m hoping to find a few of these mystical ancient sites.
And I decided to put together this post on a few of the stone circles of Ireland so you can visit them too.
Drombeg, County Cork
This is Ireland’s most famous stone circle…that you probably haven’t heard of!
Located in southwest Cork not far from the town of Clonakilty, this stone circle consists of 17 pillar stones of varying heights. Since Drombeg is pretty popular, I’d recommend visiting first thing in the morning when there’s a better chance to have the place to yourself.
You’ll also find a cooking pit and some remains of houses or huts. And some lovely views of the southwest Cork countryside!
Ardgroom, County Cork
There are actually a good concentration of stone circles in County Cork and neighboring County Kerry.
Ardgroom, also known as Canfea, has a spectacular location overlooking Kenmare Bay on the Beara Peninsula. Its remaining 9 stones stand from 1.3 to 2 meters high.
You’ll need to go through a farmer’s field to get to the circle, but this is allowed. Just wear the proper footwear as the terrain can be a bit boggy and please obey the posted signs.
Drombohilly, County Kerry
Located near Ardgroom, Drombohilly is similar in style. Could it be that it was created by the same folks? Perhaps.
There are 9 pillar-like stones still standing out of a probable 11 or 13. It’s a difficult one to find and again, you’ll have to walk across some boggy land and possibly navigate some fences.
But with its views across Kenmare Bay, Drombohilly stone circle is worth it.
Derreenataggart, County Cork
This is one that I stumbled upon as I drove around the Beara Peninsula in 2010 with my folks and my Irish friend, Aedín, who was actually doing the driving.
I saw a sign for it and asked if everyone minded a quick side trip off the main road. Everyone agreed and we found the entrance.
I walked down the road and found the stone circle consisting of 7 taller stones and a couple of smaller ones. I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked here since everyone else was in the car waiting for me, but as I snapped a couple of photos I couldn’t help but wonder what this circle was for.
Carrowmore, County Sligo
Going from one stone circle I visited (or rather stumbled upon) to one I plan to see on my upcoming trip to Ireland, brings us to Carrowmore.
Now Carrowmore is mostly known for its megalithic passage tombs. But many of these tombs are encircled by stones. While these stones are not pillars, and therefore not as tall as some of the above stone circles, they still make stone circles. At least in my opinion.
This is a special spot in Ireland with numerous passage tombs and stone circles. It’s fairly well-preserved as well. I’m really psyched to see it! (And take some cool pics!)
Beltany, County Donegal
I will definitely be seeking this one out!
Located near the town of Raphoe this stone circle is in pretty good shape. Get this — there are 64 stones of varying shapes and sizes!
Beltany sits up on a hill with some nice views as well.
As with so many of these stone circles, there’s an aura of myth and mystery. Beltany is no different as its thought to have been a place for certain rituals of the people who built it. There was actually a stone head found here. What does it all mean?
Who knows. But it’s fun to visit these ancient sites and speculate on what the people used them for.
Beaghmore, County Tyrone
In Northern Ireland there are a few stone circles with Beaghmore being one of the main sites to visit.
This site actually contains 7 low stone circles of different sizes. So you’ll get to stand in, not just one, but 7 stone circles! And there are also 9 rows of stones. It’s pretty cool.
Located near the town of Cookstown, Beaghmore is really a site to see. And as always, we’re not quite sure why these stones were put in this particular spot. And what was the purpose.
I came across this video and love to hear what these kids have to say.
Ballynoe, County Down
This is located just southeast of Belfast so would make a wonderful side trip if you were driving from Dublin to Belfast. And it would be worth the extra time.
Ballynoe consists of 50 stones, some of which are 1.8 meters tall. Most of the stones are smaller, but it doesn’t take away from the aura of this circle which is about 33 meters at its widest point.
And, per usual, this stone circle is in a beautiful location with the gorgeous County Down countryside all around.
There are 2 interesting items about Ballynoe.
The first is that this stone circle may have links to Swinside stone circle in Cumbria, England. They’re very similar in size and shape.
Secondly, the entrance to where the stone circle lies is really cool. You walk along a grassy sunken path under a canopy of trees. This makes it that much more mystical, in my opinion.
Mystical and Magical
There are many more stone circles scattered about Ireland especially in Counties Cork and Kerry.
I find them to be surrounded by such an aura of mysticism. And because of that I’m so drawn to them. I just want to know why — why they were built and what they were for.
What about you? Are you curious about stone circles?