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County Wicklow: Latest Posts

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Blackrock (Wedge Tomb) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Blackrock</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Blackrock</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Blackrock</b>Posted by ryaner ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd April 2014ce

Oldcourt (Ring Cairn) — Images

<b>Oldcourt</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Oldcourt</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Oldcourt</b>Posted by ryaner ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd April 2014ce

Goldenhill (Rath) — Miscellaneous

Liam Price visited here on 29 September 1929

"There is a rath about 20 or 25yds in diameter just N of the top point of Goldenhill. Almost due E, just outside the entrance are six large boulders, suggesting a passageway by their appearances. There seems to be the remains os a chamber or cist in the centre of the rath – and the surface inside is not even, but consists os a large wide pit 5 or 6ft deep in the centre (containing the stones of the chamber) with six smaller pits of the same depth irregularly placed around – the surface now all grass- and bracken-grown."

He returned on 11 October 1944 (and had second thoughts)

"Raheen at Goldenhill, Kilbride. I examined this again and noted more details. It has an outer fosse and an inner bank: I saw no trace of an outer bank. Depth of fosse below level of field, only about 1ft, width of fosse 9 paces or yards, height of inner bank over fosse about 7ft: fairly even all round.

Six blocks at entrance, the outer two are near the outside edge of the fosse – 9ft apart, one 3ft high by 3ft across (S side), the other 6ft high by 5ft across (N side). The other four are on the outer slope of the gap or entrance through the bank, 9 to 10ft apart, and each about 3ft high – the lower one on the S side has been cut through with wedges, and the broken-off piece is lying there.



Diameter of enclosed space of raheen, about 25 paces. It is very uneven, so that it is impossible to pace it across. Going in through the entrance, on the left is a round pit 5 or 6ft deep and 10ft or so across – and there are two somewhat smaller pits close inside the bank further to the SE and S. Between the first and second, and going in a crooked line across to the W or NW side is a long depression: and across this from the entrance, on the west side is another hollow, and it is in this one that the stones are which I though in 1929 were the stones of a chamber. This pit is not in the centre, but W of the centre. The stone which looked to me like a capstone is about 3ft wide, mostly buried in the grass – and there are other stones under and near it. I now think that these might be stones forming part of a ruined hut (door?). The other pits might also be the ruins of huts. [In 1929] I spoke of six smaller pits, but three I have mentioned here are the best preserved, as round pits.

The inside of the raheen would I think be higher than the level of the field outside, even allowing for a buried accumulation of stones. All the stones and block are of granite.

The Liam Price Notebooks – The placenames, antiquities and topography of County Wicklow
Edited by Christiaan Corlett and Mairéad Weaver
2002 Dúchas, The Heritage Service
ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd April 2014ce

Arch. Inventory of Co. Wicklow says:

Description: Situated on a very gentle SW-facing slope c. 200m SW of the summit of Golden Hill. Circular area (diam. 37m) defined by a stony bank (Wth c. 4m; int. H 0.7m) and an external fosse (av. Wth 6m; av. D 0.7m). There is a gap in the bank (Wth 5m) and causeway across the fosse (Wth 6m) at the NE with another causeway (Wth c. 12m) at the SE. There are some large stones in situ in the interior of the site and traces of a boulder revetment at the base of the bank. Possibly a modified prehistoric kerbed cairn. (Price 1934, 46)
ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd April 2014ce

Herity has this in his inventory of Irish passage graves, listed as Wi 1.

"At a height of 274m (900') stands a ruined circular structure 36m in diameter and 4.5m high. There appear to be upright kerbstones around the edge and a pair of matched stones in the north-east quadrant. two other tumuli stand close by, one in Goldenhill Td. (Sheet 5) and the other in Kilbride Td. (Sheet1)"
[Mr. P. Healy]

From Irish Passage Graves: Neolithic Tomb-Builders in Ireland and Britain 2500 B.C.
by Michael Herity
1974 Irish University Press
ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd April 2014ce

Plezica (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

OK. So when is a stone circle just a circle of stones? And when is a circle of stones a stone circle? Plezica throws up both questions. And not bad questions they are, as we're in west Wicklow, territory of the embanked stone circles of Boleycarrigeen and Castleruddery, and of the boulder circles at Athgreany and Broadleas (actually Kildare, but for geographic and situational purposes, lumped in here, along with Brewel Hill and Whiteleas circles too).

Plezica (pronounced Plessica according to Liam Price, of whom more anon) stone circle, for that is what it's called on the National Monuments Records database, is not that well known. I found it on the NMR a couple of months back and have had an itch ever since. I've searched t'internet (not very thoroughly) and have found no mention of it anywhere. There is a Plezica House and a Plezica stoneworks and a few mentions of Plezica on some property websites, but no mention of a prehistoric stone circle, nor any other prehistoric monument of any kind. So Plezica has played on my mind and finally, on Good Friday last, I scratched.

I'm not a great gardener but had spent a surprisingly enjoyable few hours in the afternoon having a go at the back garden before things got totally out of hand in the summer. Six o'clock in the evening is not the best time to head out into unknown territory, but the N81 corridor could have me down there in 20 minutes and the pull was just too much to resist.

There's a chicane-like kink in the road at Crehelp, below Church mountain, about a mile south of Athgreany stone circle. Take the right turn here and travel for about another mile through the pleasant pastureland in the direction of Dunlavin. This minor road kinks in turn as it drops into a small valley – this is Plezica. There's a footpath marked on the OS map (sheet 55) and it's this path that I took (I had a much more detailed screenshot from archaeology.ie).

So once more over a field gate into the unknown. Down the track/path, the site is at first hidden behind the crest of a hill to your right, then comes into view after about a minute. The field is a large one of open pasture and today the cattle are behind an electric fence to the west. The circle is overgrown and pretty nondescript at first glance. Curiously, it's fenced in with barbed wire and has its own farm gate. The fencing is right up on the raised platform that holds the circle, seeming to have been constructed to contain the stones inside it more than to keep anybody/thing out.

Two trees have fallen within the enclosure and cover the stones in the east and north-east quadrant. None of the stones save the centre stone is taller than a metre. I counted, like Kelleher below, 18 in all, but not as evenly spaced as he describes. Two are of quartz, though one of these is quite small and lies flat and loose on the ground. The granite stones remind me of the boulders of Broadleas, or some of the stones outside the ring at Castleruddery. None of them appear to be embedded in the turf and there's little evidence of packing, again a reminder of Broadleas.

The circle is most definitely on a raised and level platform, though substantial ploughing of the surrounds may make this seem more pronounced. The centre stone is curious; not on its own there – I saw a slab of slate-like stone beside it that is lying almost flat and is embedded into the turf. New growth and little time hindered any further exploration.

The site is beautifully placed, almost at the head of a valley that slopes south towards Keadeen and Brusselstown. Indeed, from above to the north, there are no other features of substance, though east is the ridgeback of Church mountain, less impressive here than at Whiteleas.

So what is it? A circle of stones yes; but a stone circle? Maybe. Price, who travelled widely in the county, doesn't mention it. Neither does Burl. Much of Price's work guided the later mapping and inventorying of the area, and yet nothing. There was much cairn-like material scattered throughout the floor inside the circle. That, and its small size and the fact that none of the stones seem embedded, could lead one to think 'denuded tumulus of some sort', the centre stones part of some chamber or cist, the circle itself kerbing. And yet, much of it reminds one of its neighbours, maybe a small derivative of these grander rings.

Plezica may not be all that it promised to be, but it's still got enough to keep this megalithic adventurer/explorer happy, further deepening the mystery of the sites along the N81 corridor between Blessington and Baltinglass. There's much more to see out there!
ryaner Posted by ryaner
21st April 2014ce
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