|Visited 19th May 2012:
Needless to Drombeg (Droumbeag) was very high on my list of stone circles to visit in Cork. However, as it was on the south coast my companion (and driver) sensibly suggested we visit on our return journey to Wexford. So it was with something of a heavy heart that we drove away from beautiful, wild, West Cork towards the more lushly green pastures of the south. I'm not sure if this coloured my visit - Drombeg is in a wonderful setting but I didn't experience quite the same thrill as on the Beara Peninsula - coming across Cashelkeelty by chance on our first full day, followed by Ardgroom. Once again I refer back to Jack Robert's marvellous little book - full of inspired drawings and a comprehensive guide to all the many ancient sites in West Cork. I can't recommend it too highly (can be obtained from bookshops in Bantry and Kenmare).
Taken from “Exploring West Cork” by Jack Roberts
Droumbeag, stone circle, Fulach Fiann and Fort
Named after the townland in which it stands- drum beag (the small ridge) this is perhaps the most well known prehistoric monument in West Cork and easily found as it is liberally signposted from Rosscarbery or Leap. The circle and its attendant Fulach Fian were excavated in 1958 and the findings from this circle constitute a large proportion of our present knowledge of the use and age of these monuments.
The circle has survived in an almost perfect state of preservation, only one of the stones on the eastern side have fallen, and it probably appears now much as it did to those who came here in pre-Christian times. The circle consists of thirteen stones around an area that was cleared and paved with small flat stones. The excavations have revealed a number of burial pits, one of which contained cremated human remains. Unfortunately none of the findings has established a date for the structure but it is thought it may have still been in use towards the beginning of the Christian era.
The name ‘Recumbent Stone Circle’ is thought to have originated from this circle in which the features of this type of monument are particularly pronounced. The recumbent is a large flat-topped block that is loosely set on the ground, not embedded like all the other stones, and bears three deeply carved cup and ring marks. On the opposite side of the circle are the ‘Portal and Pillar stones’, and it is thought that the circle is set in alignment running through the pillars and across the recumbent. This alignment at Droumbeg is towards the winter sun-set which sets in a cleft of the hill to the south-west.
To the west of the circle are the foundations of what are called ‘hut sites’ one of which is set around a hollow in which there is a stone basin fed with water from a nearby spring. This type of monument is also called a Fulach Fian – cooking place of the hunters - and it is thought that the basin was used as a cooking pot. All around this area are the remains of fires and burnt stone and it thought that the pot was heated by dropping hot stones into the water. However there is some thought that says the use of such sites was actually more ritualistic in nature, a steam bath or early sauna?.
Posted by tjj
25th May 2012ce