The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Carrigagrenane SW

Stone Circle


I've been debating with myself for a long time about whether or not to include this site. These aren't even really field notes, since they're being written in my living-room, months after my last visit there. If an Englishman's home is his castle, does that make an Irishman's sitting-room his field?

Burl, sounding almost bitter in his guide entry, gives it a special category, namely 'unseeable', and discourages any visit not involved with official clearance. Ruggles in his orientation tables at the rear of 'Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland' (1999; 217), mentions the immovable vegetation that made accurate survey impossible. The monument is almost drowned in a wash of turbulent growth. Yet it has not always been this way.

I have posted Somerville's plan from the beginning of the 20th century. A print of Webster's sketch of 1930 hangs on my wall, the circle open and clear. As long as I have been interested in the past, this site has fascinated, or rather, obsessed me.

It sits on a slight rise at the north side of a tidy little field. Carrigfadda looms to the west. The ground is open to the south and on a sunny day you can almost feed on the glow and brightness in the air. Rabbits make surprised darts across in front of you and the only sounds are earfuls and earfuls of natural life.

A quick glance at O'Nuallain's 1984 plan will give you an idea of the shape of the monument: partially used as a fence on the western side, it is 8.5 metres in diameter, reckoned to have contained 19 stones up to 1.1 metres high, with a 70cm high and 1.4 metre wide axial stone.

The plans diverge over two facts. O'Nuallain shows the detached radial portals, strangely missed by Somerville. On the other hand the one foot high centre stone shown and described by Somerville and Webster was either missing or concealed when O'Nuallain's survey took place.

I have poked through here myself at winter time when things die back a bit and experienced a kind of euphoria as portals and circle stones are revealed. It must be tied with its being hidden, yet being there, its sparkling location, the character and perfect size of its pillars, my immersion in its history and forbidden reputation and perhaps a multitude of other things. It's difficult to exactly put a finger on why it should but I know that this place affects me more than any other.

Access is over a gate with some dire warnings about unauthorised entry, but the farm is just down the road to the south if you want to give it a go and ask.
gjrk Posted by gjrk
15th January 2007ce
Edited 13th December 2008ce

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