Castleruddery never looked better than today. The farmer really looks after the site and the grass was newly mown, leaving the circle a tad sterile, but I've imagined it as a ceremonial meeting place that would have had days like this in the bronze age, done up in all its finery, awaiting the guests for whatever ritual was to be performed.
The circle of stones are really quite wrecked, with the remains of smashed stones in the centre of the lot, and others strewn near the entrance. The bank of the henge rises quite steeply in the north-east arc, well over a metre, almost obliterating the exterior view of some of the orthostats.
Like at Boleycarrigeen later on this day, 4/9/13, we lolled about in the sun, drinking in the atmosphere, admiring the huge quartz entrance stones and hugging up the energy of the place.
Just down the road from Athgreany and equally worth a visit.
You can park next to the field where the stone circle is and it is only a short, flat walk.
(The circle is visible from the road)
As with nearly every site I have visited in Ireland I had the place to myself (Newgrange excepted of course!)
There is an information board, brand new wooden stile and fencing which takes you to the circle.
The grass was knee high and there were lots of bluebells about which helped compensate for the wind and rain.
The bank around the circle is about 0.5 metres high and the tallest stone about 2 metres high.
The stone which (to me anyway) was the most interesting was the one with 5 grooves cut into it. I assume this was to split the stone as there is another stone just outside the circle with 7 grooves cut into it which has clearly split that stone. The cut forms an arc in the stone.
There as a jumble of 5 large fallen stones in the centre of the circle.
Another stone circle we left out of our last Irish trip, and boy do I regret it, we only saw Athgreaney last time and missed out on this little wonder, it is a gem of a site.
Really easy to find, and intimate parking for one, with a short sheep stared stroll to the stone "henge" circle. The two big quartz stones that guard the entance are extremely pretty, and have since topped my list of stone circle stones ( dont mean it Callanish ), theyre the best stones in stone circlery, the rest of it is good too.
In the middle of the circle lye six stones, which I half fancied as an interior six stone circle a bit like at Lissy vigeen, (is that the right name) but it was only a fancy.
After going to King Arthurs hall a couple of months previously they both seemed very similar, in feel anyway, obviously ones round and ones rectangular, but still similar.
If I could change some things though, I'd get rid of the farm and the overhead cables and pylons, or move the whole magical site somewhere more remote, which evers easiest, seeing as its a nice place the farm will have to go.
This was our next stop after Athgreany circle and was just as spectacular. Again, it is signed from the main road and there is a wee parking space by the gateway.
I loved the 2 great hulking quartz stones, surrounded by smaller granite ones (my knowledge of geology isn't great, so feel free to correct me at any time) but had to wonder at the discarded stones behind a tree; one had been drilled so accurately across that it had broken in two.
Again, this is quite a small and very round circle, set amidst the most stunning of locations. Some of the stones were incredibley weathered, where others have survived the last 4 milleniums quite well.
The thing that struck me most at this site was some of the work that had been put into shaping a few of the stones. They have been worked considerably and without the help of masonary equipment. Some of the cup marks on one of the stones are more than an inch deep and a good inch and a half long.
I know this is the case at many sites but this place really got me thinking. When you get up close and see how much effort was put into the fine detail of a site like this you can't help but get an over powering sense of its importance. It's a feeling you would expect to get at somewhere like Avebury but these smaller sites hold huge importance as well.