WOW! I have been blown away with the quality of the prehistoric sites I have visited since coming to Ireland and this is yet another cracker – one of the best stone circles I have ever visited. Very easy to access being right next to the road and parking is no problem.
There was a donation box attached to the gate which is for the upkeep of the site and I was more than happy to contribute.
The circle was full of young cows that completely ignored me and carried on chewing the cud. I wasn't quite as lucky as I managed to step in 3 separate cow pats!
This is an almost a perfect circle of stones of various height – too many to count accurately.
One stone is a huge square block that would not have looked out of place in Avebury – about 2 metres x 2 metres x 1 metre.
The strange 'alter' made up of small stones is still standing.
I've not got a lot to add here, given the fame of this site and its comprehensive coverage in all sorts of guide books. A great little volume written by the O'Kellys is available from the proud and committed landowner.
Aubrey Burl in his big 'Stone Circles of...' book remarks that the monument's relationships lie with the Wicklow circles and not with the Scottish recumbent and Munster axial stone varieties. I'm not so sure that a connection to the ASCs should be written off completely. Two northeastern portals look along a main axis, with a winter sunset declination, to two stones at the southwest which, because they sit together, give the same shape as one more broad than high. A supplied v-notch sits in the middle of these 'axial stones', an effect also offered by natural valleys in the sightlines of the Winter Solstice circles of Drombeg and Lettergorman South. Maybe in 1000 years an idea could mutate and fuse with other influences and appear some distance to the South?
Was down at Lough Gur for the Oiche Samhain sunset, I've read that there is meant to be an alignment between the horned stones in the circle and an Crom Dubh (the biggest stone in the circle). However from what I could see on the evening this seems incorrect but the sun does go down more or less behind the horned stones.
The "Rainbow Circle" had camped here for the last couple of nights and provided some lovely music that really added to the atmosphere of the sunset. Although I didn't prove the above alignment to be correct, the setting sun and music really contributed to a peaceful and very interesting evening that I came back feeling a lot better from.
To the north of the circle was another circle that was destroyed in 1826 to used for road building. It was meant to be 52m diameter with 72 stones. It would have been a monster and is sadly lost. Would be interesting to do Geophysics on the area.
When we visited this site in September 2001 (yes, I know these are slightly delayed notes) the farmer who owns the land was on-site, and he was great. He took us on a mini-tour of the main circle and also of the standing stones in the surrounding fields (I can't remember exact details, it's so long ago!).
The point of this post is to say what a great guy; he really stands in contrast to those landowners who will do anything they can to deter you from seeing the great monuments to which they are privileged to control the access. He really appreciated having the stones on his land and was only too happy to tell us about various legends. Big up!!
The huge circle at Grange stands in a fantastic neolithic complex. A further two circles, standing stones, wedge-tombs and crannógs make up this wonderful landscape. We made our visit en-route to Cork, so managed the main circle, one other circle and a wedge tomb, but I'm sure a few days could be spent exploring this landscape.
The henge circle itself is fascinating.
Walking through the stone lined entrance passage, the view stretches across to a large V shaped notch at the far end of the circle, aligned on the Samain sunset (Burl) and/or the moon's minimum midsummer setting in 2500BC (Weir).
From the centre of the circle, to the NE lies a huge 20 ton stone, known as Rounach Croim Dubh, 'the prominent black stone' (Burl) or my prefered translation Huge Black Stooper (Weir). This stone is aligned on the midsummer sunrise. The psychology of this site is second to none. I found it easier than ever to contemplate the effect of these events on the minds of the Neolithic people.
We spent a good portion of the afternoon lazing about here, the sun was beating down, and I had a bit of a hangover from the Cope gig in Dublin. I couldn't think of a better place to hang out.
When this stone circle was being excavated by archaeologists an old woman in the area who was renowned for psychic powers happened to be on her way home from Limerick. She stopped at the site and immediately fell into a trance. In her trance she saw men sacrificing a woman at an altar. She awoke from her trance before they actually cut the woman.
No evidence has ever been found for sacrifice at this site so maybe she was just telling people what she thought they wanted to hear.
A significant reassessment by Helen Roche of the construction date for the Great Circle: 'The dating of the Embanked Stone Circle at Grange, Co. Limerick' in Roche, Grogan, Bradley, Coles and Raftery (eds.): 'From Megaliths to Metal - Essays in honour of George Eogan', 2004, 109-116.
The most recent pottery-type, found at a position which would have predated the monument - in this case beneath the bank on the old ground surface - was 'Class II' ware. This type, in the light of extensive comparitive studies with securely dated material over the years, is now judged to be a Late Bronze Age coarse ware. Therefore the circle, officially designated to have been constructed in the Neolithic, is actually a Late Bronze Age site, of a similiar age to the axial stone circles that I felt had a comparable skeletal stucture (see fieldnotes above).
Very easy to access and in a lovely setting near Lough Gur.
We parked in the lay by and I walked up the grass slope to the tomb. Dafydd wanted to come but had decided to take his shoes and socks off so I had to carry him across the wet grass.
There are four capstones over the tomb and an information board is near by.
Not as big or bold as other sites I have visited today but still well worth the little effort it takes to visit.
This would be a great site for a picnic on a nice summer's day (not today!)
From the main stone circle I climbed over the barbed wire fence and made my way across the field. Around the stones I saw what I though was another herd of young cows, unfortunately when I got closer I realised they were in fact bullocks!!
As soon as they saw me they all headed my way and I had to take refuge by standing on top of one of the stones in the circle! I was just glad that I didn't have Dafydd with me.
This was another near perfect circle made up of 15 stones and just as impressive as Lios - only smaller.
I waited for the bullocks to get bored and move on – unfortunately they didn't. I chose my spot and headed back across the field as fast as I could walk. The bullocks put on a bit of a sprint and I had to repeatedly turn and shout/wave my arms for them to back off. Eventually I got to the edge of the field and back over the fence – safety!
If when you visit the bullocks are still there may I suggest setting for a view from the fence?