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Stone Circle

<b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryanerImage © ryaner
OS Ref (GB):   H685842 / Sheet: 13
Latitude:54° 42' 3.97" N
Longitude:   6° 56' 14.46" W

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Stargazing at ancient Beaghmore stone circles

THE ancient megalithic site of Beaghmore near Cookstown is to become a unique observatory with a day of free BBC Stargazing. continues...
moss Posted by moss
10th January 2012ce

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Photographs:<b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by costaexpress <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by costaexpress <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by costaexpress <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by costaexpress <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by costaexpress <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bogman <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by bawn79 <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by caealun <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by greywether <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by greywether <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by greywether <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by greywether <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by greywether <b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by greywether Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Beaghmore</b>Posted by A R Cane


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It’s been fifteen weeks since my visit to An Bheitheach Mhór (Beitheach Mór), a second visit here in five months. Back in May the torrential rain forced us back to the car after a cursory 5 minutes. It was my mate Paulie’s first time there, my second and it was a complete washout. Now, this last time, it was overcast and we had the place to ourselves, bar the hippy couple making out in their van in the car-park.

I took no fieldnotes. So all I’ve got are memories, and photos. So what do I think of when I think of Beaghmore? Well it’s quite an intimidating prospect. Discussion of stone circles seems to focus on their purpose. In the three times I’ve visited the site I’ve not thought once of ceremony nor ritual. The immediate reaction, at least my own, is one of awe. Twice I’ve had people with me and they’ve been the same. And then, because there’s so much going on, perplexity.

So then when I return to the literature back at home I’m looking for an explanation, one that I don’t seek when I’m there. Which is curious in a way, or not so much if you give it a bit more thought. Because Beaghmore is what it is before you interpret it and all you can do is wander about, dazed and bedazzled and yes, perplexed, but so what?

I know it’s stating the obvious but there’s stones everywhere. In fact Beaghmore is the stoniest of all the stony places I’ve visited (maybe Maeve’s cairn has more stones but you know what I mean). Entering the site from the east it’s all very manicured – immediately inside the fence are two not quite conjoined circles with a small cairn in between. Four splayed alignments rush off to the north-east from either side of the cairn, meeting the boundary you’ve just entered and terminating in a small, cleared green area.

After this initial encounter, your mind, like a kid in a sweetshop, starts to get pulled around the place. Your eyes are drawn further in to the next two almost conjoined ‘circles’ and their not quite tangential alignments and then further still to Circle E whose interior is described by Burl as containing ‘a wilderness of sharpened stones like a fakir’s bed.’ There are many tall stones here in another mad alignment, like the rest of them at Beaghmore seemingly reaching towards the north-east beseechingly.

South of these, and almost separate from them, are two more stone circles and an intriguing barrow-like earthen ring with a cairn at its centre. This cairn, like the other 9 or so at Beaghmore, is small. An alignment here, close to the western stone circle but not quite touching it, heads off in… you guessed it, a north-easterly direction, back towards the ‘main’ part of the complex. Everyone who comments seems to be assured that there’s more to be discovered under the peat in the surrounding fields and I can’t say I disagree.

Whatever its purpose, or ‘meaning’ if you like, Beaghmore is a stone-lovers wonderland, a possible portal into the soul of bronze-age man/woman, if that is what floats your boat. Either way it’s downright trippy, spaced-out and weird in its own right without the need for plant or chemical inducements (though again, whatever floats your boat).
ryaner Posted by ryaner
21st December 2021ce

This is one of those sites which is a ‘must see’ if you’re in Northern Ireland and, although having seen pictures and read fieldnotes prior to our visit, I was quite taken aback by the size, variation, complexity and general weirdness of it all. It really is like no other place I’d visited before. I mean, sure, there are places on Dartmoor that encompass stone avenues, circles and cairns, but not on this scale, or of this complexity, that I’m familiar with. Seven circles, numerous cairns and possibly twelve stone rows – what was going on here? And, more intriguingly, what else was out there so far undiscovered, because apparently the site was uncovered by peat cutting in the 1940s and there may well be other artefacts still hidden beneath the peat nearby. I’d certainly put my money on it anyway.

When we arrived the weather was on the cusp of a mighty downpour, with massive threatening storm clouds above, and although we were lucky enough to avoid it, the sunny weather was slow to recover so we decided that we’d have to make a return visit in the hope of better light. Of course this also meant there was a dearth of other visitors so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Over the course of the two visits (day 2 turned out to be perfect with bright sunlight and atmospheric clouds – my favourite!) I must have spent nearly three hours wandering around sucking up the exquisite beauty of the place with its sombre Sperrin Mountain backdrop. Circle E, the largest circle, with its interior scattering of smaller stones known as ‘the dragon’s teeth’ (and on this occasion charmingly interspersed with daisies). Circle G with its larger ‘entrance stones’, almost mirroring each other in appearance, though if you look carefully the right hand stone isn’t actually part of the circle at all. It’s the second stone of a tangential double row aligned roughly East North East, possibly towards the Summer Solstice sunrise, and, like many of the other avenues, the stones on the other side are all small, giving an odd lopsided appearance. The cairn adjacent to circles F and G is also interesting as it seems to be the only one here with a ring ditch with the alignment of smaller stones, just mentioned, pointing straight at it.

By chance on the first day I thought I’d discovered a small cist in a pile of stones near the end of the row coming from Circle B, but as it turned out it was just a small hidey hole in which was secreted a geocache, so if you’re there anytime in the near future you too can add your name in the notes. So, a justifiably ‘must see’ destination and one that’s certainly in my top ten sites visited.
A R Cane Posted by A R Cane
26th July 2013ce

Beaghmore Complex, 15 October 2005.

Fourwinds and A. Weir have some superb shots of this site with sunlight raking over the stones and grass and this is what I hoped to see before sunset today. Unfortunately I wasn't counting on Saturday rush hour traffic in Armagh and Dungannon and missed the best light.

Arriving on a very windy evening I was not dissapointed for long, this place is incredible. You can almost feel the frenzy of activity here, the fervour with which the rows were scattered around the rings as if the world was about to end. Some theories consider this could well have been the scenario the builders thought they were facing as the peat bog swallowed up the workable land.

Trying to understand this place is like trying to square the circle using an abacus. Excuse the pun!
CianMcLiam Posted by CianMcLiam
17th October 2005ce

Visited 23rd March 2004: Having failed to find Creggandevesky Court Tomb, I decided to go and see Beaghmore before it was too late. It was a relief to find the place without too much trouble, and thankfully the rain was holding back. The sun even came out!

There's so much here, it's impossible to describe concisely (so I won't try). In summary, it's a tightly packed collection of Bronze Age stone circles, stone rows and cairns. None of the stones are especially large, but coming from Ceredigion I'm not put off my small stones. It was a beautiful scene, with the rain hardly gone and bright oblique sunshine. I inflicted some badly played harmonica on the stones before heading off for one last try at finding Creggandevesky.

Incidentally, access to the stones at Beaghmore is good. A wheelchair user could get at 95% of the site, perhaps with a little assistance in some places. There's a good path running down the length of the site, and parking is easy.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
15th July 2004ce
Edited 17th July 2004ce


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Video clip of Beaghmore Stone Circles & Cairns

bogman Posted by bogman
22nd June 2011ce

Video clip of Beaghmore, the dragons teeth

bogman Posted by bogman
22nd June 2011ce

Virtual Walkabout

Clive Ruggles's photographic walkabout of the Beaghmore complex.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th September 2006ce