Ballynamona: Passage-tomb kerb or Stone circle
R 695 385
3 km NNW of Hospital is a remarkable and massive semicircle
of low, rounded stones, very close together like stones of a
kerb or the boulder-circles of Carrowmore in Sligo.
Only two stones still survive on the other half of a structure
which was 15-20 metres in diameter.
by Derek Ryan
Some 3.5 km ENE of Hospital, in Cromwell (R 730 389),
in the middle of a thicket, is Diarmuid & Grainne's Bed,
a seriously overgrown wedge-tomb, the northern end of which
is accessible. The gallery is now just 3 metres long, but may
well have been longer. There is one large roofstone still in
place at the N end, and another has fallen into the gallery,
and now leans against the north side. Another stone that lies
just outside the trees is probably another roofstone. There
are good views S to the Galtee Mountains. On
the top of the hill is a cairn and several defensive walls of
by Derek Ryan
~ Just over 3 km SW is Knockanny (Cnoc
Áine) which has barrows (R 676 365), a large
trivallate ringfort, and a fragile standing-stone some 1.25
metres high on its slope (R 670 364).
photo by Derek Ryan
km SSW, on swampy ground in Ballinascaula (R 669 303),
is another large trivallate earthwork some 5 metres high and
around 30 metres across. The area is littered with evidence
of ancient population. It may not have been only in the early
19th century that Ireland suffered from overpopulation...
6 km W by N is the Líos at Lough Gur (see
13 km N by W of Hospital is Knockroe, a significant twin-peaked
hill with an impressive promontory-fort, a barrow and other
remains, including standing-stones around its base.
R 458 318
little stone-row visible from a by-road. The tallest stone,
just 1 metre high, is dwarfed by a large tree right beside it.
The stone at the W end is, according to Derek Ryan, "a
lovely craggy rock".
by Derek Ryan
17 km N at Clorhane and
4 km NNW of Adare (R
two fields in from a winding road, this low (and lowland) wedge-tomb
(about 6 metres long) has an unusually craggy (and slipped)
capstone. Some of the orthostats also are of decayed limestone.
A short distance to the E is a flat-topped artificial mound
by Derek Ryan
R 779 284
On the top of Duntryleague
Hill, a fine skeletal passage-tomb - denuded entirely of its
cairn - still retains its long passage and a wider, cruciform
chamber whose 3 roofstones are stepped one above the other in
a style common in Brittany.
This rather poor photograph taken in 1972 shows the roofless
passage leading to the massively-roofed chamber. Thirty years
on, the surrounding trees have reached their maximum height,
and have been felled, thus restoring the splendid views.
Click the picture for recent photos.
800 metres NW in Lissard, behind a modern bungalow at
R 772 288, is an unmarked standing stone, curiously blade-like
and only 80 cms high.
by Derek Ryan
3.8 km SW in a paddock off the front drive of Ballingarry
House, some 2 km NW of Ballylanders (R 750 259) is an ogam stone
1.7 metres high, found on Knockfeerina in 1837 and subsequently
by Derek Ryan
R 838 533
This alignment of three
stones, all about 1.6 metres tall and set one metre apart, affords
splendid views. A fourth stone stands some 5 metres to the SW,
suggesting that there could have been seven or more stones originally.
km N by E is Baurnadomeeny wedge-tomb, county Tipperary.
km NW of Lackagoneeny (and 9.5 km SW of Baurnadomeeny
in Tipperary) in county Limerick, in a corner of a remote field,
is Garranbane "Giant's Grave" (R 749 573) -
a wedge-tomb about 5 metres long, in good condition, originally
dominated by Sliabh Eibhlinne and Sliabh Kimalta to the NW and
N, both of which are now blocked by trees.
by Derek Ryan
Gur: Stone circles, crannógs, tombs, hut-sites, etc.
Gur has a great concentration of prehistoric remains, including
wedge-tombs, foundations of huts, stone circles, standing-stones
and crannógs (artificial refuge-islands in lakes). These
are spread over several townlands.
famous of these monuments is the Late Neolithic or very Early
Bronze Age stone circle and henge known as the Líos
(= enclosure) in Grange townland, situated to the E of
the Bruff-Limerick road. Heavy stones stand shoulder to shoulder
against a massive bank of gravelly clay 10 metres wide, 1.3
metres high and nearly 70 metres across. Most are of local limestone,
but some are volcanic breccia from over a mile away. Of these
the heaviest stone just N of the entrance, known as Rannach
Cruim Dubh (prominent black stooper or hunchback), weighs
over 60 tons, and aligns with midsummer sunrise. Next to this
huge stone stands a small stack of stones, possibly the smashed
remains of a phallic pillar. This is now thought by some to
represent Eithne, the Irish Persephone - corn-child and concubine
of the dark god Crom Dubh. It is said that the whole embanked
enclosure was dug by Crom Dubh with his two pronged spear.
The most important of several alignments, however, is that of
the short stone-lined entrance passage with two massive stones
at the opposite side of the circle, whose tops form a V-notch
for observing the moon's minimum midsummer setting in 2500 BC.
metres NNE is a second circle, smaller (15 metres in diameter),
unprotected from livestock, which can be reached through a purpose-built
gap in the fence just over a low dry stone wall. It consists
of rough and uneven stones with a gap where, it would appear,
at least two orthostats have been removed (behind the cattle
in the picture below).
~ 350 metres NNE is large, gently-leaning menhir standing 3.5
metres tall behind a farm building. The west face appears to
have been worked flat, almost concave while the rear is very
rounded, and the name of 'stooper' (cruach) would be
more appropriate for this stone than for the one at the Líos.
It stands to the east of an ancient sunken track that runs north-south
past it and the foundations of several hut sites and ancient
for another photo
visible over the hedge 100 metres to the south of Grange Líos
and accessible through a gate in the same field boundary is
Cloch a' Bhíle, or the Tree of Life, said to be
a lithic manifestation of the supernatural tree that mythically
grows at the bottom of the nearby Lough. In its gnarled, bramble-protected
mossiness it does resemble a trunkless tree.
The farmer who now looks
after much of the land around Lough Gur sells a small but very
informative booklet on the whole area written by OKelly
who excavated the site in 1939. The fence surrounding and protecting
the circle was erected at Tims own expense and so he asks
for a contribution of only two euros from adults visiting the
site. Please do respect this if he is not around, so that the
site can continue to be kept tidy for all to enjoy.
~ Near the NW corner
of the Lough is a stone-built crannóg
now surrounded by marsh instead of water.
~ To the S of the road
skirting the S shore of the Lough in Loughgur townland is a
fine wedge-tomb some 9 metres long, with a slab-roof gallery
and a separate chamber instead of a portico at the SW (front)
~ About 750 metres
SW, on the same side of the same road is another - ruined -
wedge-tomb, known as Leaba na Muice (The Pig's Bed).
the other side of the Lough are more standing-stones, circles,
and another crannóg, as well as stone forts, and neolithic
house-sites. The circles include Loughgur P. (R 654 412),
which is another fine henged monument, somewhat overgrown, whose
banks are faced on both sides with large stones, although they
are poorly visible on the south side. There is a central structure
within the enclosure that looks like a small stone circle, but
might be a hut site. Unfortunately, field-fences impede free
internal, access, the banks have been planted with thorn trees
and the inner circle is full of saplings. There are two apparent
entrances into the inner area - one on the south and one to
visitors' centre is better than many.
~ Beyond the Lough
Gur complex, but in the general area, are several standing-stones,
including 'those at Moohane (R 669 410)
6 km NNE of Bruff (1.6 metres high), Tynacocka (R 623
345) 2 km S of Bruff (1.2 metres high),
(R 651 505) some 2.5 metres high on a hill near power-lines
and the school of Bohermore on the outskirts of Limerick City
- and, best of all, Ballinculloo (GPS R 5747 3339),
6 km SW of Bruff: a slab some 3 metres high, not marked on the
map, yet quite visible beside a minor road. On one of the broad
sides it is interestingly (and naturally) uneven. Like many
stones around Bruff it affords a good view of the significant
Knockfeerina (also known as Knockfierna).
by Derek Ryan
For the rich folklore of the area, see the web-page at
from the Dawn.
Megalithic kist or Wedge-tomb
R 178 451
on the thumbnail for more
monument - (about 6 km ESE of Glin, just S of Ballyhahill) -
is not marked on the map, nor have I visited it. It is included
because I found two photographs of it online. The first, from
FlickR shows it now, somewhat at risk. The second is
a black and white photo from Limerick City Museum, showing it
before the comparatively recent splitting of the capstone. From
the photos it is impossible to say if it is the remains of a
wedge-tomb, or a large megalithic kist. It was eminently suitable
for use as a Mass Rock in Penal times. I am indebted to Derek
Ryan for the identification of the townland.
Somewhere nearby (!) is a handsome standing-stone close to a
large rath, and a possible pair of standing-stones. All need