Athgreany: Stone Circle
N 930 032
S of Hollywood and visible 175 metres E of the road to Baltinglass,
this is probably the best-known of the Middle Period "Leinster
Type" of stone circle, which derive from the British type
of circle at Ballynoe, county Down. Known as The Piper's
Stones because of the single outlier which is, according
to legend, the petrified piper with the petrified ring-dancers.
The circle of
fourteen stones - some of which are boulders, and others which
are pillars up to 1.8 metres high - is about 28 metres in diameter.
photograph by Tom FourWinds
metres SE of the stone circle (N 935 028) is a squat standing-stone
just one metre high, which, though not impressive in itself,
offers a fine view over county Kildare to the W - as well as
to The Piper's Stones in the valley beneath, towards
which its long axis points.
2 km W in Crehelp (N 919 033 on sheet 55) is a grooved
standing-stone some 2 metres high, of the Carlow-Wicklow-Kildare
group (see Broughillstown, below), perforated by a curious
km SE, on top of Slieve Gad or Church Mountain (N 948
013) is a large ruined cairn some 25 metres in diameter, which
once contained a passage-tomb, then an early Christian church,
of which little remains. The chief reward of the steep 350-metre
climb from the road is the panoramic view.
km SSE are somewhat-chaotic, Leinster-type stone circles at
Castleruddery (S 925 937), 8 km NE of Baltinglass village.
~ A little
under 9 km SE (4.5 km ENE of Castleruddery) are three bullaun
stones in Kelshamore.
km E of Baltinglass village (N 938 892) is another multiple-stone
circle at Boleycarrigeen, fairly well preserved and enclosed
in a circular earthen embankment. Eleven out of the original
seventeen or eighteen stones survive. The circle is surrounded
~ About 1 km NE of
Boleycarrigeen, unmarked on sheet 62 in Keadeen (S 944
897) is another stone circle, some 5 metres in diameter and
with traces of a bank on the N side, identified by Ian Thompson
in 2004. On a site commanding fine views, 7 of a probable 13
stones still stand, including two radially-positioned entrance
A projected line through
these entrance stones from the centre of the circle to the SE
leads to a standing stone standing 1.5 metres high 100 metres
or so away at S 945 896. From this spot the Boleycarrigeen circle
would be visible across the valley - were it not surrounded
T 171 914
3.6 km from Rathdrum, this remote and splendidly-located bullaun
stone is on the end of a north-westerly pointing spur with an
amphitheatrical panorama. Earth-fast and measuring just one
metre long and 60 cms wide, it has no known monastic association
and is probably pre-Christian. It has two large bullauns in
its upper surface about 25-30 cms in diameter, one of which
is shallow and the other as deep as it is wide.
bullauns can be seen at Baltynanima, Glendalough and
Roundwood. See also Kilbeg under Seefin,
~ 9.6 km S by W and
less of a walk in Mongnacool Lower (T 163 817 on Sheet
62), hidden in bracken, is a small and neat wedge-tomb, standing
on a rectangular platform of stones, which is all that remains
of the cairn. On either side of the gallery are two halves of
a split boulder. Leaning against these, across the east-west
line of the gallery is a displaced roofstone. On the north side
there are hints of double walling.
S 885 892
on the aerial photograph for detailed pictures
top of Baltinglass Hill, close to Baltinglass village, approached
from a narrow by-road to the NE of the hill, this large complex
has a massive surrounding wall - which is modern. A large cairn
some 27 metres in diameter, robbed for wall-building, still
retains most of its internal features. The site comprises remains
of 3 small passage-tombs built at different times and partly-overlying
each other, plus two single-chambered tombs. In the circular
chamber of the latest passage-tomb (III) is a large stone basin
decorated with a double-armed cross within a cartouche. Some
of the roofstones of its narrow passage survive. There is a
beehive-shaped chamber which the excavator considered contemporary
with Tomb I (largely overlaid by Tomb II, a central chamber
surrounded by 5 side-chambers, whose gallery is overlaid by
Tomb III), and a ruined kist which is at least as recent as
km S by E of Baltinglass village, in Broughillstown,
to the N of Broughillstown House and 80 metres E of the main
road to Tullow, is a grooved standing-stone 1.5 metres high,
which, like that at Ardristan Carlow, belongs to the
km ESE of Baltinglass village, in front of Humewood Castle
(S 938 857, sheet 62), is a prostrate stone 1.5 metres long,
decorated with cup-and-ring designs, which was dug out of the
ground when an artificial lake was being created.
~ 9 km
NE of Baltinglass village in Kelshamore (S 957 948) are
three boulders with bullauns, the largest being an earth-fast
block over a metre long with three large bullauns in a row.
under 11 km NE of Baltinglass village, easily accessible in
a forest clearing in Knickeen (S 983 949, marked on sheet
56) is a fine standing-stone bearing a weathered ogam inscription.
km E of Baltinglass village is Boleycarrigeen stone circle.
km NE of Baltinglass village is Castleruddery stone
km NNE of Baltinglass village is Athgreany stone circle.
O 170 023  O 188 026
on the thumbnail for a larger picture
When I first
saw this stone - in the 1970s, it was by
the far hedge of a field to the S of the by-road from Togher
(Roundwood) to Lough Dan (not marked on the map), dug up from
the field and placed among other boulders along the hedge. Later
removed by the landowner to his house in Roundwood, it is a
fine stone 1.2 metres long and about 38 cms high, with 14 cup-marks
on its upper surface, ranging from 10 to 11.3 cms in diameter
and up to 7.6 cms deep. One is surrounded by a ring, and a pair
has a partial ring. There are also wide, almost parallel, grooves.
Two other similar stones were reported to have been found in
~ Also in Roundwood is a bullaun mounted on a pedestal
2 km SW of Roundwood in Baltynanima townland, and marked Bullaun
Stone on the map at O 176 018, is a fine rock outcrop in
the centre of a field. "Well worth the hike 600 metres
from the nearest road either across bog land or through thick
woods", it has two good bullauns over 20 cms in diameter.
For more bullaun stones see Roundwood and Glendalough,
and Kilbeg under Seefin, below.
km WSW in Oldbridge (O 153 016) is a fine petroglyphic
boulder nearly 2 metres long long and 1 metre at its widest.
It has 5 cups with single rings, 6 cups on their own, 1 cup
with 2 concentric rings and 1 more with 3 concentric rings.
These are now all weathering and were much bolder when the stone
(quickily dubbed "The Witch's Stone") was unearthed.
It is very possible that it came from a tomb.
~ 3 km
SW in Drummin is another bullaun stone (O 156 001) -
a large boulder over 2 metres long and 1 metre high. It has
three large bullauns, two of which are over 30 cms in diameter.
for another photo
~ 100 metres E of the bullaun stone is a slab is partially covered
by grass, but with enough exposed to see at least 20 cup-marks.
largest, at the E end of the panel, has two rings and 'spider-legs'
km SW (and 1.7 km SW of Drummin bullaun stone in the same townland,
T 145 988) are "The Gossan Stones", a male/female
pair only 1 metre high. unusually aligned North-South, with
the female being to the N. They are on a saddle between two
peaks, due W of the cleft of The Devil's Glen.
T 302 855
(or damaged ?) stone, over 2 metres high, is easy to see on
a slight rise N of a by-road, in the grounds of the modern Castletimon
the same townland, some 400 metres South and now recumbent in
a roadside niche at T 298 855 is "The Giant's Stone",
pillar-stone. The inscription reads NETA CARI
200 metres S of the ogam stone, in Brittas, is a ruined
and overgrown portal tomb.
T 123 969
far end of the riverside car-park close to the gate-house is
a field-gate, with a bullaun stone and a crude cross-base next
200 metres N of the Visitor Centre (the townland is Brockagh)
is the field of the Seven Fonts, containing several bullaun
stones. The first to be seen is an earthfast boulder that stands
1 metre high. The upper surface is flat and has a single, centrally-placed
bullaun about 30 cm in diameter.
The Seven Fonts (T 123 970) is a group of four bullaun
stones, three of which have single depressions, while the fourth
has four. The three single bullaun stones are all earthfast
boulders that are low on the ground. The large one is extremely
unusual in that three of its bullauns are set in a rectangular
depresion, while the fourth bullaun is just outside it.
far end of the same field is another rather unusual bullaun
stone whose upper surface has been squared-off. The single bullaun
is set into a raised, level, rectangular area, and is quite
small at about 20 cm in diameter.
Christian monuments (especially The Nuns' Church)at Glendalough
are outside the scope of this Gazetteer, but, of course, are
well worth visiting.
forty bullauns have been reported in the Glendalough area.
km NE are more bullaun stones at Roundwood Graveyard.
~ 7.1 km NE is a bullaun stone at Baltynanima.
~ 8.8 km E is a pair of standing-stones at Parkmore.
8 km SSW of Glendalough, at Fananierin (T 103 890) is
a cupmarked slab a little over one metre long and 50 cm wide.
There is a parking-place nearby on the scenic road from Laragh
into the mountains.
short distance SW is a curious standing-stone some 70 cms high,
partly hidden by a clump of reeds.
distance SW is a chunky standing-stone some 70 cms high partly
hidden by a clump of reeds.
Situated now in a felled
(2004) conifer plantation this once-mossy site is not easy to
find - but worth the effort. The kerb is some 7 metres in diameter
consisting of small, dull, dark grey granite stones, but on
front of the entrance, facing W, are two large blocks of granite
with considerable quartzite content. On the kerb facing S is
an unusually shaped stone of the same material. Several others
are mingled in with the débris and these might also have
indicated significant directions. Part of the undecorated chamber
survives under an enormous tree.
S 930 675
km SE of Tullow and 2.5 km S of Aghowle Romanesque church,
approached up a laneway and then across two fields beside a
clump of trees, this monument is unusual in that its main chamber
widens towards the back, together with the outer walling, so
that the wedge shape is reversed. The usual portico or antechamber
is demarcated by a septal slab. This tomb resembles many in
the North of the island.
This photo by Tom FourWinds shows the two
matching end-stones of the façade.
2.5 km N is Aghowle Romanesque church, 100 metres SE of which,
in the middle of a field (S 933 693) is a boulder with four
of them intact and each around 30 cms in diameter.
T 212 961
to the road is a pair (male and female) of stones one metre
high and two metres apart, standing on a little ridge - suggesting
that there might originally have been more. A nearby cairn has
O 212 177
for a more recent photo
km W by N of Enniskerry and 1.6 km S of Killegar Church (with
interesting 12th century cross-slabs), close to a lane running
N from the road to Glencree, this unmarked tomb is picturesquely
sited under a small tree. It may be a large megalithic kist,
with a capstone 1.6 metres long supported by 2 long slabs. The
two end slabs have been displaced. The site has recently become
km SW in Kilmurry (O 227 139) is a fine standing-stone
somewhat pathetically situated next to a rough football-pitch
and beneath power transmission-lines. Visible through a roadside
gate, it is a chunky block of beautiful red stone some 1.6 metres
high, in the middle of a field, best viewed (as below) when
~ 2.2 km NNW in Onagh (O 197 193) in a hedge to the NE
of a by-road, half-way between Parknasilloge and the wedge-tomb
at Ballyedmonduff, county Dublin, is a sadly-overgrown,
collapsed portal-tomb with an impressive capstone still partially-supported,
which is said to have been in situ only 30 years ago.
The portal stones are 2 metres high. The inside of the chamber
uprights have a thin layer of quartz
as in the passage of Seefin (below). At Winter Solstice
the sun rises significantly from the lowest dip in the hillside-horizon
to the SW of the tomb.
S 902 732
some reason I did not include 'The Ring of the Rath'
in this guide, although I visited it some time in the 1970s.
I have no notes on it, so I will, apologetically, direct readers
of the Dawn for an excellent description and
good photographs of the site.
O 184 014
are situated in the old graveyard in the townland of Ballynacorbeg.
One is just inside the west wall of the graveyard, and is reached
by walking along the path from the gate, past the church. The
stone, at the bottom of some steps, has two depressions, one
of which is large and deep, the other smaller and shallower.
second is an octagonal, earthfast boulder just outside the W
wall. It has two very large bullauns, the larger being 40 cms
The third is located beside a little spring 15 metres NE of
the church, outside the graveyard enclosure. It is a low flat
earthfast boulder with a single depression about 15 cms in diameter
and 10 cms deep.
2.7 km NE at Knocktemple (O 206 029) is another bullaun
stone, sitting on top of a dome-like knoll which is bordered
on the S by a ravine created by a stream that runs down to the
reservoir to the W. On the edge of the ravine is the ruined
church of Knocktemple, and 35 metres to the N of it is the bullaun
stone, with a sinle depression some 35 cms in diameter. Uncharacteristically,
the upper surface slopes down.
bullauns can be seen at Baltynanima and Glendalough.
See also Kilbeg under Seefin, below.
4.1 km W, to the W of Lough Dan in Carrigeenduff, is
a large stone with petroglyphs on it - quite easy to find when
you know where it is: behind the mailbox for Bracken House at
O 150 031.
O 085 170
summit of Seefin hill, best approached from the Kilbride (South)
side of the hill, through about 200 rising metres of heather,
the kerb-surrounded cairn of this massive tomb is 24 metres
across and 3 metres high.
the N side a narrow passage, 7 metres long, leads through an
imposing entrance into the now-roofless chamber. This is shaped
like a 'Cross of Lorraine' with five recesses, two of which
are marked by sills. One of the surviving granite corbels near
the entrance has a faint decoration of five lines like a hand
or ship. Two of the orthostats of the right-hand side of the
passage are faintly decorated with concentric lozenges. Other
stones in the passage had a thin layer of quartz on them. An
equal-armed cross reported to have been on one of the roof-stones
was probably Early Christian. The tomb has probably been open
for two millennia, and is in a very parlous state due to modern
damage and official neglect. For more information click
km SW, in a sloping, boulder-strewn field overlooking Poulaphuca
Reservoir (O 022 102) in Kilbeg, is a fine bullaun stone
some two metres long by one metre wide and 20 cms high. Six
large depressions measure from 20-25 cms across and up to 10
Just under 11 km SE, on the N side of Djouce Mountain
(O 173 105) is "The Coffin Stone", a five-metre long
capstone of a collapsed dolmen. This monument is worth visiting
only in very good weather.
N 960 023
On a little raised
platform, three "Piper's Stones" (each a little over
1 metre high) remain of what was probably a five-stone circle.
If so, they are the two portal stones and the axial pointing
SW. The axial stone has a deep notch in the top, which, with
its tapered sides give it a heart-shaped profile. 200 metres
N is a circular feature 10 metres in diametyer which is either
a henge or a hut circle. The raised bank is just under 1 metre
high, and there are two stones set in the northern part of the
bank. A low spot on the eastern side marks a possible entrance.
~ 200 metres S (N 960
021) is another stone circle: The tops of four of the stones
stand about 1 metre above the blanket-bog. The 1.5 metre-long
axial stone is flush with the surface. The central axis of the
circle is, uinusually, E-W, with the axial stone to the east.
Lying nearby are remains of at least two more stone circles
and several stone rows or possibly even avenues.
~ 9.2 km SSW is Castleruddery
stone circle (see above under Athgreany).
~ 6.1 km NNW are the
many more "Piper's Stones" at Broadleas, county
Kildare (see under Punchestown).