Shronebirrane stone circle, Kerry, Ireland
To find this circle you need to follow the brown signs inland from the R571 Beara peninsula coast road after passing through Lauragh village. More information can be found at the Isle of Albion site.
After wending our way along a single track road that snaked along a valley floor for what seemed like an eternity we end up at a small car park next to a long farmhouse. We are surrounded by beautiful and tall hills, yet the valley is wide enough for us to catch the remainder of the solstice day’s rays.
As we pass the farmhouse we are met by the owner who charges us a nominal fee to enter the site in what is effectively their back garden. Their sheep wander around the circle leaving small black deposits.
I begin my investigations outside of the circle, whilst Kal heads straight inside, as he often does. I dowse firstly for the Spirit of Place for the site and find that the circle has one. Good. I ask to be shown where the spirit is, and I am taken all around the outside of the circle, threading in and out of some of the stones. That’s unusual, but vaguely familiar! I’m sure I found the same energy form at Cerrig Pryfaid near Conwy years ago. After my third perambulation I am back on the same track again, so it would appear that the spirit forms three discernible circles of energy around the stones.
When I ask to connect with the spirit I am taken by the dowsing rods to stand at one of the stones which lie to one side of the circle. Here I can connect with the spirit, and I learn that she is born of the surrounding mountains and that she has been at this circle for thousands of years.
Uragh stone circle, Kerry, Ireland
The solstice day is picking up in terms of weather. The sun comes out as we pick out way slowly down the narrow track which we hope ends at the picturesque stone circle of Uragh. We park when we can drive no further, and walk to a small rise between two lakes, and suddenly the view becomes amazing in all directions.
As Kal went straight into the circle I walked to the top of the rise to give myself an overview of the area. There was a large recumbent stone on top of the small hill, and this became my base from which to observe. I could see other people milling about in the area admiring the views and visiting the circle. I would wait until the place felt calmer before I descended.
When the coast was clear I came down to visit the circle. I waltzed around it seeing if I could sense the right place to approach it. There was a ritual creation on the grass a few feet away from an opening in the rib-like structure of the smaller set of standing stones. This was the entrance point that I felt was right for me. Clearly, it was right for someone else too, and they had got there before me. I approached the oval of stones, a shape typical of this region, and introduced myself to the site, hoping to catch the attention of the Spirit of Place.
I noticed that my black wings (see previous posts) once again gave me an unhindered access and an immediate welcome to the site. That is so refreshing! It was like having a calling card, or a free pass. I felt the Spirit of Place react to this and to my druid name. It would also seem that my family name has some resonance in these parts too, although not the same power as when I am farther north in this island. As I settled to lie down (the obvious thing to do in the slight depression) I felt comfortable, and the sun shone through breaks in the clouds to light the scene.
The Spirit of Place introduced himself as Igneorl. It sounded like it was based on the word “igneous” – a classification of rock. Now it was time to get to work.
Dromagorteen stone circle, Kerry, Ireland
Dammit! I’ve missed a post and now they’re slightly out of order. This is the sixth post of my Ireland summer solstice story. Sorry that I have posted it after the seventh! I don’t know how I missed it because this is a really important post, full of magical happenings and some astonishing recovered knowledge.
We are the first to park in the wide car park at the Bonane Heritage Park site. We head for the information hut nearby to buy tickets. As I buy the tickets the old man behind the counter says, in a thick Irish accent, that it is a shame we ave missed the solstice sunrise at the circle. The conditions were perfect today, he says. I make a note to check when I’m up there whether that was the most energetic time to be in the circle. First, we have to get there!
There are a few common features of stone circles – they are usually in a beautiful setting, and they are usually near the top of a hill. Such was the case of the Dromagorteen circle, which is perched half way up the mountains which lie directly East of the circle. The setting affords an incredibly encompassing view across the Sheehy Valley. Of course, it was a hot and humid summer day, and so the climb was slow, steady and exhausting, but this was all rewarded by the beauty of the site and its views. Beauty seems a strong factor in the placement of stone circles, I feel.
Although attracted by the circle I was firstly drawn strongly to an area which had an information sign in front of it. The area was described as a “cooking pit” (Fulachta Fiadh) – presumably based on some archaeological findings in that area.
“Other theories suggest that the sites may have been used for bathing, the washing and dyeing of cloth, and leather working. Supporters of these theories point to the fact that no remains of foodstuffs have been found at the fulacht fiadh sites.” (source: Wikipedia)
I felt that it had a slightly different purpose than cooking meat, however, unless that was a metaphor. As I walk into the circle of small stones with its raised earthwork I feel like this is a place to meditate in, to prepare. I feel it is like a sweat lodge. As I sit in the cooking pit I feel like I’m actually in a cooking pot! The sun is nearly directly overhead and the day is already hot. I get sensations of overwhelming heat and dizziness beyond the direct physical sensations of the heat of the sun.
Cashelkeelty stone row, Kerry, Ireland
As we drive down the R571 (Ring of Beara road) towards Lauragh village I make a sudden and impulsive decision. There is a brown sign with a megalith on it, and I am sure I saw the words “circle” on it. I pull over at the next available parking space which is some half a mile down the road. Little did I know that if I have gone back I would have found a car park next to the sign. Hey ho! Only the first of a series of decisions that would make this journey more difficult than it needed to be!
The sign reads “Caiseal Coillte” or Cashelkeelty when rendered from the Gaelic into English. Sure enough, it’s a stone circle indicated on the sign, so we hop over the metal stile and head off into the dark and closely-knit fir trees. The day is humid which adds to the intensity of the climb up the hill, but after half an hour we are clear of the tree line and heading over the couple of rounded slopes that separate us from the ‘good stuff’ on the top. All told we climb for the best part of an hour before reaching the remains of a stone circle.
There is nothing of interest to us at the stone circle. Kal has moved on within seconds of arriving there, whereas I stay a while to ensure that it is of no interest. Yep – there’s hardly any energy here and certainly nothing worth wasting time over. A bit of a disappointment, but suddenly Kal is waving at me from the near distance. Is there something else to see further up the slope?
Kenmare – County Kerry, Ireland – 21st June 2014
We roll into town with clear instructions – the stone circle is just on the edge of the town, down Market Street. That’s true but for some reason we decide that the street designated as “market” must be the one with all the shops on it. Well, that was foolish! A long walk out and back means that we start the day off grumbling about how to put a sign up to name your streets in small Irish towns. We haven’t wasted much time, and soon we find the pristine, manicured stone circle at the end of a well-kept hedge-lined path. It feels like we’re walking on to a bowling green!
Bowlers on the Green
The circle is composed of beautiful stones – not too tall, but equally spaced, regularly sited, and overall the circle is impressive. The stone monument is enclosed on all sides by shrubbery, and on one side by tall trees. Other singular trees make themselves known too – a blackthorn and a hawthorn stand in solitary silence on the left-hand side, as though waiting to be noticed by the interested observer. I notice them. I’m interested.
There are a few others who have ventured out to the circle this special Summer Solstice morning – a young lady sitting at the far side, and an older lady who is wandering around watching what everyone else is up to. Tourist? Interested party? We find out later that she’s interested in all things “heritage” and is from the United States. Well, the odds were in favour of that, really!
Having dowsed to see if there is anything to do here – luckily getting a positive response – I ask to be taken to the starting point. I am taken on a huge inwardly-winding deosil spiral that takes me from weaving betweent eh outer stones to a point on top of the plat stone in the centre. I guess I have to sit here? I sit facing the solstice sun and just allow me aura to be cleansed of the modern world’s detritus. As this is Ireland and we’re in a small town it only takes a few seconds to be cleared and ready for the next stage of the adventure.
Still the first day of our Summer Solstice outing in Ireland. On our return through Ballinskelligs I stop off to phone home and see how things are. Standing on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean I watch the sun drifting lower as I chat to my wife. It is a beautiful scene, and I remember how powerful it feels to be next to the sea. At the moment it is calm and clear, but I remember when it rages how impressive it is too. As I finish my call I stand by the shore shifting large round pebbles with my feet – this day isn’t over yet. There is more to do, I feel. Today I am feeling the solstice energy, and I want ot make use of it. I go to re-join Kal who is waiting patiently in the car. We drive back off towards Eightercua again, heading back to the hotel in Kenmare.
Golf course or sacred site?
The sun is dipping and the light is fading quickly now as we leave Waterville behind us and climb the hill. On our right we see Skellig Bay Golf Course. Its entrance looks like an abandoned car lot. Then suddenly I see a line of tall stone on the ridge just above the entrance. What is that, I ask? We get excited about the possibility of one more site before the end of the day, and so I take the chance to drive off on to a track which runs alongside the gold course, and I park up. We walk back to the entrance in eager anticipation. Is it a folly? Decoration? Or a real site?
There’s a welcome chill developing in the air after the long day’s warmth, and without appropriate extra clothing we decide we should act quickly. We’re so “on fire” this evening that we simply have to see what these stones are all about, and we rush up the slope to investigate them.
June 20th 2014 – Coom Wedge Tomb, Ballinskelligs, Iveragh Peninsula, Ireland
We drove about an hour around to a different headland to find Coom Wedge Tomb. It is difficult to spot from the road, but it can be found by going down a small lane which appears to lead to only a few distant farmhouses. In a field on the left you will see the tomb, but parking is also difficult. As I have come to expect whenever I want to abandon the car in a place where no-one else can pass, then you can guarantee that someone will turn up who wants to pass. They did. Twice! Come on! There are only two buildings in that part of the whole island! Yet, at that moment I needed to park two residents needed to pass. I ended up parking almost in the field!
My preliminary dowsing indicates that there is something here for me, and that it is related to my ancestors. I am beginning to use dowsing as a means to confirm or refine the intuitive response that I am developing related to sacred places now. I would say that I feel it is an ancestral place for me first, and then the dowsing allows me to dig a little deeper and get re-assurance of these ideas.
I need to climb inside, so I find the only gap that will feasibly fit me and I wriggle into it, much to Kal’s amusement. Inside I lie down and despite the hard stony floor it is incredibly comfortable. Perhaps it is, relative to hours of driving on bumpy, twisty roads!
Inside the chamber I close my eyes and get connected. I feel like there isn’t the usual type of Spirit of Place here. Instead the spirit of place is an echo, a remnant of my own ancestors and their energies. Somehow, this is my chamber, it has housed people connected to me at some time. It knows about me already. Is this what happens when one is bearing the Black Dragon’s protective wings?