We arrived at Yvonne’s from Galway in the early afternoon. It was a nice, sunny day and she’d been enjoying sitting outside while waiting for us. We decided she had a good idea and sat outside for a while too.
Since we had some time before we had to worry about dinner, Yvonne suggested we visit an ancient stone circle that was only a couple of miles from her house. A short walk from the parking area, she said. Won’t take long, she said.
The site has two parts. One is called the “standing stones” and the other is the “stone circle.” They are a short distance from each other separated by a road. When Yvonne parked in the marked area (which was really just a large shoulder on the side of a country road), she forgot to point out the standing stones before we headed across the street and into the first pasture we had to cross.
There is a long-distance walking trail in the area called the Sheepshead Way. The Sheepshead Trail group worked with the farmer who now owns the land where the stone circle is located to fence off his pastures in a way to create a narrow path between fencing for the people who visit the stone circle. People who were able to see this site before the newer fencing was installed are not thrilled about it, but I didn’t think it was that bad. The fencing still allowed us to walk among the stones, but did make it hard to take a picture that would show all the stones together.
There were four or five of these stiles we had to cross. Laura was uncomfortable with them at first, but by the time we headed back to the car, she was up and over them like an old pro.
Before long, we arrived at the stones and it was truly amazing to see them and think about how old they are and that after thousands of years, they still stand. At least most of them do. We took time to walk around them and also look at the views from that spot. I loved being one of only 5 people standing there at the moment.
Yvonne says that this site hasn’t really been studied and no one knows how old it is. It is listed in some guidebooks specifically written for people looking for these types of sites, but otherwise it isn’t something that a lot of visitors know about or come across. There aren’t really signs on the roads saying “Stone Circle next left.” No gift shops or cafes waiting eagerly for visitors either.
This was one of my favorite experiences this trip. As some of you know, I was able to visit Stonehenge in England a couple of years ago –which was an amazing experience because of its history and how big the site is. The drawback was that Stonehenge is so famous (in 2018 there were 1.5 million + visitors) that we were there with several hundred other visitors at the same time. Stonehenge has been “gift wrapped” to protect the site from visitors, which I have no doubt is necessary, but it creates a sense of not getting the full experience of being there. The high number of visitors creates a “noise” in a place that is sacred. At the Dunbeacon circle, it was a marvelous chance to feel the “quiet” and peacefulness that permeates a site like this.
After we’d left, Yvonne realized she’d forgotten to point out the standing stones, which are considered part of the site (but a short distance away as the crow flies). A couple of days later when we were on the way back from somewhere else, she detoured back to the area and we got a chance to see the standing stones too. There are only two.
Categories: Stone Circle, Dunbeacon