Enigmatic circles

Dawn mist at Grange Stone Circle, near the shore of Lough Gur, Co Limerick


A small number of Irish stone circles exhibit convincing evidence of intentional astronomical alignment at winter or summer solstice, writes Frank Prendergast. Photographs by Ken Williams

Ireland’s largest prehistoric stone circle lies on the western shore of Lough Gur in the townland of Grange, Co Limerick. Standing in its centre is to experience the enduring draw, magic and mystery that surrounds such megalithic monuments. I first visited there in 2015 to examine the validity of the many claims of astronomical alignment alleged to be inherent in the 113 upright structural stones of this national monument. The stones comprising Grange stone circle – one of three stone circles in close proximity with each other – are arranged in a near-perfect circle with an internal diameter of 45.6 metres. It is larger than Beltany stone circle in north Donegal by about half a metre.

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