Posted on December 31, 2018
Stone circles are often considered to be some kind of prehistoric seasonal calendar or places of ancient ceremony. The Grange Stone Circle in MB’s HX locality is the largest circle in Ireland, is some 45M in diameter and comprises 113 contiguous stones. It is supported by an earthen embankment, unlike circles of individual standing stones like the famous Stonehenge in England and others. It is estimated to be some 4,500 to 5,000 years old.
The earthen embankment is some 1m higher than the inside of the circle, suggesting that the Grange circle was used for some type of public ritual. MB is aware of the visit of an American psychic lady to the circle a number of years back. During a guided tour of the circle, she informed the local guide that she had seen visions of human sacrifice in the circle. This may have happened of course, but no evidence of such activity has even been encountered during any archaeological excavations. Coins belonging to the soldiers of Oliver Cromwell were discovered during one excavation which evidenced the overnight encampment of the soldiers before attacking the city of Limerick, some 12 miles north. Much Beaker pottery has been discovered at the lowest level of the embankment.
The Grange circle sees large numbers of pre-sunrise visitors on summer and winter solstice mornings. However, in the opinion of MB, the circle is not aligned in any way to the point of sunrise on these dates. Despite many theories of locals and others, nobody truly knows why the circle was constructed, or what purpose it served. It is known that the large stones were sourced from two or three nearby locations. The headstone (largest stone) weighs some 40 metric tonnes and is the largest individual stone in any circle in Ireland.
MB took the following shots today in late afternoon just prior to sunset:
Posted on June 19, 2017
On the morning of 21 June, two days from now, people will gather at the Grange Stone Circle in MB’s HX homeland to celebrate the arrival of the solstice sunrise. Alas, MB will not be present. But he will be thinking of them and of his previous visits on Solstice morning in recent years.
Good luck to all who will attend. Wishing for a cloudless sky.
Waiting for the sunrise. An MB shot from 21 June 2014:
Posted on February 10, 2017
Ok, Ok! MB knows that he has used this pic previously in the photo challenges, so quit your moaning. The theme is ‘Shadow’, and as MB is in possession (with full copyright) of the greatest shadow photo in the entire history of Shadow Photography, there was just no way he would not use his awesome shadow shot for this week’s photo challenge.
So, Ansel Adams (RIP – alas), Gregory Hysler, Steve McCurry and other MB Wannabees, eat your photo hearts out and gaze in wonderment at MB’s s**t-hot shadow shot (MB is also a poet!):
Evening of June 20th, 2015. Summer Solstice eve. Grange Stone Circle at HX, Limerick, Ireland. The setting sun throws a great tree shadow slap bang in the centre of the circle as a few suck-calves (Irish farming expression) laze in the evening sunshine.
Awesome or what?!
Posted on June 20, 2016
Good luck to all who will travel to the Grange Stone Circle tomorrow morning – before sunrise – back in MB’s Irish HX homeland. And well done to those who attended this morning – the actual true Solstice morning of 2016, today 20 June being the longest (daylight) day of the 2016 year. Read More
Posted on May 1, 2016
01 May is associated with Irish (Celtic) festival of Bealtaine (pronounced approximately – b-yowl-tin-a). It’s a celebration of the coming Summer season and a hoping for a good harvest from the fields some months hence. It’s also a time when you must be careful of the dastardly activities of the fairies, who are up to no good at this time. You must take measures to protect your home, your children and your herd of cows, lest they come to some harm.
From a W.B. Yeats poem:
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping
than you can understand.
So be careful of the pishogues tonight, throw a few primrose flowers inside your front & back doors to keep the bad fairies out, drive your herd of cows between two fires to keep the milk pure and prevent the cows milk drying up completely. But only on this night.
Read more of the Bealtaine festival on the Irish Archaeology blog site: http://irisharchaeology.ie/2011/05/mayday-and-bealtaine/
Be careful out there!
Some Spring flowers from MB’s trip home last week:
Posted on March 17, 2016
Happy St Patricks Day!
MB headed out early one morning in the final days of his trip home. He was at the lake not long after sunrise and was at the Grange Stone Circle approx 8am.
The Grange Stone Circle dates from the bronze age, making it approximately some 4,000 to 5,000 years old. Other local monuments date from an earlier age.
Some might consider that it dates from an older age, but exploratory excavations carried out in recent years down to levels below that of the circle, have discovered evidence that would appear to confirm the above approximate age of the structure. There is further exploratory evidence that there has been continuous human habitation in the HX/Grange/Lough Gur area since that time. That’s a lot of time!
The 113 stones were transported, probably on circular shaped logs rolling along the ground, from a nearby rocky hill called Knockderk. In years past, not too many, this hill was used as a quarry to produce stone for civil engineering purposes.
When you point a camera into the sun, the camera will automatically darken the photo. So the below photo seems as if it was shot a little earlier – just for those interested in the mechanics of cameras & photography. One friend commented that he thought the below shot was taken much earlier in the morning.
From the loughgur.com website. For the record – MB does not agree with some of the content:
Composed of 113 standing stones, the Grange Stone Circle is the largest and finest in Ireland. It was built c. 2,200 B.C. after the arrival of the Bronze Age People in Lough Gur. It is a ritual site akin to our churches of the present day and also served as an astronomical calendar. We can only speculate on the rituals which took place here but know that they were of great importance also to people from surrounding settlements. The circle is aligned on the sunrise of the summer solstice. Included in the archaeological finds were thousands of sherds of Beaker pottery. The breaking of Beaker pots against the standing stones seems to have been part of a ceremony. The largest stone is called Rannach Crom Dubh and is over 40 tonnes in weight and was transported over a distance of 3 miles.
Posted on June 12, 2015
The Summer Solstice festival in MB’s HX homeland is nigh and MB is homeward bound.
Mid next week MB will be on a plane heading to the furthermost point in western Europe and will be in the thick of the HX festival action. Lots of events to whet the appetite including: a night time lake shore planet & star gazing event organised by a local astronomy group, sunrise at the stone circle on solstice morning (circa 5am), charity solstice sunrise cycle from Limerick city to the HX lake front, the ‘long walk for a long day’ event which will involve a 3 hour walk around the hills and farm land surrounding the lake area on solstice evening, and much much more. MB is like a kid waiting for Santa!
For festival events check out the the following: http://loughgur.com/summersolstice2015/
Maybe catch up with one or two HX followers over there. All most welcome.
To give non-HX residents and new-comers to MB’s HX blog a flavour on MB’s homeland, herewith to drool over.
Posted on June 22, 2014
Posted on June 21, 2014
21 June 2014. Sunrise. Circa 5am. Grange Stone Circle. Limerick. South West Ireland.
The Gods gifted a clear sky and the the sun rose. A heavenly experience.
See also previous post.
A picture paints a thousand words. So MB gives you thirty six thousand words. So to speak.
Posted on June 19, 2014
MB is returning to the Irish homeland for a short break. Landing in Dublin tomorrow midday and then heading south-west to Limerick & HX. The following day, 21 June, is the day of the Summer solstice and MB will be up before dawn to take in the rising sun at the local Grange Stone Circle. Read More