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Cashelkeelty stone circles (Five stone circle & Multiple stone circle)

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Cashelkeelty Stone Circle is on the north side of the Beara peninsula, between Ardgroom and Lauragh. The location was set along an ancient track, known as the Green Road, that spanned a good part of the peninsula, connecting communities.

Five stone circle:

They were excavated in 1977 but no plans or sections were published (Lynch 1981:65-69). The Stone Row was built first, c.1000bc. It originally had four stones but the east-most one was gone before c.890ad. Just to the south, there was a large (1.5m x 0.5 x 0.6) slab-covered pit that contained no trace of burial, just loose soil washed in from above. The Five Stone Circle was built in the period 970-715 bc with a primary cremation, probably 25-30 yr old, in a central slab-covered pit. Some Standing Stones about 75m to the west were found to be the remains of a Multiple Stone Circle, which would be regarded as a slightly earlier monument and the archaeoastronomical survey data tends to confirm it.

The row and five stone circle stand side by side, close enough that they are effectively in the same place from an archaeoastronomical point of view. To the northeast, the sun rises from the south end of a mountain at the summer cross-quarters. Above it, the minor end of the lunistice cycle occurs on the rather serrated summit. North of that is obscured by forestry but a view from higher ground has been patched in. The scaling of that section should be fairly good but is unlikely to be accurate.

Both monuments are oriented eastwards towards Cummeen­baun mountain, a half-month north of the equinox. The last summit on the ridge that runs northwards from it is a half-month south of the summer cross-quarter. Halfway in time between them is the high point of the intervening ridge.

Multiple stone circle:

On excavation in 1977 (Lynch 1981:65-69), two Standing Stones and a third, prostrate stone turned out to be the remains of a Multiple Stone Circle. It was originally of 11 or 13 stones, diameter c.17m, but was destroyed before peat formation and considerable later disturbance. The only find, apart from stone sockets, was a flint scraper. No plan or section diagrams were published. This site is about about 75m to the northwest of Stone Row and Five-Stone Circle.

This location was chosen to utilize the slopes of Knocknaveacal as very sensitive indicators. The solstice has been mentioned. At lunar mid-cycle, the moon would rise at the foot of the hill and set again almost immediately, having briefly cleared the slope's lowest point by a semi-diameter. During the major half of the lunistice cycle, the most southerly moons of the month would never rise at all.

The tallest remaining stone is likely to be the western portal, thus the orientation of the circle would have been due south towards the eastern end of the hilltop which marked the halfway point between the cross-quarter and the winter solstice.

Literature & sources (retrived 10th november 2022):








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