A misty start to the day, but the forecast is for sunshine. The clocks went forward this morning and all the clocks in the house say something different, but I think that it's probably 10 o'clockish Irish Summer Time.
By the time we set off, the Sun is shining and it's turning into a glorious day. I've got four objectives today.... Cousane, Cappanaboul and 2 Maughanaclea Circles.
First we have to head through Bantry, then out onto the R585 via Kealkill and to Cousane. We park up at the farm, but there's no answer. No worry, we'll come back a little later. So we drive back towards Kealkill a short distance. There's a driveway with brown gates on the left hand side of the road and a place to pull in right opposite the entrance on the right.
We walk up the drive to the house and ask if it's ok to walk over to the circle.
No problem and we are pointed in the right direction.
There's a barbed wire fence to step over, then a small boggy area, where a small stream runs down through the grass. It's not difficult, we manage to keep our feet dry and there 30 yards or so away is the first circle of the day - Maughanaclea NE. A multiple stone circle, originally consisting of 13 stones. But now only 7 remain standing with 5 fallen. In the centre are 2 boulder burials in amongst the rushes. The circle is aligned NE-SW for the Winter Solstice and there are great views over to the Shehy Mountains on the opposite side of the valley.
This time, there's a car parked outside and I give the door a knock. A lady comes to the door and is happy for us to wander down to the circle. She points out the way. Through the field gate at the end of the barns and just go in a straight line towards the white house in the distance. There's a couple of fields and barbed wire fence to step over, before walking a short distance over the (dryish) bog.
On the way down through the field, I kneel down to check my bag and a little lamb runs over, nudging me wanting attention. His Mum is not best pleased though and calls him back. Ears back, he saunters back like a child who's been told off !
Next we are going to try to find the correct lane up to the second of the circles in Maughanaclea. It takes a couple of drive by's but we get there in the end. As a guide to anyone wanting to follow - there's a sign with BOAB written on it pointing the way. Reminded us of the Boab trees in Australia. Follow the lane up until it branches. Then pull in tightly to the field gate and walk up the right hand branch (the one that you wouldn't want to drive up in your car !). You come to a gate with a NO TRESPASSING sign on. Now, I'm not too sure where the Farmer lives for this site, so we just carry on, through the gate and along the lane. Pretty soon we pass the ruined walls of a Rath to our left. There's not a lot to see, it just looks like a big enclosure. This is about half way. Soon the track goes over some moorland and in the distance on the hill, we can see the large standing stone that sits right next to the circle. There's still a way to go, under a barbed wire fence (though we could have used the gate a ittle further on !!) then up the hill to the circle and stone.
It isn't until you are right on it, that you realise that the circle in fact lies in front (NW) of the Standing Stone . The vegetation is quite deep here and obscures this low five stone circle which is aligned ENE-WSW. All five stones are present and upright, though the axial stone is split horizontally. The standing stone to the SE dwarves the circle at 2.7 metres (8 ft 10 inches) in height. This whole valley is just littered with circles and stones. It's a secluded spot alright and a great place to just sit back, enjoy the views and take it all in and try to work it all out !
|Maughanaclea 5 stone circle|
|Maughanaclea 5 stone circle|
|Maughanaclea Standing Stone|
Sandwiches and drink bought.... Carriganass Castle just up the road is an ideal place to sit and picnic. Built on the banks of the Ouvane/Owvane River in 1541, this was one of four O'Sullivan Beare Castles. A couple of Grey Wagtails flit around on the rocks below as we drink up and head off to our final destination of the day - Cappanaboul Stone Circle.
Cappanaboul Circle is situated in rough moorland above the farm. It's an easy enough walk and I am accompanied by the farm Collie. A couple of gates to go through and a short climb up the hill and I am there.
A barbed wire fence surrounds the circle, It does detract a bit from the setting, but it's there to protect the stones from the cattle. Only 9 stones from an original 13 remain and there is a boulder burial in the centre. The golden grass in the circle is long and the ground very uneven. There could easily be more stones laying in there somewhere you would never know.
Jack Roberts states the orientation is 270 degrees for the Equinox and that the Equinox Sun sets over Slieve na Gaibhle - The Forked Mountain on the Beara Peninsula (The Stone Circles of Cork & Kerry).
I make my way back to the farm. Joanie is inside, and I join her to enjoy a cup of tea, a slice of cake and some good old Irish hospitality !
A perfect end to a great day out amongst the stones of West Cork