Monday 13 February 2012

Protection and Neglect. Two sides of Clodagh

Clodagh Stone Circle
13th February 2012

Another sunny morning, another day at the stones !
Today I have a definite target in mind. Clodagh Stone Circle and Stone Row.
To get there, we have to drive out through Drimoleague again, then take a left turning up the Clodagh Valley.
It all seems pretty straight forward and for once it actually is !

Clodagh Stone Pair
We know that the circle is up on the right and that there are two Standing Stones to the left and there, right on cue are our stones. The Clodagh Standing Stones, which are called Pookeen Alignment by Roberts, stand in a clearing right by the side of the road. A new sign lists this as a National Monument  !
The two stones, One large and one small  are set on a NE-SW alignment like many others..
Clodagh Stone Circle is Situated on a ridge on the Western slope of Milane Hill at a height of 180m. There's a gate to climb over and a bit of mud to negotiate, before the easy walk up the hill to the circle.
On first sights, it looks a bit overgrown, but as you get nearer you realise that the gaps in the circle have been filled in with large stones and that, the inside has been piled with rocks both large and small. With a covering of grass and brambles, this poor neglected circle has been treated with complete disrespect !
It is such a shame, because all the stones are upright and in position. It could and should be a perfect little five stone circle.
Clodagh Stone Circle

Clodagh Stone Circle

There are two nice outliers forming an alignment NE-SW,
The circle itself, as I have said, is a five stone recumbent circle, though the extra stones make it look like seven. Again it's on a NE-SW alignment. Roberts has the astronomical orientation of 230 degrees pointing to the Winter Solstice.
Views across the valley are extensive, with the hills of Cnoc na nAbhann, Dereenacrinnig and Mullaghmesha all prominent.
Clodagh Circle Stone Row

Back down to the car and we set off in search of a standing stone marked on the OS map near Castle Donovan. We do a left, a right and another left and we are on pot hole central ! The suspension on our poor old car will be groaning tonight !
Nearly 2 miles down the road and we see the stone to our left and there is a handy gateway for us to park and have a look.
It's situated on a small hillock, with views in all directions. The big hills of Derreenacrinnig and Mullaghmesha of course to the North, and miles of rolling velvety green fields in the other directions. I haven't got a clue what this stone is called, but I am sure that it is in the townland of Garranes North and is about a mile East of Castle Donovan.
Garranes North Standing Stone

Garranes North Standing Stone
Well we've had three out of three so far, but next we're going to catch up on a few birds on the Sheeps Head Peninsula.
We drive over to Gerahies and amongst the commoner species there in the bay is an Iceland Gull, a summer plumaged Mediteranean Gull, two Black Guillemots and a Great Northern Diver. In Bantry we see another Iceland Gull in the harbour.
Rocks at Gerahies
We start to head home, but can't resist one last little excursion and turn off to see if we can spot any of the Kielnascarty stones from the lane. A farm Collie rushes out at the car, usually they like to head butt the tyres, but this one instead of chasing, runs in front, looking round at us as he goes. Occasionally he stops and barks at the car, then runs on... it really is quite funny to watch.
Eventually he gives up and lets us past. It was almost as if he led us out of his territory.
It's getting a bit dimpsy now, so we head up to the car park near Knocknaveigh and watch the sun going down over Bantry Bay. The wind is starting to get chilly now, so we head down the Vaughan Pass and towards home... Joanie noticing another stone away to our left....but that's one for another day !
Sun setting over Bantry Bay

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