Monday 13 February 2012

Ballyvackey, Lettergorman South & Reavouler

Lios near Reavouler
12th February 2012

It's a gloriously sunny Spring like day and the big outdoors is calling ! We're in the car and heading through the lanes to get out to the main road, but first, there's a quick stop to take a photo of the Standing Stone between Barryroe and Dromourneen, which is not marked on the OS map. Job done... and we're off again.
Dromourneen Standing Stone
It's going to be one of those days where you intend going to one lot of stones, but end up somewhere totally different.
When we set out today, thoughts were to head for Knocks South, Knocks North and all the Knocks stones in between. We even drove down the lane, where they all supposedly stand, but we just couldn't spot Knocks North from the road or from the creamery. We found the farm, who's field they are in, but maybe it was the massive German Shepherd standing guard outside, I just didn't feel like knocking today !
Only one thing for it.... head for Ballyvackey !
Even we couldn't fail to spot this one standing in the fields away to our left.
Luckily the farmer was working in the yard, so we asked if we could go and have a look. No problem !
It's only a short walk across the fields to get there, but first you have to negotiate the muddy area by the field entrance. Not too difficult... until I look round and J has just lost her shoe in the thick gooey mud. I retrieve it just as the black liquid is oozing inside... Nice !
Shoe back on, with Grimace on her face, Joanie squelches and I walk through the grass, flushing a Snipe as we go and step over the electric fence. Here we are.... at Ballyvackey Circle. It's a litle overgrown, with brambles covering three or four of the stones and a tree growing just inside the circle. There are seven stones standing, including the recumbant, all are in good condition. One of the Portal Stones is missing and judging by the gaps, there would have probably been nine stones originally. Set in the flat valley bottom just South of the Fealge River, the views aren't that spectacular. Rolling green hills to the North and trees to the South.
Ballyvackey Stone Circle

Ballyvackey Stone Circle
Roberts gives the astronomical allignment of 260 degrees as being possibly for the  Equinox.
A probable boulder burial lies just 150 yards North in the same field, with a possible fallen stone.
Walking back across the field, we flush a further two Snipe, giving out their squelching call as they zig zag away.
Next stop is going to be Lettergorman South, if we can find it, so heading back up the R599 we take a left just past the Creamery on the road signposted Reenascreena. In fact Reenascreena must be the most signposted village in the whole of West Cork. All roads seem to lead there.
We turn right at Woods Cross Roads and head up the hill, keeping an eye out to see if we can see Maulatanvally circle on our right. No sign of that, but we do find Lettergorman South easily. There's a right hand turn and a pull in. The farmer has obviously taken care of this circle. He has enclosed the area and installed a gate for easy access. The field stones that had been dumped in the circle have been cleared and the field grass freshly cut.
Lettergorman South Stone Circle

Lettergorman South Stone Circle
Also known as Knockawaddra, the circle is a recumbant five stone circle. One of the stones has fallen, but apart from that, the circle is perfect. A large quartz boulder lies just outside the circle. Panoramic views are to be had, with Carrigfadda dominating the area to the South West. Roberts gives the orientation as 226 degrees Winter Solstice and apparently the Solstice sun sets in a cleft between the hills to the West.
Turning back out onto the main road and then a left at the crossroads. This lane runs  along the top of a valley high above Curraghalicky Lake. There should be a ruined circle along here somewhere called Garryglass.
Broody Sky from Lettergorman South
Eventually we turn up in Drinagh then take the Skibbereen road. Joanie shouts "stone" ....and there in the field to the left is a fine standing stone. A quick 180 turn and we take the right to see if we can get access somehow. There's a fine Lios over in the field to our left and a gateway on the right. The stone is quite a way away, but a man in the corner house , shouts over and tells us to park just off the main road and wander through the field from his garden.
Reavouler Standing Stone

Reavouler Standing Stone
When you get to see the stone properly, you realise that it is split right down the middle, making it look like two seperate stones. Over 7ft tall it is an impressive stone, clearly visible from the road and well worth the effort to visit.
That's the last stone of the day.The light is begining to fade, the Sun is setting and the sky is burning red over Mount Gabriel as we drive towards Skibbereen.
Reavouler Standing Stone

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