Wednesday 14 March 2012

Baurgorm, Cullenagh and Gortnascreeny

Nowen Hill and Cullenagh Lake
13th March 2012

It's a grey start to the day, but the Sun is starting to show signs of life, so we are going to head off to Baurgorm Stone Circle today.... then just see where the road takes us after that !
To get to Baurgorm we take the same route as yesterday and park up by the O'Neill monument. Joanie decides to sit this one out and has a look around at the shrine to Our Lady Of Trolibane instead.
It's a bit of a trek back down the road and up the lane, following the Sheepshead Way footpath to Knocknaveagh. A farm Collie comes over to say hello, wanting a bit of attention.
Finally I get to the stile that takes me from the road and into the hills. I realise that I could have saved myself most of the walk. There's room to park by an abandoned farmhouse just 100 yards from the stile.
Not to worry, it's a lovely day, the birds are singing and the hedgerows are starting to come to life.
Once over the style, its only a hundred yards or so until I see the top of the large stone poking up over to the right. It's now just a matter of finding a good place to hop over the fence. Easily done, I'm now heading over to the circle.
Baurgorm Stone Circle

Fallen Stone at Baurgorm

Baurgorm Stone Circle
It's nestled in amongst the gorse, almost invisible from the West.
Another lovely five stone circle, aligned NE-SW. Four stones are upright and one fallen. Of the uprights one stone is split in two. This is at least the third example of a stone like this that I have seen in West Cork. Were they deliberately chosen like this ? or, has it happened over the years through weathering and ageing ?
Two stones sit five or so metres to the South. One is still standing at over 2 metres tall. The fallen one is over 3 metres and together these would have made an impressive sight.
Baurgorm Stone Circle

Baurgorm Stone Circle

Abandoned farm near Baurgorm Circle
Back over the fence and back down the lane. The Collie doesn't give me a second glance this time. He's curled up half asleep, one eye on the traffic as he guards his farm entrance.
A quick drink and snack at the car, before we head off through Trawlebane and take a right at the crossroads. Then a left fork followed by another left fork into Gortnascreeny Townland and there on the hill is our next stone.
The Farmer is on hand luckily and tells us to "work away".
This stone is a whopper ! in fact it's a stone pair, but the second stone isn't much more than a stump really and is completely dwarved by it's neighbour which is nearly 2 and a half metres tall.
The views from here are extensive. Mullaghmesha and the pair of hills Dereenacrinnig East and West are the most obvious landmarks.
There used to be another Standing Stone on the other side of the road,but this was removed a number of years ago.

 Next, we turn and head back towards Trawlebane crossroads, this time going straight over and then turning left at the T cross. A right turn next  and we pass Glanbannoo Upper. The big standing stone over to our left that we already know. Today we want to see the smaller one further down the road.
It's not easy to see over the hedgerow, but my ever trusty stone spotter sees it through a gap. It's not a big stone, about a metre high, more oblong than anything and is certainly overshadowed by it's big Brother (or Sister of course) up on the hill.
Glanbannoo Upper
At the next T cross we go right. I always get disorientated on this road, it feels that I am going in the opposite direction for some reason. That said, it's a beautiful road and there are great views across the valley to the Maughanaclea Hills. Our road eventually brings us to another T cross and we take another right, passing the Goulacullin and Farhane stones that we passed a week or so ago.
Another junction, another right and we are heading around the Eastern end of Nowen Hill. There's a pull in where you can see this spectacular sight with Cullenagh Lake nestled at it's foot. In it's own little way it's reminiscent of Snowdon and Glaslyn.
Nowen Hill and Cullenagh Lake
We stop and admire the scenery, as a noisy flock of 50 or so Fieldfare make their way through the trees.
A bit further along the road, we come to the remains of Cullenagh Stone Circle.
Only two stones now remain of what it is thought, was a five stone circle. There is a pile of large stones dumped by a field hedge but whether these are anything to do with the circle I am not sure.
There isn't a lot to say about this one, other than praise it's position at the South Eastern foot of Nowen Hill (Cnoc na nAbhann) " the hill of the rivers" and bemoan its demise !
Still, it's been a good day. A good two days in fact. We've caught up with a few local circles and seen some terrific scenery.
Cullenagh Stone Circle

Cullenagh Stone Circle


  1. The photo of the abandoned farm near Baurgorm Circle was where my grandmother was born. She married Patrick O'Sullivan about 1910 and lived in a farm house down the hill (where my mum was born) which can just be seen from the abandoned house.We were back there in 2011 and 2012 and have photos of us and my Uncle from Cork standing by the gate. My e-mail is if anyone wants to get in touch or has any connections.

  2. Just to let you know the picture of the old farmhouse was where my grandmother was born, my great grandparents lived there. My grandmother when she married lived with my grandfather not far from there and my mother was born in Baurgorm

  3. Thank you for the information Eileen. It must have been a wonderful place for your family to be born and bought up, though I suspect hard at times. It's a shame that the old farm house is now a ruin.