Thursday 17 April 2014

Arderawinny at long last !

13th April 2014
I have been meaning to visit this site since I moved here in 2011. I have lost count of the number of times that we have driven by on our way further down the Mizen and I have said "next time" Today is the day that I will put that right.
The sun is shining and it's a beautiful day here in West Cork. We drive through Ballydehob and Schull heading for Arderawinny Portal Tomb. There are a few stopping spaces either side of the road, one at the top of the hill and two more a hundred or so yards further on towards Toormore.
I have a rough idea and an even rougher map of how to get across to it. The first attempt through the bottom field was unsuccessful when I come across an impenetrable thicket of Brambles and vegetation. There are a couple of newly arrived Willow Warblers, warbling away in the willows - my first of the year so not a complete waste of time.

I walk back up the hill to the highest point and look for a way in. There's a barbed wire fence which I manage to go under relatively unscathed. This is when I discover that there is actually a gate 50 yards further up !!
Anyway..... once through, there is a track of sorts going left then veering right. A small easily negotiated boggy area tthen over to the stream. There's another barbed wire fence, but it's an easy one to duck under or step over depending where you decide to cross. Over the stream and over to the "cliff" and there is Arderawinny Portal Tomb. This is one of only two portal tombs in  Cork. Unusually, the entrance faces into the cliff. Two overlapping capstones rest on the portal stones and door stone. The whole tomb leans heavily to one side ! and is aligned NE-SW.
The vegetation that I have seen in many photographs has been entirely removed.
This place is well worth making the effort to visit. It is actually only about 100 yards from the road and easy to get to (once you know how !!)

Return to Templebryan

7th April 2014
I'm in the Clonakilty area, so decide to drive up to Shannonvale and a quick look in on Templebryan Stone Circle
Having parked up it's an easy walk and step up into the field where Templebryan circle sits.
Five stones remain, four upright and one fallen as well as a central quartz stone.
it is thought that there were originally nine stones to the circle.
It was good to see that the brambles that were starting to become rather intrusive last time that I visited had been cleared back

Another day on The Beara

25th March 2014
My Son is over for the week, so we thought that we would take him over the Healy Pass and around the Beara Peninsula.
The weather isn't too bad, a few showers mixed in with some sunshine and plenty of cloud. The road through the Healy Pass is as beautiful as ever and we make the obligatory stop at the top for photographs and to admire the magnificent views. The sky is moody and the wind is fierce as it brings a shower our way.
We head over the top and into Kerry,following the road down to the small cluster of houses on the right. This is Clogherane Townland and our first "stone stop" of the day.
A short walk up the track brings us to a standing stone in the field on the right and a stone pair in the field to the left. The farmer tells us to "work away" and we head over to the stone pair.
It's a dramatic setting. Knockowen towers above us to the East, Knockastumpa to the North and the big hills of Lackabane and Eskatariff over to the West,

The row itself is aligned NNE-SSW, with the larger of rhe two stones at the NNE. It is 2.6m in height x 1.5m x 0.4m. The smaller stone is less than half the size at 1.16m high x 0.6m x 0.5m.
The Sheep in the field are very curious and come over to see what is going on.
Next we head over the track and into the next field for the single standing stone. This stone is aligned NNE-SSW and is 1.3m high x 0.79m x0.46m (all measurements are from the NMS). There is supposed to be a small cairn just 6m to the South East, but there is no sign of it anymore.
We drag ourselves away from this wonderful place and head towards Lauragh. It's sad to see that the little sibin and Murphy's pump by the old bar is looking rather neglected and run down.

Getting onto the coast road, we head back into Cork, through Ardgroom and Eyeries. Stopping every now and then for photographs.
Just after Eyeries is a lane down to Pallas Strand. The end of it ends abruptly. The road smashed up by the recent storms. Walking along the strand, I notice a large white Gull, on the far side - It's a 2nd year Glaucous Gull an unusual winter visitor to these shores from the Arctic.
Heading back up the lane, we take a right turning into Coulagh Townland and find a large standing stone at the fields edge. Another stone sits further down the field. There should be five stones in the fields here, but we can only see the two from the road. The fields are full of Sheep and new born lambs, so we content ourselves with some photo's from the roadside.

The largest and nearest stone is a massive 2.8m high x 2.11m wide and set NE-SW.
Further along the coast road is Trevara Strand. We park up down here and I get permission to wander over and see the stones at Ardacluggin. It's a soggy walk over to another massive stone. Once again, the Sheep show an interest and I have a whole flock following my every move.
The stone is 3m high x 2,25m wide x 0.35. According to the NMS it is a recent addition - being put up around 1955. The OS have it marked as a standing stone. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out any more details about it
Another stone nearby stands against the field ditch. This one is 2.9m x 1m x 0.55 and is set NE-SW. It's all a bit confusing.....

 We carry on through Allihies and Cahermore, with a brief stop at the quay in Cahermore. There standing on the edge of the quay, is our second Glaucous Gull of the day. Another 2nd year bird. A Peregrine makes a flyover, whilst we watch the gull.
As usual,time is getting on, so we head back through Castletownbere and Adrigole. We stop for a quick look for Seals in Adrigole Harbour before heading home, and sure enough, there are several laying on the rocks in the bay.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Rain stops play at Lettergorman

7th February 2014
We had intended visiting a number of stones today - Glanbrack, Maulatanvally quartz stones and more. As it turns out though - the heavens open up as soon as we arrive at Lettergorman South five stone circle and the rain gets heavier and heavier. We manage a couple of photographs before leaving. Disappointing but can't be helped. Match abandoned for the day !

Mizen Peak

6th February 2014
An unusually bright, mild, sunny, Spring like day today. Time to visit the Mizen !
I have been reading through William O'Brien's book Ivernia and noticed a photograph of White Strand near Crookhaven. We knew about the ancient field boundary in the bay but O'Brien mentions that the massive stone nearby is a possible Standing Stone. As it happens, the tide is on the way out so I have a wander over for a look. It is actually in the Townland of Ballynaule and a fine stone it is too. Too large and too isolated to be part of the field boundary it seems a very good candidate, for a Megalith. Aligned towards the hill at Brow Head NE-SW.  The ancient field boundary runs E-W and is still partially submerged. It consists of 15 stones plus an isolated one several yards on. There's a Great Northern Diver floating around the bay. Always a nice bird to see. A couple of Stonechats flit around and the ubiquitous pair of Ravens call overhead.

Back to the car and a quick look over Galley Bay for Divers and Seals. Only a Cormorant there today though. In Crookhaven, there are a couple more Great Northerns of the pier.

While the weather is so good, I am going to have a trek up to the signal station at the Mizen and then up to Mizen Peak ( Carn Úi Néid). Even at this time of year with the visitor centre closed, there are a few cars around. A quick jump over the gate in the middle of the car park and a dash straight up the hill. A Snipe flies up startled, making it's familiar squelching call. The hill is quite steep (and wet !), but soon enough levels out. The signal station comes into view and I head in that direction. It's in a ruinous state, just a shell.

Mizen Peak dominates the North Western skyline and it is to there that I am off to next. Heading in a roughly NW direction across the short heather and grass moorland, I skirt around a small hill and head for the boundary wall that divides the Townlands of Cloghane and Caher. The wall climbs the hill, going through a handy sort of gateway and up to the Trig Point which is at 232m (761ft) isn't the biggest of hills, but what a view. You can literally see for miles and miles. Sea, Mountains, green fields wow !
A little further on along the ridge is Mizen Peak itself. The cairn of unknown date  is the focus for many megalithic monuments. It's unique shape visible from as far away as Kealkill circle.
I return the same way having another look at the signal station en route.

Friday 7 March 2014

Canrooska, Currakeal and Reenmeen in the hils above Glengarriff

23rd January 2014
The site with everything
Driving into Glengarriff, there is a lane right next to the Eccles Hotel that takes you up high up into the hills above the town. There is a left hand turn. Follow this road which will eventually take you up to a big green barn. Luckily a Farmer gave us directions half way up.
Park up by the green barn, then follow the old green track past the ruined farmhouse. This brings you out onto the rough open moorland. The weather isn't brilliant today - grey skies and drizzle, but there is a break in the rain.
The first stones come into view as you hit the moorland. A fairly large standing stone, next to a radial cairn circle. The stone in the Northern tip of Reenmeen West Townland is aligned NE-SW and stands at 2m x 1.5mx 0.7m and is set just 3m from the radial cairn circle. There are commanding views over Bantry Bay and over to Sugar Loaf Mountain to the SW. The radial cairn is made up of 6 low stones, set in a circle of around 7m diameter.

There are plenty of barbed wire fences marking Townland boundaries to be negotiated to reach the rest of the stones.Some are easier to get over/through than others !
About 500m NNE is a three stone alignment. Unfortunately, the barbed wire fence forming the boundary between Canrooska and Currakeal Townlands runs straight through it, which spoils it somewhat !  They run ENE-WSW the stones are evenly spaced and range in height between the smallest stone at the ENE 1,05m, middle stone 1.35m and WSW stone 1.45m. A boulder burial lies some 50m to the NE but I'll look at that one on the way back.

The weather is still holding out as I head NW towards Canrooska circle and row. It's about 100m to the NW but isn't easy to pick out amongst the deep heather and gorse.
It becomes clearer the nearer I get. This small 5 stone circle has 1 stone missing. Once again the alignment is NE-SW. Another 3 stone row sits just South of the circle. The largest stone lies flat in the heather. Measuring 4m it would have dwarfed the other two (0.7m and 0.4m respectively). Like it's neighbour on the hill it is aligned ENE-WSW. A small cairn makes up this trio but is more or less buried in the undergrowth.

Another standing stone stands about another 100m higher up the hill NNE of the circle. Again it is not obvious in the deep heather, and I find it more by luck than judgement.
This one is 1.8m high by 1.5 x 0.6. Aligned E-W

Heading back for another look at the circle, then over to the barbed wire fence. This one is perhaps the hardest to get over, but I manage it with dignity just about left in tact and wander over to the Boulder Burial. Four supports hold up a hefty large stone.

I wander back over to the row and follow the fence down to find a suitable place to get over - well under is easier this time !. The drizzle is starting again so I retrace my steps back to Reenmeen Stone then back to the green lane and the car. There was some rock art somewhere, but I didn't get a chance to look properly for it. All in all though a very interesting complex, consisting of a huge variety of different sorts of megalithic monuments, but obviously all connected. I'm going to have to make a return visit when the sun is shining.