This is the most well known, and most visited, megalithic monument in west Cork. The site consists of a recumbent stone circle, a fulacht fiadh and the remains of some stone huts. Originally the stone circle comprised of 17 large upright sandstone pillars and a horizontal recumbent/axial stone. Today 13 large stones remain including two portal stones in the NE. The recumbent stone has traces of two cup marks, one with a circle surrounding it. The circle is believed to be aligned to the Winter Solstice- the winter suns sets in a little notch in the hillside directly behind the recumbent stone. The flattened ridge the circle lies in (Drombeg means small ridge) has been found to be man-made, constructed and designed to make the most of the spectacle at mid winter. The site has been excavated in 1957 and five pits were found within the circle, one containing the charred remains of a cremated youth. Speculation abounds that he was a sacrificial victim and the recumbent stone the place of slaughter.
40m to the west are the remains of two inter-connected hut circles. Nearby is a fulacht fiadh, or cooking place, with contains a well, a hearth and lined trough. The trough was used for cooking meat - probably for ritual purposes. Experiments at the time of excavation have shown that the trough could contain 70 gallons of water. It was heated by placing red hot stones within it and could be kept going for three hours, long enough to cook large pieces of meat.
Although this site has a rather manicured feel to it, you can't fail to be impressed by the large and complex site. It's in a fantastic position, on a flattened ridge looking out to the sea a mile and a half away. From the little offerings left at the entrance to the solid enigma of the stone circle, to the more human remains of the huts and cooking area, there is much to ponder on. The first time I visited, we had the site to ourselves and were leisurely communing with the stones (they are very huggable) when we heard the sound of distant drums. A coach party of ladies, all of a certain age and in sensible big cardigans, flowed out into the site and started to dance and chant. We were invited to join them but retreated quickly. The last time I went, a family were at the site, parents, and two teenage girls sitting astride the stones. The father was instructing the girls about the energies and sacrifices,and they were listening with teenage insouciance. The site obviously still means all kinds of things to all kinds of people. As it should.