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Kealkil Stone Circle

stone circle, standing stones and radial cairn

This is a complex site consisting of a small stone circle, a radial stone cairn and two impressive standing stones.  The recumbent circle is small and compact, consisting of five stones. Two large standing stone act as portals. The tallest had fallen and in the 1938 excavation was re-erected. Originally estimated to be more than 5 metres tall, it's lost its top two metres but is still  highly impressive.  The radial cairn is a heap of stones, now with thorn bushes in the centre. It is kerbed by another circle of 18 upright small stone markers. Quite what radial cairns were originally used for remains open to debate. Few finds were made at the time of the excavation apart from two shallow trenches  containing dark soil fill. It has been suggested that these held wooden beams that supported an upright.

Nearby site: Breeny Mor

Follow the signs from Kealkil village; the road is steep, tiny and the parking torturous - but worth it!
OS Map 85: W054556

The last time I visited, I parked the car in the tiny layby and trudged across the very boggy ground in totally unsuitable shoes. But what an incredible sight - the views from this scrubby plateau are just incredible - you can see for miles out towards Bantry Bay or inland towards the mountains, obviously all part of the bigger plan, but tear your eyes away and focus on the equally extraordinary Bronze Age site. The stones are impressive and atmospheric, hard to make sense of but have a feeling of great power and awe. The cairn, now jumbled and difficult to read, has a real feeling oaf age and mystery. The thorn bushes decorated with little bits of rags, the stones from the cairn spilling into the grass and the tooth like upright stones of the surrounding circle just distinguishable. The standing stones are enormous, erect and powerful stern sentinels. The stone circle is tiny and cramped - how was this used?

Another pilgrim was visiting - a French girl on a dancing weekend in Ballyvourney, we pondered in dodgy franglais what we were looking at - sometimes words just don't do the job.