Home page link

Prehistoric sites

Broadly speaking all monuments that appear in this section are pre Christian ie before the 5C AD, and include megalithic tombs, standing stones, stone circles and stone alignments.

Standing stones

Usually a single stone, also known as a gallan. Some may mark burials, others may be part of a larger ritual site.

Rooska Standing Stone
Standing stone
Boulder Burial, Ballycommane
Boulder burial and stone row
Kealties, standing stone
Standing stone
Holed stone, Caherurlagh
Holed stone
Murreagh, standing stone
Single standing stone
Stone pair, Kilcrohane
Standing stone, Dromclough
Standing Stone, Beach
Stone Circles

Most stone circles occur in West Cork and South Kerry where 112 examples have so far been identified.  They are usually axial or recumbent circles where the circle is laid out on an axis orientated to a specific direction. The axial or recumbent stone is usually laid out longways, faced directly opposite by two large upright portal stones, a sort of entrance. The purpose of the axis to is to provide a line of sight for a specific event - usually a sunrise or sunset.  Stone circles can have anything from 5 to more than a dozen stones. They date from the Bronze Age and  may  have a ritual, ceremonial or funerary purpose. Often they overlook the sea.

Stone Circle, Killeen North
5 stone circle
Dunbeacon Stone Circle
Stone circle, 11 stones
Gorteanish Stone Circle
Small stone circle, probably 11 stones
Stone alignments

3 or more stones set in a straight line. These date from the late Neolithic to  Bronze Age (2400 BC-500 BC). Their function remains unclear - ritual, astronomical , burial - all open to debate.

The 3 stone row
Stone Row, Maulinward
3 stone row
the gallauns
Stone row, Coolcoulaghta
Originally three stone row, two stones now standing
Stone row, Farranamanagh
A stone row of three stones, only one still standing
Wedge tombs

Wedge tombs are structures made out of large stones, consisting of a burial chamber originally covered with large stones, cairns or a clay mound. The most common type to be found in county cork is the wedge tomb. These usually date from the early Bronze Age (after 2000 BC) and can be identified by a long chamber  made of stones, originally covered with huge slabs,  113 wedge tombs have currently been identified in County Cork. They are often aligned to the mid winter and  mid summer solstice.

Passage cairn, Killeen North
Passage cairn