Grange Stone Circle
Mysterious stone circles dot the landscape of Ireland captivating travellers with their spiritual presence. Grange Stone Circle is one of the finest and it sits in the beautiful landscape of Lough Gur, an ancient sacred lake in Limerick, which is surrounded by prehistoric ruins, ring forts, megalithic monuments, romantic castles, and ritual enclosures. The area is steeped in mythology and spirituality, the Grange circle itself named after the sun goddess Grainne.
Grange stone circle, also known as Lios na Gráinsí (Gaelic for “Fort of the Grange”), is located just west of Lough Gur, and it is one of eleven stone circles that are known about in the surrounds of this special lake. But it stands out above the rest – it is the second largest in the whole of Ireland and contains the greatest number of upright standing stones anywhere in the British Isles.
The Grange Stone Circle was built at least 4,000 years ago but may go back as far as 6,000 years. It is a complete ring made from 113 stones that stand upright in close proximity to one another. The largest stone is Rannach Chruim Duibh (Crom Dubh’s Division) which stands over 4 meters (13 feet) high and weighs 40 tonnes (2200 lbs)! The circle is sunken into the surrounding landscape by about 1.2 meters (4 feet) and it is 45m (150 ft) in diameter.
The entrance to the circle approaches from the east and is perfectly aligned with the rising sun at the Summer Solstice. It is paved and lined with even more upright stones. The entrance stones are echoed on the southwest side of the circle by a pair of orthostats, whose tops slope downwards towards each other to form a v-shape.
The formation is a perfect circle, this combined with the central posthole suggests that the perimeter was measured out using a central pole and rope to mark the ground. Along this perimeter, there are 12 “orthostats” (large and slab-like stones that are usually situated upright) that have been placed at regular intervals. The perfect geometry and the orientation suggests that the site was used for ritual purposes. In fact, it is used in a similar way even today. Every Midsummer’s Eve people gather for festivities which end at dawn as everyone watches the rising sun shine through the entrance passageway.
Below are a selection of photographs from my visit there.