Bruff, Co. Limerick
Bronze Age people who lived around Lough Gur in 2100BC built Grange Stone Circle. It is the largest stone circle in Ireland. At dawn on midsummer's morning, they performed rituals at the stone circle that we know little about.
How to get there
From Limerick, take the R512 south to Ballyneety, transfer to R514 south toward Herbertstown, Grange Stone Circle is on the west side of the road before Herbertstown.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
Free entry. But Timothy Casey, who maintains the site, appreciates a 2 euro donation.
Grange Stone Circle
Grange Stone Circle is the largest stone circle in Ireland - meaning large in terms of circumference. The stones are of varying sizes, interspersed with tree trunks, forming a large ring. In the dappled shade, four calves nestle and nap inside the circle. They've left their mark on the space, so beware of stepping in cow paddies.
My imagination runs wild, visualizing the types of rites that were performed here. A large, flat rock looks like a sacrificial altar. What would it have been like, walking up to the ring during the middle of a ceremony?
The site is historically associated with the Summer Solstice. The last rain-free Summer Solstice in Ireland occurred in 1998. Timothy, the caretaker, shows me a photograph taken on that morning. It shows rising sunbeams passing though the narrow, stone passageway and focusing at the center of the circle.
We were going to come for midsummer this year, but we traveled to Kerry instead, scared out of Limerick by the rain. Timothy says the weather was foul this midsummer. I'm relieved to know we didn't miss anything.
Written by Liz O' Malley - Summer of Travel 2007