Introduction

Not to be confused with the overpriced tourist trap that is Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne), the stone circle at Grange is Ireland's largest example. Most of the stones are not particularly large, but the circle is, at approximately 50 meters in diameter. It comprises 113 stones seated in a grass bank.

Location

The circle stands close to Lough Gur in County Limerick, which is an area rich in prehistoric remains. Access is easy - it lies just across a small paddock from a layby in the road. Rather than being trust property, the circle is on private land; with a suggested 2-euro donation box for upkeep of the fence.

The Stones

As I have mentioned, most of the stones are not huge. Certainly not on the scale of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. The largest, named Ronnach Croim Duibh, weighs an estimated 40 tonnes, and stands 13 feet high on the north edge of the circle..

To Ronnach Croim Duibh's left is another notable stone formation. This is said to represent Croim Duibh's lover - Eithne, the Corn Maiden. It is a stack of oddly shaped stones, which look rather out of place in comparison to the other megaliths.

Solstice

There is an entrance passageway on the east side, which on the summer solstice should theoretically channel the sun to shine on the tree on the opposite edge. Being in Ireland, the sun is a rare sight, and the last time it showed on the solstice dawn (at the time of writing) was in 1998. There is a newspaper article and photo in the shed on the edge of the field to mark this occasion.

Having met the landowner the previous day, we arrived for the 2002 solstice at 4:15am. The total company there consisted of twelve people and one dog. Although the sun didn't show (once again), it was really a special place to be on the solstice dawn. We left at 5:20 by which time we assumed the sun must be up.


Sources:
http://www.loughgur.com/stone_circle.htm
http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/browse.php?site_id=1588

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