Drombeg Stone Circle

AKA The Druid's Altar

Drombeg is probably Irelands most famous stone circle, it is an axial stone circle with the recumbent or axial stone lying to the south-west. The circle consists of seventeen pillar stones that are graded from the two large portal stones, each 2 metres high, at the north-east towards the axial stone. The pillar stones are local sandstone and the axial has two cup marks, and what looks like an axe -carving, on it's upper surface.

Axial stones are found at thirty of the stone circles in the Cork and Kerry area. At the winter solstice the sun sets at a point on the horizon aligned with the axial stone and the portal stones.

Portal stones

Axial stone

Towards the centre of the image above are two stones, male left, phallic shaped and the female right lozenge shaped. The best time time visit Drombeg is probably early morning as there is an almost continuous flow of visitors to this site. During excavations by Fahy in 1957 a gravel floor was discovered inside the circle. A central pit under the floor contained an inverted pot covering the cremated remains of a youth.

Fulacht Fiadh and Huts

Also present at the site is a Fulacht fiadh a communal cooking pit with a hearth. Hot stones were taken from the fire and dropped into the water trough, recent tests have shown they could boil seventy gallons of water in about fifteen minutes. Pictured below are two circular stone huts conjoined by a doorway. The cooking area is just to the right of these huts. A stone path runs from the huts to the fulacht fiadh.

Conjoined huts

Fulacht Fiadh

Huts with circle

Situated: From Clonakilty take the N71 west to Ross Carberry, just after the causeway take a left turn onto the R597, then after about 4 kilometres take a left turn, sign-posted for Drombeg circle, there is a car park on your right about 400 metres down this road.

Discovery Map 89: W 2461 3521 . Last visit Sept 2012.

Longitude: 9° 5' 14" W

Latitude: 51° 33' 53" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey

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