One of my favourite sites in south-west Ireland is the Kealkil Stone complex. It’s not big, but it IS spectacular.
Looking out across the Ouvane Valley to the north and Bantry Bay to the south, the site is the largest of a line of stone circles and standing stones that runs along the spine of a mountain-ridge from East to West until it meets the bay. Most of the hilltops in this area are dotted with such sites.
The first thing that catches your eye when you approach the Kealkil Stones is the two stones in the centre of the complex. One is tall and thin, the other short and broad. They remind me very much of The Cove stones at Avebury. Here are pictures of both so you can see what I mean:
Apparently the tallest stone at Kealkil was once six feet higher than it is now, but it broke and had to be shortened when it was re-positioned.
As well as the two large stones, there are two circles at Kealkil – one of five stones about chest-high and an even older stone circle that is largely hidden in bushes and is made up of stones that are no more than a foot high.
Even though some 50% of sites like this have been destroyed since the second world war, the south-west of Ireland still has plenty (more than anywhere else in Europe). I love to visit them, to sit quietly, to listen, feel, breathe. Each has its own unique qualities, it’s own tales to tell. But I have a soft spot for the Kealkil Stones.
There is something about the site that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. On one visit the mist came tumbling down from the tops and we were suddenly enveloped in a silent white shroud. Time stopped and if someone from 5,000 years ago had emerged, I wouldn’t have been surprised!