Having had such an amazing response to our previous social media vote of the most influential historical person in the area we chose this time to ask the public which building/structure in the area was their favourite. With wonderful snippets of history provided each day by committee member Pat Hayes we all learned some wonderful new facts about the buildings we pass by on a daily basis and others that had some surprising history behind them.
Again we were overwhelmed by the response and after a month of daily votes and some surprise early exits the winner was the Grange Stone Circle which beat the Bridges of Bruff in the final.
Being one of the oldest structures in the area it is well known near and far and a wonderful structure to have in our locality. Grange area itself was a mass of activity in around the late Neolithic period. The “Great Stone Circle” located on the main Grange to Bruff road near Holycross is the most prominent of the archaeological sites in the area. The largest in Ireland, 150 feet in diameter it comprises of a ring of 113 standing stones up to 2.8 m in height backed by an earthen bank. The largest stone is Rannach Chrom Duibh and weighs over 40 tons and stands over 13 feet high. The entrance stones are matched by a pair of equally impressive slabs on the southwest side, whose tops slope down towards each other to form a v-shape.
It was built c. 2,200 B.C. after the arrival of the Bronze Age People in Lough Gur. We can only speculate on the rituals which took place here but know that they were of great importance also to people from surrounding settlements and also served as an astronomical calender. It is aligned to the sunrise of the Summer Solstice.
When it was excavated thousands of pieces of Beaker pottery were found so it would appear the breaking of the pots against the standing stones was part of a ceremony that took place here. A near perfect shape and a posthole located in the centre would indicate the circle being measured out from a central stake with a rope.
The monument however may have had originally a smaller number of stones then are seen today. A number of documented accounts since the 1800’s have described its various additions and alterations.
For more information check out www.loughgur.com/
Cleary, R (2018). “The Archaeology of Lough Gur”. Wordwell.
Ó Ríordáin, S. P. (1951). “Lough Gur Excavations: The Great Stone Circle (B) in Grange Townland”. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (C) 54: 37–74.
Windle, Bertram C. A. (1912) “On Certain Megalithic Remains Immediately Surrounding Lough Gur, County Limerick.” Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature, vol. 30, pp. 283–306. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25502812