Keadeen : Stone Circle

CountyWicklow
Grid RefS 944 897
GPSS 94421 89668 (7m)
Longitude6° 35' 42.26" W
Latitude52° 56' 58.33" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownKiltegan (5.1 Km)
OS Sheet62
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

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Keadeen - Standing Stone
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 5th December 2004

I actually found this site after I went to the nearby standing stone (see Keadeen (County Wicklow)), which turns out to be an outlier to this previously unrecorded stone circle .

There are about 7 of a probable 13 stones still standing, including two radial entrance stones. A projected line thourgh these entrance stones from the centre of the circle passes through the standing stone.

I don't think that there can be any dispute that this is a stone circle, as it is just 1km or so from Boleycarrigeen (County Wicklow), which would be visible from here across the valley it it wasn't in the middle of a modern pine plantation.

On the north side of this circle, which is just 5m in diameter, there are traces of a bank, which would make it similar in design to Boleycarrigeen.

Standing stones, also called menhirs or monoliths, are the most simple of megalithic monuments. They are exactly what they say, a stone that stands with one end set into the ground. Being simple in form does not make them simple to understand, for they have served several purposes over time. Some were placed to mark burials, others were probably erected to mark boundaries or travel routes, the purpose of others is uncertain, but it may well have been ritual.

Standing stones can vary enormously in size from a under 1m tall to over 4m. Some have been purposely shaped (see Stone Of Destiny (County Meath)) and some must have been chosen purely for their shape (see Ballyvatheen (County Kilkenny)). Most standing stones are dated to be from the Bronze Age, but some are clearly older, especially those associated with passage tombs such as at Knowth (County Meath) and Loughcrew - Corstown (County Meath).

Others have been re-used in later times (see Kilnasaggart (County Armagh) and Breastagh (County Mayo)), perhaps to try and capture some of the powers of the old gods or to legitamise a claim to land.

Stones circles, put quite simply, are rings of standing stones, although not all of them are cicular, many being eliptical. Many have definite layout plans and often stone circles in one region share a similar style, e.g. Cork features many axial stones circles, where a recumbent stones faces an apparent entrance into the circle (see Drombeg (County Cork)).

They are the most well known of megalithic monuments and the ones most likely to capture anyone's imagination. Many theories exist about the original purpose of these enigmatic structures, the most popular (and at times most controversial) one is that they were built as astronomical observatories, many having apparent solar alignments with the sunrise and sunsets at the solstices and equinoxes. Lunar and star alignments have also ben noted.

No matter what the exact purpose it is certain that they played a significant role in the ritual or religious lives of the builders. One thing that nearly everyone has in common is that they are located in the most dramatic of places, usually offering unrivalled views.

Quite often other monuments, such as alignments, cairns, boulder burials or outliers, are to be found in close proximity to stone circles.

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Like this monument

Marked Sites

Miscellanea

The Wicklow Archaeological Inventory does state that the standing stone (see Keadeen (County Wicklow)) is in an enclosure within which there is at least one hut site. They could mean this structure, but if they do then I think they've got it wrong!

This is no hut site and the alignement of the entrance with the standing stone does go someway to indicating that it is more than a hut. Perhaps the whole site needs more investigation, especially as the Inventory makes no mention of the cairns just down the hill (see Keadeen (County Wicklow)).

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Stone Circles

About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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