Uragh Stone Circle

Uragh Stone Circle is one of the most beautiful places I have ever come across on all of my travels throughout Ireland over the last eight years. Our ancestors certainly knew what they were about when they chose this mystical places between two lakes, surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of volcanic mountains facing the sea on the Northern shore of the fabulous Beara Peninsula. It’s relatively easy to find too, although the access road of the main road from Kenmare gets quite narrow and twisty and you have to pass through a gate to get to the path that leads up to this megalithic site. There is a small entrance fee of €2 which seems fair enough that you can leave in the box beside the small car park (max 2 or 3 cars) but you will most likely have it to yourself. Even then, Uragh Stone Circle is still hidden from view until you reach the top of the small hillock and then what you will behold will catch you off guard and blow you away.... 

Uragh Stone Circle, Beara, West Cork

While relatively small as stone circles go in Ireland, I am thinking about Lough Gur in Limerick and Belthany in Tyrone, it’s only about 8 feet in diameter with just 5 large standing stones, towered over by a huge outlier which is more than 10 ft high. But it’s the backdrop of the stones against the magnificent waterfall thundering down the mountain in the far distance that gives this site a mystical quality and send shivers down your spine. Himself scurried back to the car as a nasty cold rain squall blew in from the North, but wanting a moment, I took refuge behind the huge monolith which strangely felt warm and safe as I contemplated how many others had stood in this same place and for what reason? No one knows for sure when (although most likely in the Bronze Age circa 2500 BC) or why these stone circles were built, whether they were temples for rituals or observatories from which to watch and track the passage of the sun, moon and stars....

Uragh Stone Circle, Beara, West Cork up close

Not that our interpretation really matters in the long run, we're talking 4000 years or more, which is a lot of history, so who knows what happened here or might again in the future. One thing I know for sure there are not too many places left in Ireland in the 21st century where you will find a touchstone to the past like this so unspoiled and private, surrounded by nature and open to the elements. As you can see Uragh Stone Circle had a profound effect on me and unless you are made of stone it will touch your soul as well....

Ken Williams has been photographing Ireland's megalithic sites for years and has some magnificent images of Uragh Stone Circle on his website Shadow and Stone. You can find more information re other sites at the following links to Beara and West Cork.


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