Beltany stone circle
Beltany is a neolithic stone circle just south of Raphoe town in County Donegal, Ireland. It dates from around 1400-800 BC and comprises 64 stones around a low earth platform or tumulus, situated at the summit of Tops Hill. One stone is decorated with cup marks and many of the stones stand at an angle after being disturbed around a hundred years ago. There may originally have been about 80 stones.
A single stone about 2 metres high stands to the southeast of the circle. It probably had some function related to the rites or ceremonies in the circle.
A stone head was found at Beltany, probably carved between 400 BC and 400 AD. This may indicate that the stone circle was used for many centuries.
It has been suggested that the name of the site is linked to the Celtic festival of fertility known as 'Beltane; Properly known as Beltaine. Pronounced Bal-tin-neh, meaning Bal-tinne; 'Bal's fire' Bal being the sun god and the fire ceremony being a homage and source of regeneration for his power to rejuvenate the sun for the following season.
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