Drombeg stone circle

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Drombeg stone circle
Ciorcal an Droma Bhig
DrombegStoneCircle 2004.jpg
Drombeg site, looking south
Location of site in Ireland
Location of site in Ireland
Location of site in Ireland
Alternative nameDruid's Altar
LocationCounty Cork, Ireland
Irish Grid: W245352)
Coordinates51°33′52″N 9°05′13″W / 51.564553°N 9.08702°W / 51.564553; -9.08702Coordinates: 51°33′52″N 9°05′13″W / 51.564553°N 9.08702°W / 51.564553; -9.08702
TypeAxial stone circle
Area9.3 metres (31 ft) (diameter)
Height1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) (highest stone)
PeriodsBronze Age[1] to early Iron Age[2]
Site notes
ArchaeologistsEdward M. Fahy (1957)
ManagementNational Monument Service
Public accessYes
Reference no.381

Drombeg stone circle (also known as The Druid's Altar), is a small (9 m (29 ft across) axial stone circle located 2.4 km (1.5 mi) east of Glandore, County Cork, Ireland.[3][4] The structure consists of 17 tightly packed stones. As an axial or "Cork–Kerry" stone circle, it contains two taller entrance stones placed opposite a recumbent axial stone. Its axis is orientated south west towards the setting sun.[5]

Although not an especially significant example,[5] Drombeg is one of the most visited megalithic sites in Ireland, and is protected under the National Monuments Act. It was excavated in 1958, when the cremated remains of an adolescent was found in a pot in the circle's center.[5]


Site at Drombeg

The stone circle consists of seventeen closely spaced stones spanning 9.3 metres (31 ft) in diameter, of which 13 survive. The most westerly stone (1.9m long) is the long recumbent and has two egg shaped cup-marks, one with a ring around it.[3] A "Cork–Kerry type" stone circle, it is flanked by a pair of 1.8m high axial portal stones, which provide a south-west axis, and orient the monument in the direction of the setting sun during the midwinter solstice.[2] The stones in the circle have been shaped to slope upwards to the recumbent stone, the midpoint of which was set in line with the winter solstice sunset viewed in a conspicuous notch in the distant hills. While the alignment is good, it is not precise.[6]

The ruins of two round stone walled conjoined prehistoric huts and a fulacht fiadh lie just 40m west of the monument.[5] Evidence suggests the fulacht fiadh was in use up until the 5th century AD. The larger of the huts had a timber roof supported by a timber post. The smaller hut had a cooking oven on its east side. A causeway leads from the huts to the cooking place (fulacht fiadh) featuring a hearth, well and trough in which water was boiled by adding hot stones.[3]


Following a number of surveys in the early 1900s,[7] the site was excavated and restored in 1957.[2] Radiocarbon dating of samples taken from the site suggest that it was active c. 1100 - 800 BC. An inverted pot, found in the centre of the circle, contained the cremated remains of a young adolescent wrapped with thick cloth. The pot was buried near the centre of the circle along with 80 other smashed sherds, four bits of shale and a collection of sweepings from a pyre.[6]




  1. ^ Roseingrave 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Fahy 1959.
  3. ^ a b c Weir 1980.
  4. ^ Weir 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d Noonan 2001, p. 85.
  6. ^ a b "Drombeg stone circle, Co Cork". Stonepages.com. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  7. ^ Keogh 2017.


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