The Grange Stone Circle at Lough Gur

The Grange Stone Circle at Lough Gur – (Located on the R512 in County Limerick about 45 minutes drive south of Limerick City)

The Irish name for this is Lios na Grainsi and it translates to mean “Stones of the Sun”. This was built around 2000 BC by the people who brought metal and beaker pottery to Ireland. This site is older than the later phases of Stonehenge’s construction (Stonehenge was built in 3 phases between 3000 and 1600 BCE).

The Grange is the largest standing stone circle in Ireland and one of the most impressive.  It is 150 feet in diameter and is enclosed by 113 standing stones. The largest stone is Ronnach Croim Duibh (the prominent Black Stone) and is over 13 feet high and weighs 40 tons. The stone circle is aligned with the rising sun at the Summer Solstice so on that morning the sun shines down directly in the center of the circle. 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.

The Grange Stone Circle is a very interesting place and quite eerie even during the day. The locals won’t come near this place after sunset because the belief is that the place returns to the Fey and the otherworldly beings. The entities tolerate visitors during the day, but at night it belongs to them and we’re to respect that.

Wedge Tomb

This is located right on the roadside, easy to find, and an excellent example of a wedge tomb. This wedge-shaped tomb was a communal grave built by people living near the Lough around 2500BC. When Archeologists excavated the tomb in 1938, they found the bones of at least 8 adults and 4 children. There were also come cremated human bones, one of which was found in a cist in the small rear chamber. The 12 inhumation remains were found in the main gallery. Grave goods were found, mostly pieces of beaker and Neolithic pottery with some food-vessel pieces as well. This megalith is fairly typical of wedge tombs in the South of Ireland. During the 18th century, a woman lived in here as a hermit and was fed and taken care of by the local inhabitants.