Kilkenny Castle: A Regal Encounter with History
- Ireland's Ancient East, Kilkenny, Things to do
- 22 March 2023
Beaghmore, which means 'big place of birch trees', is a mystical site that features seven circles, twelve cairns, and ten rows of carefully arranged stones amidst green moorland. It was discovered in the 1930s during peat cutting, and 1,269 stones were uncovered. The site dates back to Neolithic times through the Bronze Age and was once a dense woodland before being cleared by ancient farmers. Evidence such as hearths and flint tools suggests that the area was occupied around 2900-2600BC.
The stones themselves bear markings that resemble ancient Celtic writing, which is believed to be Ogham, a system of symbols used for magic and divination. The purpose of the circles and alignments, however, remains a mystery. Some archaeologists believe that they were constructed to mark the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, possibly for use as markers in a calendar or to observe certain lunar, solar or stellar events. Interestingly, three of the stone rows point to sunrise at the solstice, and another appears to be aligned towards a lunar maximum. The stones at Beaghmore are a testament to the ancient rituals and astronomical knowledge of the people who built them. When visiting this ancient site, take a moment to look up at the sky in wonder and reflect on the fact that the people who constructed these remarkable monuments observed the same celestial objects that we do today.