Drombeg Stone Circle, located not far from the village of Rosscarbery in County Cork, is probably the best-known of the Cork-Kerry group of so-called Recumbent Stone Circles, and has one of the most beautiful landscape settings of any Irish monument.
I am very fortunate to have visited Drombeg on several occasions, and almost all during beautiful sunny weather!
Drombeg stone circle beneath a sunny September sky.
The circle consists of 17 stones and dates to the Bronze Age – probably the middle or late Bronze Age, making it around 3,000 years old. Two stones are missing, meaning the original count was 19, and one has fallen. The total number of original stones is interesting, because it corresponds with the number of years in a Metonic Cycle (Golden Number). The solar and lunar years do not match – twelve full moons equals 354 days, which is eleven days short of a year. The sun and moon do synchronize eventually – 235 synodic lunar months (254 tropical lunar months) is exactly equal to 19 years. Read more about the Metonic Cycle here.
Samhain sunset at Drombeg Stone Circle.
Drombeg is a recumbent stone circle, meaning that one of its stones is lying flat or recumbent, and opposite the recumbent stones are the two tallest stones, known as 'portal' stones. The axis of the monument – through the portal stones and across the recumbent stone – marks the sunset on winter solstice, and in the opposite direction, sunrise on summer solstice.
Early November (Samhain) sunset at Drombeg Stone Circle.
The monument was excavated in 1957 by archaeologist E.M. Fahy. In the centre of the ‘floor’ of the interior of the circle, Fahy found a pit which contained an upside-down pot containing the cremated remains of a young person.
Close-up of one of the Drombeg stones.
Close to the stone circle are the remains of a Fulacht Fiadh, which would have been a communal cooking pit containing a hearth from which hot stones were taken and places in a water trough.
Drombeg Stone Circle at twilight.
There are also two stone huts beside the Fulacht Fiadh. These three were excavated by Fahy in 1958, the year after his excavation of the stone circle.
A plan of Drombeg by E.M. Fahy.