The Uragh Stone Circle of Kerry

Aug 10, 2014 by

Today we visited the Uragh Stone Circle on the Beara Peninsula in County Kerry, in Tuosist. The location is a bit remote and requires a bumpy ride to get there, but the views are spectacular and worth every pothole, dip and hairpin turn we passed through on our way. Of all the megalithic monuments on the Beara Peninsula, the Uragh stone circle is the one you absolutely must see, especially if your time in Kerry is limited.

 

Uragh stone circle megalith Ireland

The ancient Uragh stone circle on the Beara Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.

The Uragh stone circle is close to the bustling market town of Kenmare,  or An Neidín, “little nest”, as it is known in Irish.  Take R571 west out of town, towards Ardgroom; about 14 kilometers down the road, you’ll take a left at sign pointing you towards Uragh. It is on private property, but accessible for a small fee.  Follow the road til it ends at gate, open that gate ( and shut it after you get inside), and drive across the narrow bridge down to the parking area. The bridge crosses a lovely stream flowing down to Lough Cloonee Upper, one of the two lakes near Uragh.

Once you reach the parking spot, you’ll meet meet a nice older gentleman farmer, who grew up on the Uragh land which his son now farms. He charges two Euro for entrance–a pittance for access to this magical place– and is a joy to talk to, willingly answering all your questions about the site, the weather and Ireland in general.

 

Uragh stone circle site with stream

Water flowing down to Lough Cloonee Upper at Uragh stone circle site.

There is a short hike up to the Uragh stone circle, but the path is well maintained and the incline is manageable. As I mentioned earlier, the stone circle sits on private farm land, so don’t be surprised if you have a close encounter with the farm’s hardy sheep.

uragh-stone-circle-sheep

Sheep are unimpressed by visitors to the Uragh stone circle.

The stone circle is just over the crest of a hill, rising up against the backdrop of the stunning Kerry mountains and lovely Lough Gleninchaquin ( aka Inchiquin, the second lake in the Uragh nature reserve surrounding the circle)). There are five stones in the small circle, but the most impressive is the huge outlying monolith that is almost 10 feet tall. This stone is aligned radially with the circle on the NE-SW axis.

uragh-stone-circle-monolith

Monolith stone at Uragh stone circle is aligned on NE-SW axis of the circle.

The stones in the circle are in good shape for their age (several thousand years), although one of the two portal stones directly across from the monolith is starting to lean.  Numerous smaller stones surround the circle and may have been part of the original design.   There is a shallow sunken spot in the center; I’m not sure if something has been removed from that area or if it is a naturally occurring depression.

uragh-stone-circle-mountain-view

The Uragh stone circle is an important piece of ancient Irish history.

There are many wonderful sights to see any where you go in Ireland, but if you want to immerse yourself in the wild Irish landscape and reach back to ancient Ireland and its peoples, then you must go to the Uragh stone circle in Kerry. Stand next to the stones and watch cloud shadows race across the mountains, feel the strong winds buffet you and whip the waters of the lake, and just let the moment sink into your soul. There’s no souvenir stand at the Uragh stone circle, but you will take away a memory of Ireland that will be with you always, as a touchstone for all your future journeys, physical and spiritual.

For more info on the Uragh stone circle and the surrounding area, click on any of these links:

Megalithic Ireland–has exact coordinates for Uragh, plus a wealth of info on other sites in Ireland

Megalithics.com–info on Irish sites, and ancient sites throughout Britain

Kenmare.ie--official site for the town of Kenmare, with info on local sites

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Star Wars Ireland 2014: The Filming Of Skellig Michael

Jul 29, 2014 by

Star Wars Ireland 2014: A long time ago, on an island far, far away….ancient Christians established a remote monastery off the wild Atlantic coast of western Ireland. Filming has begun on that same island, Skellig Michael (Irish Gaelic: Sceilig Mhichíl), a UNESCO World Heritage site, which will be the backdrop for a segment of the next episode in the epic Star Wars movie franchise. The nearby town of Portmagee has been flooded with Star Wars fans seeking a glimpse of the cast or the film’s popular director, J. J. Abrams, because public tour boats to Skellig Michael have been suspended for the three days of filming.

For those intrepid Star Wars devotees thinking of hiring their own private vessel to get out to the island, the Force will not be with them. The Irish Navy (standing in for an Imperial cruiser, no doubt) is patrolling the waters around the island for any unauthorized incursions with a clear warning: this is NOT the Irish island you’re looking for.

Star Wars Come To Ireland  In 2014

That’s no moon. It’s Skellig Michael! Image source

 

For more information on the Star Wars hulabuloo going on in County Kerry and its potential impact on the bird colonies of Skellig Michael, read The Daily News‘ story HERE or Entertainment Weekly’s story HERE.

You can read one of my previous posts about the Irish town of Portmagee and the Skelligs HERE–this beautiful little town on the Iveragh Peninsula is the starting point for the Skellig Experience.

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