52° 30' 50.04" N,
8° 32' 28.76" W.
The Lios (Grange):(Stone Circle).
The largest stone circle in Ireland.
Grange is Ireland's
largest stone circle, consisting of 113 stones. Built ca. 2100 B.C.,
it is over 150 feet in diameter. Its nearly perfect shape is
suggestive of it having been drawn out with a string-line from the
centre. It is surrounded by an earthen bank, which in places is
three to four feet high and gives it the vague appearance of a
Aligned with the
rising sun, on the day of the Summer Solstice the sun shines
directly in the centre of the circle.
'Stones of the Sun').
'LIOS' or Grange is the name given in Ireland to a ring-fort or
stone circle. The word "Grange" is an English rendering of the Irish word "Grian",
which means "Sun". This lends credence to the theory that stone circles in
Ireland were connected with sun worship, as at the larger stone circles of
New-Grange and Stonehenge in England.
The entrance on the eastern side is paved and flanked by
uprights. Clay has been packed down to a depth of 60 cm across the whole
area of the enclosure. On excavation it was found to be littered with late
Neolithic Beaker pottery, which seemed to have been deliberately smashed.
(1) Its near perfect shape and
the discovery of a posthole in the very centre of the enclosure, indicates
that the circle was measured out from a central stake with a rope. Twelve
large orthostats have been placed at intervals around the stone ring, each
standing directly opposite one of the other 'axial' stones.
The largest stone at the circle is named
'Ronnach Croim Duibh' (The Black Stone). It is over 13ft high and weighs
in at around 40 tons.
The entrance is flanked by
two large stones. At sunrise on the 21st June (the summer solstice) the
light of the sun shines down this passage.
A short distance to the
north-north east of the main stone circle, is a second
smaller circle, also constructed of large stones. To the
north of this is a large leaning standing stone.
(1826) there used to be a great open stone circle 52 metres across
of 72 stones scarcely 30m north of Lios/Grange. Tragically this has
been largely destroyed, but a smaller companion of 15 stones about
20m in diameter at R632405 still exists. (2)