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Ballynoe Stone Circle
 

County

Down

Coordinates

N 54° 17' 26.76"   W 005° 43' 33.0"

Nearest town

Downpatrick

Grid Ref.

J 48050 40385

Map No.

21

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

31

Date of visit

Thursday 11 September 2003

GPS Accuracy (m)

2
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This is what the circle looks like as you enter the field at the end of the path, from the southeast of the circle. One of the outer stones and the barrow inside the circle are visible.


This stone circle is at the end of a 300 metres long grassy footpath, in a field with many cows and a lot of fresh manure.
Actually they are two concentric stone circles. The outer one has a diameter of about 30 metres and is made of 50 stones. The inner circle has an irregular circular shape and has 21 stones, but more likely they are the kerb stones of the barrow in the centre of the circle. Three more stones are outside the larger circle, one at each of the cardinal points, except for the East where there is no stone.

UPDATE: May 29th, 2019 - This is our second visit to this wonderful stone circle.
Unfortunately this visit has been ruined by the rain that never stopped tormenting us during the whole trip.

The stone circle is in a field, at the end of a 300 metres long sunken path lined with mature trees. Some weird items were laid as offerings on both sides of the path. A local man told me that they weren't there until a couple of years ago, as if people are beginning to assign the place a ritual importance. The path leads to the circle from the southeast.

The circle consists of 59 stones arranged in a circle of about 33 metres of diameter. A few of them are up to 1.80 metres tall. Within the circle is a low elliptical mound surrounded by a semi-circular arrangement of 30 stones on the east end.
The complex is more elaborate than it seems. There are a few outliers around the stone circle, set at different distances and positions.
The closest outliers stand about 7 metres from the circle on the north-northeast (15°) and south-southwest (200°) side. A pair of outliers stand to the northwest (300°) at about 33 metres from the stones.
Smaller outliers, arranged in a non-linear pattern, stand to the southwest up to 72 metres from the circle.

Some of the stones in the circle have large and deep circular hollows that I don't think are natural.

Excavations of the mound revealed some burnt bones of three adults, one male and two females. Fragments of pottery were also found, and these made it possible to date the mound and the circle to the Neolithic period, though it might have been still in use in the early Bronze Age. In other words, the site was in use between 3500 and 2000 BC.

Seen from the ground level it is difficult to appreciate this amazing site.

The first eight photos in this page are from the visit in 2003, the remaining seventeen photos are from the visit in 2019.


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