Mythische Stenen (Mythical Stones) is a series of prehistoric discovery guidebooks (in Dutch), written by Hendrik Gommer, describing megaliths in many European countries. This article is taken from the 13th volume which covers Southern and Northern Ireland.
Ireland is a land with an enormously rich Stone Age history, of which many Irish people are unfortunately often unaware. To reach many monuments you must fight your way past cattle, bulls, bogs, barbed wire, bramble bushes and other barriers. The most famous monument in Ireland is Newgrange, the hunebed near Dublin with a Pyramid-like attraction (but much older). This article is about less famous monuments, of which Ireland has hundreds.
‘The Muff Stone’ in Ardmore Lower has 40 cupmarks on one side, half of which bear 1, 2 or 3 large concentric circles. It is an impressive rectangular stone about two metres high. The cups on the side suggest that the rock once lay flat on the ground.
Location: parking on the left of the R238 about 700 metres after Muff. Walk about 100 metres back to a lane and the monument stands on private land in the field to your right.
‘The Temple of Deen’ (also known as Court Tomb or Laraghirril) takes its name from the earlier belief that it was a druid temple. It is an 8.5 metre long gallery grave which was dug into a cairn measuring 20 x 6 metres. The vestibule seems to face the northwest. According to a description of 1867 the cairn was once surrounded by a 64 metre stone circle. The chamber, which is 3 x 2,5 metres appears to have a small niche on the southeast side. The vestibule is almost as large as the chamber.
Bocan Stone Circle is badly damaged. It is believed to be the ringstones of a portal grave. In the middle of the circle pottery shards and cremated human remains have been found.
Location: On the R238, 1.1 km after Terawee, turn left and park, then walk 400 metres ahead along the cart track to the Temple of Deen in the field. For Bocan Stone Circle cross over the R238 and take the first road right by the hedge. The circle stands on the left 200 metres further in the field
Doagh Famine Village is a ‘must see’. This absorbing museum about the great famine in Ireland in the 19th century makes me realise that growth and decline are almost irrevocably linked to cultures. Back in 4,000 BC the population also increased substantially until 3,300 BC, after which the number of people halved until 2500 BC. This decrease provided space for new immigrants who filled the empty, so beginning a new period of growth.
Malin Head is also a remarkable place. While visitors to Malin Beg write their names on slates on the school desks, here they spell out their name by placing stones. Stones, after all, give a greater sense of eternity.
More information about this and other books of the serie see https://mythicalstones.eu/en/mythische-stenen
Text Hendrik Gommer
Translation Alun Harvey