Carvings discovered at Limerick’s prehistoric stone circle

An Irish archaeological photographer has discovered a remarkable series of prehistoric carvings at Grange Stone Circle in Lough Gur, County Limerick.

Ken Williams, one of Ireland’s leading archaeological photographers, has developed methods of illuminating stones so that they can be photographed to maximum effect, which has enabled him to find a series of carvings in recent years.

Williams was returning to check the stones at Grange Stone Circle as part of his research when he discovered the new carvings.

The new carvings are particularly spectacular due to the presence of concentric circles and arcs found on the back and sides of a stone at the northern entrance passage to the prehistoric enclosure.

Dr Elizabeth Shee Twohig, who has published extensive research on megalithic and rock art, commented that carvings are extremely rare for Munster and Connacht.

“The carvings closely resemble those in passage tombs in the north and east of the country, such as Knowth and Newgrange, but there is only one such carved stone at Munster or Connaught,” said the Dr. Shee Twohig in a statement. .

“It is possible that the stone is contemporary with the henge of the banked enclosure around 3000 BC and was incorporated into the circle built inside the enclosure at a slightly later date.”

The Grange Stone Circle at Lough Gur, County Limerick.

Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan welcomed the discovery of the sculptures.

“It is a site that has both captivated and intrigued locals and visitors alike for many years. It shows once again the ability of our national monuments to surprise and engage us,” he said. said in a statement.

The Grange Stone Circle is the largest standing stone circle in Ireland, measuring 150 feet in diameter and surrounded by 113 stones.

The largest stone in the circle is Rannach Chruim Duibh, which weighs over 40 tons and is over 13 feet tall.

The circle comprises a ring of continuous vertical stones supported by a nine meter wide earth bank reaching 1.2 meters in height.

Ken Williams said he plans to publish the new sculptures in an academic paper, where he will describe the art and discuss comparable examples.

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