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“Winter Shadows of Beltany Stone Circle”


Beltany Standing Stone Circle, Raphoe, County Donegal, Ireland


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Beltany Standing Stone Circle, Raphoe, County Donegal, Ireland

As by now you may have gathered that I love ‘Beltany Circle’ due to various photos I have shared with you from here over the years. On each visit to these mysterious standing stones I allow myself some time to just wander about, Whilst strolling & looking closely at the ancient marks on these stones I continually try to figure out its secrets. On this visit I have come up with another little theory on the function of this ancient monument ?

I understand these stones were aligned to celestial beings in our night sky & to the summer & winter equinox sunrises. However, after observing it for the first time from an aerial view in the snow, the shadows these stones cast are actually as interesting as the monuments themselves. I wonder if these shadows actually part of their long lost secrets? Maybe the shadows form different shapes or point to particular parts of the sky on certain points during the year? If you have any theories then please feel free to comment as someone must know something that may put my mind at rest ?

For thousands of years the landscape around ‘Raphoe’ has been an important centre of ritual practise, a place of worship to where pre-Christian ancestors came to pay homage to their spiritual rulers such as the Sun & Moon. Near Raphoe on the summit of Beltany Hill stands this Bronze Age stone circle dating back 800 – 1400 BC. Beltany Stone Circle comprises of 64 standing stones although it is thought that there may have been originally 80 stones. One of the stones which is about 2 metres in height stands to the southeast of the circle. It likely had some function related to the pagan ceremonies held in the circle.

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