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 Location: Nr Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.  Grid Reference: 52° 59' 29.93" N 6° 38' 8.61" W.

 

      Castleruddery: (Henge Circle).

One of the prettiest Henge-circles in Ireland.

The addition of two huge 15-ton quartz portal stones adds to the experience of viewing this site.

Originally 40 stones, only 29 now remain, there are several smaller stones lying next to the circle, which show the original preparatory cut-marks of the masons.

(Map of Site: How to get there)

 

 

   Castleruddery:

('Druidical circle', 'Caisléan'-an-Ridear' - 'Castle of the knight')

Castleruddery is a beautiful small Henge-circle (100ft, 30m diameter), with two huge 15-ton, white-quartz portal-stones, which appear either fallen or 'recumbent'. The circle is the same diameter as Stonehenge III in Salisbury.

The site has a curious air to it, because of the proportionately large number of stones for such a small circle which appear to line the inside of an embankment. Outside of this bank there was once a ditch, and then another earth-bank, making this site an example of a  concentric-henged, stone circle. There are 29 from an original 40 stones remaining. (1)

The two great 15-ton quartz 'portal-stones' stand out pearly white in contrast to the other stones at the site. The specific selection of such large stones suggests a function or symbolism seen at several other megaliths.

 

Quarry Marks at Castleruddery.

Of particular interest at the site are the several excellent examples of prehistoric masonry-marks at the site, which shows how stones were prepared for splitting, providing us with a valuable source of evidence. It is interesting to see that the Neolithic stone-masons here used exactly the same techniques as those found around the ancient world.

castleruddery, ireland. castleruddery, ireland.

castleruddery, ireland

The site has several stones that were left unfinished. The deliberately use of this technique on such small stones suggests that they were being made for a purpose.

This means of cutting hard stone can be seen all around the ancient world, from Europe to Egypt and even south America. This is just one of many 'signature' construction techniques adopted by the megalithic builders. At Castleruddery, it is possible to see several different styles and stages of stone cutting. The several half-finished stones lying abandoned beside the circle leave one with the impression that the site may have been used as a stone-cutters workshop, or that it was left abandoned halfway through works.

castleruddery, ireland castleruddery, ireland.

It is notable that two kinds of preparatory split-marks can be seen here... small (unique?) circular perforations (right), and the more traditional elongated ones (left), seen around the prehistoric world.

The remaining stones are surprisingly small - too small for the stone circle itself, leaving one wondering what their use might have been. One stone even has sets on two sides as though ready to split the stone into the size of a breeze block - when it would have been surely easier to use a smaller stone.

 (Other examples of preparatory cut-marks from around the prehistoric world).

 

 

Chronology

The plaque at the site suggests an age of approximately 2,500 BC, but it is likely that this estimate will be determined one day to be older (personal opinion).

 

Archaeo-astronomy

The site is almost cardinally aligned, with the opening slightly south of true East.

 

 

 

Gallery of Images: Castleruddery.

The two quartz portal-stones can be seen on the far side of the circle.

 

The stones were laid horizontally like kerb-stones, rather than vertically.

 

(Other Henges)

(Other Stone Circles)

 

(Other Prehistoric Irish Sites)

 

 

 

References:

1). A. Burl. A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain and Ireland. Yale University Press 1995,

 

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