Saturday, May 08, 2004
Explored Enniskillen this morning and it probably brought home the 'Irish troubles' to us as there were huge (but decorative) barriers that could be deployed quickly across the roads. Enniskillen itself is set on a lough (Enne Lough) I think and the waterways are beautiful. We went for a walk and met up with a young man talking his children for a play in the park. He was lovely and chatted away as we walked along.
In the afternoon, on the way north, we stopped at the Beaghmore Stone Circles. County Tyrone has 80% of its 61 known circles occurring in paired or multiple arrangements, and the most famous example are the stone circle and row complex at Beaghmore (the moor of the birches.) It was first uncovered in 1945-9 when 1269 stones were uncovered, they had been buried in the thick layer of peat that is a dominating feature of this area. Further work in 1965 revealed more of the complex, although it believed that more structures still lie buried in the surrounding peat.
A total of seven circles, six of which are paired, were discovered, along with many cairns, some of which have associated stone rows. A typical feature of the Beaghmore stone rows is a "high and low" arrangement where short rows of tall stones run beside much longer rows of small stones.
The circles and rows at the site today are thought to date from about 1600 BC, the early Bronze Age, but they are not the earliest evidence of usage of the site. Hearths and deposits of flint tools were discovered and have been carbon dated to 2900-2600BC, in addition, several of the stone rows run over the tumbled walls of field structures which also date from the Neolithic period.
Then on to Ballycastle and Colliers Hall (probably not recommended but OK) for an overnight stay. We had dinner at the hotel in Ballycastle across from the harbour. A really lovely little spot.