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Good morning! I have my coffee and my breakfast, so I'm ready to get this Monday started. It's also time for another edition of Remembering Ireland. Last week, I showed you all Bunratty Castle and the fun time we had there visiting the Folk Park and attending the Medieval Feaste. If you remember, I mentioned that our day in Limerick was incredibly busy. First we went to the Hunt Museum and St. Mary's Cathedral before heading back to the hotel. Before we even went to Bunratty, we took a quick trip to Grange Henge.
Now, when most people think of a henge in Europe, they think of Stonehenge. While certainly the most famous of henges, there are actually henges spread out throughout Ireland and the U.K. Since there was one a half hour drive south of Limerick, and the largest stone circle in Ireland, we figured we shouldn't pass it up. Known as Grange Henge, or the Grange Stone Circle, it's not accessible by public transportation so we hired a cab to take us there.
Grange Henge is just west of Lough Gur (or Loch Goir in Gaelic), a large lake in the region. A sign at the Henge tells you about the lake and it's relevance to the circle.
I tried to get a picture of the entire circle while still being able to see the stones, but this was the best I could do. While Stonehenge is made of large monolithic stones, most other henges are made of "smaller" stones, although you can see the largest stone in Grange Henge at the upper left-hand corner called Rannach Chruim Duibh, or Crom Dubh's division. Crom Dubh, or Dark Crom is a mythological figure of Irish folklore.
Here is a nice shot looking along the left-hand side of the circle. You can see the largest stone again in the upper right-hand corner, just off to the left of there. See it?
A shot moving along that same side of the circle, this time you can see Rannach Chruim Duibh in the exact upper right-hand corner.
The original main entrance to Grange Henge.
Visitors to this old, sacred site leave offerings to the gods here. Here we see a statuette, some simple jewelry, some bones, and coins. These were placed on the stone just to the left of Rannach Chruim Duibh.
In this photo, I'm standing right next to Rannach Chruim Duibh.
This is the road sign outside the standard Irish stone gate that surrounds the private property this henge is on.
The sign is old and cracked, but gives good information about Grange Henge. See the diagram on the right? It even has all the stones drawn out below that.
While it was raining the whole time were were there -- which kept us from staying longer -- I really enjoyed this. There was something surreal about this experience, even more so the castles and the cathedral. This henge dates to the Neolithic/Bronze Age and has been standing here since 2500 - 1800 B.C.E.! I was so awe-struck thinking about the ancient peoples who had stood here before me, centuries ago, as they prepared for their ancient rituals and celebrations.
Well, that's it for today. I'll be back next Monday with Galway. Until then, have a great Monday, and I'll be back Wednesday with this weekend's fun.