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Beltany Stone Circle: A Neolithic mystery outside Raphoe

Hidden away in the rolling hills of County Donegal, Ireland, lies the Beltany Stone Circle, a remarkable and little-known archaeological site just outside the village of Raphoe. Comprising of 64 stones arranged in a circular pattern, the Beltany Stone Circle is one of the largest stone circles in Ireland and remains shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

The origins of the Beltany Stone Circle date back to the Neolithic or Bronze Age, around 4,000 to 2,000 years ago. The purpose of the circles is not known, but they are believed to have been used for religious or astronomical purposes. Some theories suggest that the circles were used for observing the movements of the sun and stars, while others believe that they were used for rituals and ceremonies.

The stones of the Beltany Stone Circle are relatively small, averaging around 1.8m tall. Despite their size, they are placed with remarkable precision, forming an amost perfect circle that measures approximately 44 meters in diameter. The stones are also evenly spaced, with a gap between each one. One of the most intriguing aspects of the Beltany Stone Circle is the presence of a number of cup and ring marks carved into some of the stones. These marks are similar to those found at other Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Ireland and Britain, and their purpose remains a mystery to this day.

In addition to the stone circle, the Beltany site also includes a number of other features, such as a now destroyed passage tomb at nearby Kilmonaster, and a standing stone. These additional features have led some archaeologists to believe that the Beltany Stone Circle was part of a larger complex of Neolithic or Bronze Age structures. An outlier stone is aligned with the winter solstice sunrise, leading some to believe it was a place of worship.

Despite its significance, the Beltany Stone Circle remains one of the lesser-known archaeological sites in Ireland. However, for those who do make the journey, the Beltany Stone Circle offers a glimpse into the mysterious and fascinating world of Ireland’s ancient past.

Beltany Stone Circle is a unique and intriguing site that offers a glimpse into the ancient history of Ireland. With its mysterious origins and unexplained cup and ring marks, the Beltany Stone Circle remains a fascinating destination for those interested in archaeology and the history of Ireland.

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