Beltany Stone Circle
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Raphoe, Donegal, Republic of Ireland
Beltany Stone Circle sits atop a solitary hill three kilometres south of Raphoe in County Donegal. It recalls the Celtic springtime festival of Bealtaine traditionally associated with the lighting of hill top fires to regenerate the sun.
The name of this solitary hill, 3km south of Raphoe in County Donegal, recalls the Celtic springtime festival of Bealtaine (the ancient equivalent of May Day). This festival was traditionally associated with the lighting of hill top fires to regenerate the sun.
The remains of great stones on this well chosen site belong to an earlier period than the Celtic Iron Age.
As it stands, it poses problems of classification. Part stone circle, part mound, it has suffered at the hands of despoilers and must look very different from its original state. The enclosing ring is megalithic, several of its slabby stones attaining heights of two and half metres or more. Many lean haphazardly outward under the pressure of the disturbed, boulder strewn interior. A solitary outlier stands 20m to the south east. Possible astronomical alignments have been suggested for some of the circle stones. One, perhaps fortuitously, points to sunrise at or about Bealtaine.