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    November 2012

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    Grange stone circle
    lough gur
    great ash
    luminous sky
    brooding sky
    ash tree and stone welded
    ash in grange circle

    The month started with a visit to Lough Gur and the Grange stone circle in co Limerick. I have wanted to go there for a long time and as it was Hallowe’en or Samhain in the Celtic calender to which the circle is dedicated, it seemed like a good time to be there

    I walked to Lough Gur first, which is a small lake surrounded by low and ancient hills, a crannoch, a ruined castle and ringfort. There is a sense of enchantment here, complete with wild swans. The painter Robert Ryan lives nearby and it is easy to see the source of his inspiration for his exquisite small paintings of the lake with pale animals and moonlight

    There is also a wedge tomb known as the Giant’s grave by the side of the road near the lake. It is composed of pitted dark rock, presumably local. I didnt feel comfortable there and did not stay long. They say an old woman used it for a shelter in the 1800s and it was subsequently ransacked. Whatever it is it is not a peaceful place and it is the first time I have felt uneasy at the site of a dolmen. Perhaps it also has something to do with the stones themselves which are not pleasant to touch

    I carried sketch books into Grange stone circle or henge, which is a short distance away from the lake. It is very large comprising 113 stones arranged side by side. There are a couple of magnificent ash trees inside and outside the cirlce. One of the trees has grown around a rock and they are locked in an embrace and welded together. Across the henge stands the largest stone, it looks like granite and is about 13 feet tall. Beside it is a small stone festooned with offerings of coins,small crystals ribbon and bits of material. I placed some pieces of pastel and charcoal as a gift to the spirit of the stones

    It is a powerful place and I could imagine ceremonial processions and rituals taking place there 4,000 years ago. There is a smaller stone circle adjacent and a large standing stone a few fields away. The whole area , with the sacred lake at the centre, was clearly a rich and productive land providing plenty of food and shelter for an advanced society to develop both spiritually and astronomically. They left a legacy for us to wonder at and we can only attempt to understand their connection with nature and the spirit world