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Beaghmore Stone Circles, Co Tyrone

Beaghmore is one of the most important stone-circle sites on the island of Ireland and discovered less than a hundred years ago during peat cutting in the late 1930s.

There are three pairs of open stone circles and a single in-filled one built of quite low stones, and each circle is associated with a double alignment or “stone row” pointing roughly in the direction of midsummer sunrise or midwinter sunset.

The combination of circles and alignments at Beaghmore is matched at other sites in Northern Ireland, and many, but by no means all, appear to have been designed as pointers to parts of the horizon that saw the rising or setting of the Sun or Moon.


At some stage peat started to form over the site, and it may conceivably be that the cairns and rows were erected in a futile propitiatory attempt to restore fertility to the soil by attracting back the fading sun – for the significant alignment is not astronomical, but, as with wedge-tombs, towards the setting sun and the Land of the Dead.

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