Kealkill Five

Stone Circle, Radial Cairn, and Stone Row - Co. Cork

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W 0540 5558 (Pub.) Diameter 2.8 x 2.4m (Pub.)
Visited Aug 1998

As at Knockraheen and Knocknakilla, Kealkill is an Irish five stone circle in close association with a two stone row and a Radial-Stone Cairn. The five stone ring has one stone at the north which is much larger and wider than the others, as the circle has the usual height grading, this makes it resemble a miniature version of a rotated Scottish recumbent circle. The axial stone is actually in the normal position at the SW (far right in above photo), and lower than the other stones, as is usual. The large northern stone is really one of the portals, but the size disparity with its neighbour disturbs the symmetry of the ring.
A two stone row stands to the NE of the circle on a NE-SW alignment which misses the circle. The tallest stone at the SW was re-erected in 1938, originally 5.3m tall, its fall reduced its height to the present 3.7m, its partner to the NE is intact and 2.7m high.
Around 2m SE of the row and 5m E of the circle is the Radial-Stone Cairn.The cairn to the SE of the row is 7.6m in diameter with a 2.7m internal space which is now occupied by thorn bushes. The cairn has a 6.4m ring of radially arranged stones placed non-concentrically within it, excavation in 1938 (1) revealed sockets for eighteen radial stones.
Radial-stone Carins are quite rare monuments, only nine others being known in Ireland as of 1998 (see also Knocknakilla and Knockraheen).  Burl (2), has speculated that these cairns are Irish versions of the Scottish ring-cairns, in Scotland the cairns are edged with a continuous kerb of upright slabs or boulders, whereas in the Cork and Kerry region the cairns have the "kerbs" protruding from their sides "like the ratchets of a cog-wheel". Radial-stone cairns are currently thought to be burial monuments of Bronze Age date (3).

1. O'Riordain S.P., Journal of Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 44, p.46-9, 1939.
2. Burl A. From Carnac to Callanish: the prehistoric stone rows and avenues of Britian, Ireland and Brittany, p.192, Yale University Press, 1993, Newhaven & London.
3. O'Nuallain S, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 114, p.63-79, 1984.

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