Saturday, 2 November 2013

Broadleas Stone Circle Co Kildare

                          Above Image: Some stones are tightly packed together

                                     Above Image: a Holly tree splits a stone

                         Above: The circle as seen from above. © Google Maps

As with other stone circles visited there is always a sense of mystery to them. This particular one is believed to belong to the late Neolithic or early Bronze age. The circle stands on slightly elevated ground, measures over 30m in diameter and is surrounded amongst others by Hawthorns and a very prominent Ash Tree. These types of trees and bushes had significance to the ancient tribes so it is not surprising to find them at a site such as this. To add to the feeling of antiquity one of the large stones has been split in two by a Holly Tree.
The circle consists of what appears to be a varying amount of stones. Visitors have recorded anything between 27 and 39! This huge difference might be caused by the amount of overgrowth at certain times of the year or by split stones but curiously enough it had been a local legend that counting and recounting the stones always delivered a different figure. We counted 30 ourselves on our visit. Regardless of this the stones form an almost perfect circle and are one of the more interesting circles to be found in this part of the country.
Broadleas is located just over the Kildare county line from the N81 road in Wicklow and the stones are situated in a private field. There are no prohibitive signs and access is through a field gate that is chained but not locked. It was a quiet sunny  morning and nobody was around to check with for access so we decided to have a look anyway. Once in we closed the gate behind us as there were some sheep grazing although they didn't seem too bothered by our presence.
The position of the circle on what appears to be a mound would lend the thought that this might possibly have marked a cairn. The stones are wide apart so at times its difficult to make out the overall shape. Also there are some stones placed close together and in other spots there are gaps. Whether this was deliberate or the stones have been removed its hard to say and it takes a good few minutes to walk around the circumference to take it all in. Nonetheless the particular placing of the stones in this order really exudes a sense that this was more than a normal circle maybe an important sacrificial site. There is a definite vibe here.
We got in and out without any difficulty and there was no one else about. However if visiting respect for the landowners property should be observed and permission sought if possible. There is a National  monument sign beside the circle so I wouldn't expect permission to be denied.
To find the circle take the N81 Dublin to Tullow road heading South and approx. 9KM past Blessington you will find a right hand turn for the R411 to Ballymore Eustace. Take this turn and drive for approx. 600m until you come to a left hand turn. Turn here and park a few metres around the corner just before the entrance to a farmyard. The field gate and stone circle are directly opposite.

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