Just a note: In honor of TBEX Dublin – the Travel Bloggers Exchange meetup in Dublin going on right now, I’ve rewritten an earlier Irish post and added my worst-dancing-video ever: Carol’s Search for Magic at the Stone Circle of Kenmare. Watch it and weep. For me, not at me.
The magic of Stone Circles
Is Ireland magical or not? Of course it is! Why does no one believe me? When I travelled south of Killarney to the wee town of Kenmare in search of the mystical stone circle of Kenmare – an unsung hero in the world of pagan sites – I had to fight a host of disbelievers, including a horse. Check out my quest to commune with the Megalithic spirits and wonder why people don’t like travelling with me … or dancing with me either.
Obviously, I won’t be auditioning for Dancing with the Stars anytime soon. Though there might be a Dancing with the Pagans during the Full Moon I could look into.
But stone circles are fascinating. Even if you don’t believe in the power of the rock, Kenmare is a good stop if you’re touring southwest Ireland and the Ring of Kerry. Located 20 km south of Killarney, Kenmare is County Kerry’s first designated Heritage Town and don’t worry, while the much larger Killarney is stocked with shops selling woollens, tablecloths and nice leprechaun keychains, you’ll can shop in Kenmare, too – albeit on a much smaller scale. This means … fewer crowds! Yay!
But what, really, is the history of these stones?
Also known as the Druid’s Circle, the Stone Circle of Kenmare sits in a smooth grassy patch surrounded by trees, much like a private dining room in a restaurant. The setting feels isolated and peaceful, surrounded by those green hills of Ireland and the stones are kept company by a bristly old hawthorn tree. There is something mystical about the tree as well, apparently, because its branches are draped with offerings like ribbons, cards and little pouches filled with secret messages and who knows what?
The stones vary in size and shape. There are 15 stones that circle around a centre stone called a dolman. Mysteriously, the brownstone and greenstone rock used is not found locally, but had to have been transported, and that was done sometime between 2000 and 200 B.C. To me, the central boulder looks like an altar.
No one knows the exact purpose of the Kenmare Stone Circle. A form of calendar? A place where pagan priests preformed rituals? Burial site? Interestingly, its the only stone circle located so close to a town.
Legend says the stones are frozen dancing gods. Legend also says that my attempts at twirling around meditatively are more dancing bear than Lady Gaga but it’s still oddly liberating and I defy you, on your next trip to Ireland, to stop in Kenmare and create your own ritual. Magic comes to those who seek it. (Snort, says my boyfriend in reply, even louder than the horse in the video.)
Where to stay: The Park Hotel Kenmare has bed and breakfast rates from $483 and an amazing spa that wins all sorts of awards – a mystical experience on its own. Shelbourne Street. Tel: +353 64 664 1200 www.parkkenmare.com