Standing Stones

Standing stones, also known as menhirs, are a common feature in the archaeology of Ireland. They are large, vertically oriented stones that were erected in the prehistoric period, often as part of complex sacred landscapes. The purpose of standing stones is not well understood, but they are thought to have served a religious or ceremonial purpose, possibly as a symbol of territorial ownership or as a marker for astronomical events.

Examples of standing stones in the archaeological record of Ireland include the Drombeg Stone Circle, located in County Cork, and the Ballycrovane Standing Stones, also located in County Cork. Another example is the Fourknocks tomb, located in County Meath, which features a number of standing stones in the surrounding landscape.

One of the most famous standing stone sites in Ireland is the Hill of Tara, located in County Meath. This site was an important political and religious centre in the prehistoric period and is believed to have been the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. The Hill of Tara contains a number of standing stones, including the Lia Fáil, which is thought to have served as a coronation stone for the High Kings.

In addition to these examples, standing stones are also found throughout the countryside of Ireland, often as isolated examples or in small groups. These stones are often difficult to date with precision, but they are generally believed to date to the Bronze Age or earlier. Despite their common occurrence, standing stones continue to be an enigmatic and fascinating feature of the archaeology of Ireland, and their precise function and significance remain a subject of ongoing investigation and debate.

Interactive Map of Standing Stones in the Republic of Ireland