Beltany Tops

Suspected Alignment / Alignments:  May - Aug Cross Quarter Sun-rise / Feb - Nov Cross Quarter Sun-rise / Winter Solstice Sun-rise / Equinox Sun-rise 
Site Type: Stone Circle
Irish Grid Ref: C2543700364
Location: Link to Bing Maps


This stone circle is described on as follows;

"This monument, on a hilltop with an extensive outlook in all directions, is known as Beltany Stone Circle. It lies 3.2km NNW of the cemetery of megalithic tombs centred on Kilmonaster Middle townland. It consists of a disturbed artificial platform now c. 0.5m high, perhaps the base of a cairn, bounded by a circle of large stones. The circle is c. 45m in diameter. At present 64 stones stand in the circle, and there may originally have been up to 80. Some large stones are exposed in the disturbed interior. It has been suggested that there may have been a megalithic chamber within the circle (O.D. 1939), perhaps a passage tomb (Ó Nualláin 1995, 15)"

Vice Admiral Boyle Somerville was one of the original proponents of archaeoastronomy in Ireland looking at sites in his native West Cork and also in Donegal. Somerville envisaged a number of different alignments at this circle, the most likely in my opinion being the one at the May - Aug Cross Quarter Sun-rise over the cup marked stone as shown in the photographs below.

Links to photographs;
Pictures of the sun rising over the cup-marked stone on Ken Williams blog

Links for further information;
Plan of the circle and proposed alignments by Boyle Somerville
More information on Beltany Tops at