Places to See | Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
County Tyrone in Northern Ireland is peppered with thousands of archaeological sites. The most impressive are the Bronze Age Beaghmore Stone Circles and cairns, approx. 10 miles north west of Cookstown, in the southeast of the Sperrin Mountains.
Discovered during peat cutting in the 1940s the site at Beaghmore consists of seven stone circles (six of which are paired), ten stone rows and a dozen round cairns (burial mounds), some containing human remains.
A singular circle is distinguished from the paired circles by its slightly larger stones. It is also unique in that the interior of the circle is filled with more than 800 small stones which have been placed upright within the circle and are known as “the dragon’s teeth”.
Although most of the stones on this lonely site are not more than a metre tall, the complexity of the ritual they suggest is impressive. Possibly the site could mark a focal point for religious and/or social gatherings. Some archaeologists believe that the circles have been constructed in relation to the rising of the sun at the solstice, or to record the movements of the sun and moon acting as observatories for particular lunar, solar or stellar events. Three of the stone rows point to the sunrise at the time of the solstice and another is aligned towards moonrise at the same period. However, most of the remains at Beaghmore do not indicate very accurate alignments upon specific astronomical features.
The site at Beaghmore is considered one of the best dark sky sites in Northern Ireland.
Address: Beaghmore Stone Circles, Blackrock Road, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland BT80 9PB