Growing up in Northern Ireland in the city of Belfast I never knew we had stone circle formations until recently. During a recent visit and looking for somewhere to go our son pointed out these stone circles on a map near Cookstown. I had never been to Cookstown either so we decided to visit.
Cookstown is situated on the West of Lough Neagh, a large inland lake around which are the six counties of Northern Ireland. Any trips we made from Belfast took us either North to Portrush, south to Newcastle, East to Bangor or West to Enniskillen. All of these journeys bypassed the area hidden West behind the lough. So for me it was a trip of discovery.
The town is a delightful broad and long main street with plenty of shops and places to eat on either side. It offers views of the hills in the distance. But it was the mysterious stone circles which had
attracted our attention, and after a short stay in Cookstown we made our way into the hills in search of them. They weren't hard to find as we soon found the familiar brown signs pointing the way.
The surprise was multiplied when we discovered that this site displayed a whole set of seven stone circles. One was even filled with hundreds of smaller rocks - a depiction of the sky? Some larger stones were arranged in rows rather like a passageway. There is some suggestion that the whole layout describes meteors or comets.
Discovered under a layer of peat in 1940 the stones offer a fascination for ancient historians and megalithic enthusiasts. And many questions arise which remain unanswered. When were the circles build? Who built them? And the biggest question of all - Why were they built? It is pointed out that the site lines up with other ancients sites in the greater region and there are astronomical alignments also. This is no surprise as this is a repeating pattern throughout the planet where such sites align with each other and with the stars.
Were they built to preserve a story of the past, perhaps one of impending danger which they expect to repeat itself in the distant future? Were they built to send a message or make a mark for beings in the sky? Or were they intended to be some kind of communication device? Or perhaps a transportation portal as suggested in my novel "The Giants of Glorborin."
Whatever their purpose do make an effort to visit the Beaghmore Stone Circles and make up your own mind. What do you think they are? Why do you think they were built? Do you think they were built my dumb stone age humans or some forgotten intelligent civilization? Share your answers in the comments below.