The Beltany Stone Circle, Raphoe, County Donegal

The Beltany Stone Circle is one of the largest and earliest stone circles in Ireland with a diameter of 145-feet. It originally comprised of 80 upright stones of which 64 still stand and may date to c.1400 BC. The name ‘Beltany’ derives from the spring festival of Beltane which marked the sunrise on the first day of May. A carved stone known as ‘The Beltany Stone Head’ was found here and dates from anywhere between 400 BC and 400 AD although the stone circle is much older. It is now kept as a prize artefact in the National History Museum of Ireland. The stone head sculpture probably depicts a god associated with the stone circle. Five of the stones are also decorated with prehistoric art known as cup marks. This amazing location has therefore been used continuously for ritual purposes for thousands of years.