Megalithic Art Find at the Great Grange Stone Circle, Lough Gur, County Limerick

Ken Williams, a photographer who specialises in taking photos of ancient sites such as Newgrange, discovered new megalithic art at the Great Grange Stone Circle in Lough Gur, Co Limerick on August 17th 2022. As a local community organisation known as Lough Gur Development it was necessary for us to wait for approval from the Office of Public Works and National Monuments Service before releasing this information from our online pages. As monuments are in State care, all that we ask as the local community group is for visitors to respect local landowners and this new find. Due to limited parking by the monument, visitors are advised to approach the site safely.

After consultation with photographer Ken Williams and the relevant experts, the OPW have described the find as a “remarkable discovery” of “spectacular” concentric circles and arcs at the historic site.

Minister O’Donovan, who has had a long connection with Lough Gur stated, “This is a very interesting find and I look forward to visiting the site again soon and seeing first-hand these intriguing designs.”  He added “I would like to thank Mr. Williams for notifying the Office of Public Works and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, as this ensures that the discovery can be appropriately recorded. I would encourage members of the public to contact the OPW and the Department immediately if they find anything unusual, as everyone can play their part to protect our past.”

As a photographer with exceptional skills, Ken has the necessary knowledge to use a number of special purpose lighting to reveal previously unseen carvings at ancient sites. Extreme heat over the past number of years also contributed to the absence of moss growth that has in turn revealed carvings at Grange Stone Circle.  The carvings are difficult to see, unless you know what you are looking for.

Dr Elizabeth Shee Twohig, an archaeologist with expertise in megalithic art and tombs, confirmed that these carvings were similar to others found in passage tombs in the north and east of the country, such as at Knowth and Newgrange.

Ms Twohig said there was only a single known stone carving similar to the recent find in Munster or Connacht. “It is possible that the stone is contemporary with the banked enclosure henge at circa 3,000 BC and was incorporated into the circle built inside the enclosure at a slightly later date,” she said.

Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan said the stone circle had “captivated and intrigued locals and visitors for many years”, with the latest find showing “yet again the capacity our national monuments have to surprise and engage us”.

These rare new findings of man-made markings from prehistoric times is a significant find that will be explored further in the coming months and years,

Tours of the site and surrounding area can be booked directly online or by calling 061 385186. An interpretation of Lough Gur with associated facilities can be found at the lakefront Visitor Centre located 4kms from the Great Grange Stone Circle.