Blog Sites Aligned to the Sun

Megalithic Structure in Ireland Aligns to the Equinoxes

The Ballyhoneen Megalithic structure that aligns to the equinoxes. Photo © Mick Mongey via Mick’s Archaeology Site

On the autumn equinox this year, retired school principle Daithí Ó Conaill discovered an alignment in a megalithic structure in Loch an Dúin valley in County Kerry, Ireland.

Over the past 14 years Conaill has explored this site, known as the “Ballyhoneen Wedge Tomb,”12 and has been coming every year at the time of the summer and winter solstice to determine whether there was an alignment to the sun.

This year, he decided to try again on the equinox instead and discovered that the setting sun shines straight into the structure, lighting up the chamber and illuminating a rock carving inside.

The carving is in the shape of a Galician style “cup and ring” marking, which is a form of rock art that is found all around Ireland and at many other sites around the world.3

The cup and ring marking also resembles a common symbol of the sun associated with the ancient Religion of the Sun which is found on rock art and decorative objects in Europe, North America, Egypt and many others.4

Inside the structure with the cup and ring markings pictured on the bottom right. Photo © Mick Mongey via Mick’s Archaeology Site

There are also standing stones nearby the Ballyhoneen structure which contain similar markings. More photos of the site and the rock art can be found on the European Prehistoric Art Online Database.

The Ballyhoneen structure is thought to be from the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze age, but no concrete dates have been determined at this stage.5

It is one of around 72 sites in the area that have been reported by the Archaeological Survey of Ireland,6 and the recent discovery of this alignment suggests there could be much more to uncover.

Read the full article on RTE News


Thanks to Nathan for bringing this site to our attention via the forums.


  1.  The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map. “Ballyhoneen Wedge Tomb.” The Megalithic Portal. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=47519&all=1&noglimit=1.  

  2. While it is called a “tomb” it doesn’t appear that burial remains have been found at this site.  

  3. Jones, Pollyanna. “Exploring the Loch a’Dúin Valley: Hiking in Ireland’s Historic Past.” SkyAboveUs. July 29, 2017. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://skyaboveus.com/climbing-hiking/Exploring-the-Loch-aDin-Valley.  

  4. More examples of this sun symbol can be found here: https://www.spiritualsun.com/religion-of-the-sun/symbols?mgi_490=14705/astronomical-sun-symbol  

  5. O’Connor, Dr. Blaze. Europreart – European Prehistoric Art – Past Signs and Present Memories. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://www.europreart.net/preart.htm.  

  6. Mongey, Mick. “Rock Art.” Homepage.eircom.net. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://homepage.eircom.net/~mickmongey/Ballyhoneen.html.  

About the author

Vida Norris

Vida Norris is a writer and researcher who contributes to the SpiritualSun.com. With a background in permaculture design and landscaping, Vida has a deep interest in the ancient civilizations who practiced the Religion of the Sun and how they lived sustainably and with seemingly higher consciousness and interest in spirituality. She explores ancient sacred sites and pores over ancient texts, with the hope of bringing back the relevance of the Religion of the Sun to those interested in spirituality today.

7 Comments

  • I really like that the teacher kept coming back to the site for 14 years, even though he kept failing to find a solstice alignment. It shows a perseverance and faith that is quite amazing and inspiring. Especially as it was one of 72 other sites in the area; it would have been interesting if RTE had asked what kept the teacher coming back to this particular site as it is not too big or very special looking.

    • That’s a good point about about perseverance Laura. I have noticed with other sites that researchers have been observing them for many years in some cases and documenting exactly what happens at certain times of year.

      Although you can discover whether a site is pointed in the right direction for an alignment just with tools like a compass, there are aspects of the alignment itself – for example where the sun is funnelled into an opening or creates animations with light/shadow/reflection – that it seems you really have to observe on the actual days, which means it can take quite a while to get multiple observations.

      We are definitely indebted to the people who are exploring sites like these and bringing them to light, often doing it in obscurity and with no resources aside from personal interest, as seems to be the case with Mr. Ó Conaill.

      • I think that’s very true. There have been many sites where it was just down to the spontaneous interest and initiative of someone to study it, like Mr. Ó Conaill, not for money or because it is their job, but just out of a sincere wish to understand the past and our heritage. I think there is also an intuitive spiritual connection to these sites that people still feel, and some then feel drawn to study them if they are attuned to this and have that natural interest.

    • I like that he had that hunch there was something special about this stone arrangement. I can relate to that feeling — I’ve visited a few lesser known sites that I just knew had to have some alignment, but for which I couldn’t find any online validation and it’s not always easy to figure it out on your own. It’s helpful to have tools like suncalc.net, a compass, etc. to calculate alignments, but if you don’t have a hunch to look into an area that’s not been studied you could easily miss those. Plus, like Justin mentioned, confirming an alignment can be tricky when working with just calculations sometimes — it’s great he carried his intuitive feelings about the site to a positive conclusion.

    • I had the same feeling Laura, it’s an amazing lesson in perseverance that he showed up every year hoping to be able to view the sun so he could know for sure about the alignment. And equally inspiring that he didn’t give up when, after all that time, the alignment he expected wasn’t there on the solstice. Pretty interesting story.

      It makes me wonder how many other smaller sites must be scattered throughout that area, just waiting for someone persistent and observant enough to find and take note of them.

    • I really liked how he came back with such consistency and dedication too Laura.

      It’s really interesting too because this particular structure has been studied by multiple archaeologists, so it goes to show there is always more to learn about these sites, even when they seem relatively “simple.” 🙂

    • It is amazing to think that so much was discovered through one man’s dedication. However it always makes me think of how many sites remain practically undiscovered and just how much is left beyond our perception!

      Thanks Vida for sharing this man’s work to the wider audience it deserves.

Leave a Comment

error:

Send this to a friend