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
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.
Thanks to Nathan for bringing this site to our attention via the forums.
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.
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.
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
O’Connor, Dr. Blaze. Europreart – European Prehistoric Art – Past Signs and Present Memories. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://www.europreart.net/preart.htm.
Mongey, Mick. “Rock Art.” Homepage.eircom.net. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://homepage.eircom.net/~mickmongey/Ballyhoneen.html.