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Kerry Map

Regular readers of this site may have detected a certain scepticism on my part towards some of the more over-blown claims of archeologists. If so, it will it will come as no surprise to you to learn that I have some reservations about the Bonane Heritage Park

Despite this, I must point out that I think it is is great that antiquities are recognised and preserved, and that it is important that places like Bonane exist, to inform and engage with the public. It stands or falls on its ability to do so.

So after passing a rather tall thin model of a Crannog by the entrance and paying the entrance fee, what does the visitor get? Well to start with there is the long stiff climb up the side of the hill to get to the start of the surprisingly short trail around the antiquities.

The first of these, and by any measure the best, is a small Ring Fort. Compared to Stague, Cahergal or Leacanabuaile it is unspectacular, but is probably more typical of the genre.

Then we come to a stone circle made up of remarkable small stones. Normally in this area they are about man height, but few in this circle came up to my waist.

According to the web site the Bronze Age circle "was associated with druidical rituals". Shame that the Druids did not appear until the late Iron Age, but still.

Furthermore we are asked to believe that it was built in this spot because once every eighteen years the moon rises over a square cairn on the horizon. Given the life expectancy in the Bronze Age, that would be a once in a life time event for most people.

After passing an old famine house, next up is a square arrangement of stones that we are assured is a Fulacht Fiadh. It may well be, but the roots of the trees that were grown in this area for the past thirty years have probably destroyed any archeology.

And finally we have a Bullaun Stone. As the web site says "Normally, the bullauns face upward and this example is unusual in that the bullaun is on the side of the stone" - I'll say no more.

Yes, it important to engage with the public. I'm just not sure that woolly mysticism and dodgy tails of Druids is the right way to go about it.