Isle of Albion
Photographed: Monday 3rd September 2007
Site rating:

Drombohilly is a stone circle approximately eight metres in diameter. It is estimated that the monument once contained between eleven and thirteen stones, but only nine of these now survive.

Drombohilly is easily visible from the road, but this is deceptive. The approach can be extremely difficult, and I was forced to abandon my first attempt in 2006. Returning in 2007, I was better prepared, but the boggy land and intervening fences still present a serious obstacle - even in good weather.

I found it easiest to follow a direct line-of-sight approach to the circle, leaving the road at the closest gate from which the stones were visible. On a warm September day, the wet ground was awkward but navigable. Field boundaries were easily overcome, clambering over and through gates. The most awkward obstacle was the final fence, which presented no obvious means of passing, other than clambering over its barbed-wired top. Although I was prepared for this eventuality, I was lucky enough to discover that a previous visitor had ripped the fence from the ground, leaving a large section that could be lifted high enough to allow for easy passage. I utilised this route, and did my best to close the gap on the return journey - certainly leaving it in better condition than I found it. That gap may still be there, so be sure to look for it. Without that gap, this fence might prove impassable for many. An electric fence presents one final hurdle, but this had been trampled down on the occasion of my visit.

The advantage of the challenging approach is the sense of accomplishment that can be felt upon reaching the stones. The journey offers all the satisfaction and spiritual reward of a modern-day pilgrimage. The views out across the Kenmare estuary to the mountains beyond are breathtaking, and the fresh wind that blows in from the sea exhilarating.

The stones cluster tightly together, giving the impression of a reasonably complete circle. Their craggy and jagged demeanour lend them a stark beauty that well-complements the dramatic backdrop against which they stand. This is a site with a palpable sense of timelessness - a beautiful and refreshing site, that I would recommend highly to any considering a visit.

An unfortunate footnote must be added: after visiting Drombohilly, I learned from a local resident that the farmer has planted pine saplings on the northern slopes, which once grown, will block the spectacular views across the estuary. I failed to notice this when visiting the site, but I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this information.