Standing Stones

STANDING STONES

Claudia at Stonehenge, 1977

At Stonehenge, when I was very young, and one could still walk among the stones.

Standing stones are all over Europe.  Placed by stone age peoples 4-6,000 years ago, they are sometimes in circles, like Stonehenge, and sometimes standing alone or in a line of 3 or 4.

I’ve always been fascinated by these standing stones.  I wrote about one in my story based on the Somerset legend “The Wimblestone.”  I found this legend, just a paragraph long, in Katherine Briggs’ British Folktales.  It’s okay to retell folktales as long as credit is given where credit is due, and I was enchanted by this legend of a stone that danced.  As I said before, it is the first fantasy story I had published, in Cricket Magazine.
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Kenmare Stone Circle, Kenmare, Co. Kerry, Ireland

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At the center stone at Kenmare.

When I was in Ireland this summer, I visited many standing stones.  Kenmare Stone Circle, Grange Circle, the Poulnabrone Dolmen in the Burren, Co. Clare.  At a Leo Cullen workshop at Anam Cara Writer’s & Artist’s Retreat, I was telling a classmate, Linda,a local woman, that I put standing stones in as many of my stories as I could, and she replied, “Oh.  We have a 4,ooo year old standing stone in our cow pasture.”  All I could say was, “Really?”  When she saw my excitement, Linda took me to see her magnificient standing stones, aligned to the solstice

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Linda's ancient standing stones

sun.  I stood in her field in the rain and marveled.  The stone was thin and sharp, the  moss and lichen on it must be ancient, and who were the long-ago people who transported these stones here and stood them, burying them at the base to hold them upright?  Then Linda astonished me by saying “There’s a stone circle a couple of minutes away.  Would you like to see it?”  Would I!  So we drove  to nearby Doirin an t’Sagairt, or Derreenataggart Stone Circle.  It was something I would have never found on my own, and I am so grateful to her for her Irish hospitality.

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Doirin an t'Sagairt (Derreenataggart) Stone Circle, near Castletownbere, Co. Cork.

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