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Spiritual Travels

Spiritual Travels Robert Scheer

Stone circles are enchanted places. Across the British Isles are numerous groups of ancient standing stones associated with colorful legends, many of which involve fairies and magic.

The Standing Stones Resist Counting or Moving

At several circles, it is said to be impossible to count the number of standing stones. For example, legend says of the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire: "The man will never live who shall count the stones three times and find the number the same each time." I recently tried to find out just how many stone circles there are in Ireland and had the same trouble. The easy answer is that there are too many to count. According to the database at, there are well over one hundred stone rings in the Republic of Ireland alone, and that does not include many more in Northern Ireland.

One reason why there are so many megalithic sites remaining in Ireland may be the belief that it is unlucky to disturb them. Will Millar, one of the founding members of the Irish Rovers folk music group, once told me stories about the sacred places of his homeland. He said it used to be common knowledge that ancient sites in Ireland had power that protected them from damage. Will recalled that when a modern roadway was being built through the area near the "fairy fort" in Ballymena, the highway planners carefully went around the mount rather than cutting straight through it. "If anybody disturbed what we used to call fairy places, great harm was likely to come to them," he said.