Tucked away in a corner of North Tipperary and just inside the Laois border is
a little known collection of some 300 standing stones. The stones are
spread across several fields and two townlands, through the woods on the Timoney Hills
between the village of Knock and Newtown or Meara's crossroads.
The Timoney stones
are an anomaly in Irish archaeology, and do not fit into any definite class or
category. There may not be anything else like them in Western Europe except
Carnac in France. There is litte published information about the Timoney complex. A summary of mentions of the site is given on The Tipperary Antiquarian blog.
The Stones cover a large area of farm and woodland, and the stones remaining
today are surely only a fraction of the number that stood originally.
There are lots of fieldwalls here, some of which are of great size.
of the stones are quite small, and many stick out of the ground like the stumps of trees.
There is no apparent order or arrangement to the distribution of stones, which
would make one wonder if they are not the result of a large scale field-clearance over
the last 200 years, as the NMS report, below, concludes.
When we queried locally for any information or stories
about the stones, the most we could find was that the agent's men used to
run races around the stones. This doesn't sound like a very old tradition.
It is said in the area that the stones were a folly erected as a folly
by a local landlord.
Report from the NMS
The following report is taken from the National Monuments Services website and interactive map at www.heritagemaps.ie.
In undulating pasture, on the landscaped estate of Timoney Park. One of 24 standing stones (TN018-015053-/074-) identified in this field and recorded in 1934 - 36 by the Inspector of National Monuments and marked as stone 4V on a map of a group of 221 standing stones, of which 173 stones were located in the townland of Timoney Hills and 48 standing stones in the adjoining townland of Cullaun.
Five of these stones were recorded in this field as prostrate on the 1936 map. A map published in the Archaeological Survey of Ikerrin depicts 245 standing stones, 70 of which had been removed, and five cairns, which have also been removed (Stout 1984, 19).
This group of standing stones in the townlands of Timoney Hills and Cullaun were described in 1936 by the Inspector of National Monuments as following: 'Though a number of stones have been eliminated, the remainder numbering 221 (173 in Timoney Hills and 48 in Cullaun) are a most remarkable group.
The stones are not, apparently, arranged on any particular system except for one obvious stone circle in Cullaun. They are all of red sandstone or conglomerate of the same period and stand or stood from 3 to 6 feet [0.9-1.8m] in height over the ground, the average height of the larger ones being about 5 feet 1.5m]' (SMR File).
The location of these stones on the Parker-Hutchinson estate of Timoney Park casts doubt on the antiquity of these monuments.
Compiled by: Caimin O'Brien
Date of upload: 2 March 2015