Tours of the Park can be arranged for all group sizes including School and College.
We do require that you pre-book Tours and there is an additional fee for Guided Tours dependant on group size, this can be done via email or phone 085-7677869.
The Park is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kenmare, noted for its stunning scenery and its rich archeological heritage.
Below see a sample of a Guided Tour
I would like to begin by giving you a brief outline on how this Park came to be. Having identified Dromagorteen Forestry as having significant potential for development as a Heritage Site because of the concentration of the Archaeological sites here, Coillte was approached and Bonane community Co-Operative Society was established in 2002 to facilitate the lease with Coillte, its principle objective being “To improve access to historical sites in Bonane”. Bonane Community Co-Op Society Ltd is owned and controlled by the community. The entire forest was clear felled in the winter of 2002 - 2003.
Now I’m going to tell you a little about all the archaeological sites situated here. There is a Stone Circle, a Standing Stone, a Ringfort, a Fulacht Fiadh, a Bullaun Stone and a Famine Ruin and additionally we have some ancient Field Systems.
I want to draw your attention to the Stone Circle here as it is the most important site in our Park.
Just to give you a bit of background history, at the last count there were 235 Stone Circles in the entire country. There are quite a lot of them up towards the North, in Fermanagh and South Tyrone area. Then as you move further south there is a light sprinkling of them in most counties. But it is here in South Kerry and West Cork areas that has the greatest concentration of them, at well over a hundred. However, the Stone Circles in this area are of a special type due to the presence of a Recumbent Stone and two large Entrance Stones.
The Recumbent Stone or low stone is always placed directly opposite two Entrance Stones. The Entrance Stones are usually orientated South West - North East. These two stones here being the Entrance Stones and that one there is the Recumbent Stone. Some of these have fallen over the years.
Drombeg Stone Circle down near Glandore in West Cork is the best known Stone Circle because of an alignment there with the Winter Solstice. If you went down to Glandore on the 21st December and stood between the two Entrance Stones and looked over the Recumbent Stone, the Sun would set at the intersection of two Hill’s on the horizon, a short distance away.
For those of you who may not know, an alignment is akin to firing a rifle. You put your eye to the sight near the trigger, then line up with the mussel point to your target and bang. In other words you need a minimum of two fixed points. The Stone Circle here being one and a Standing Stone 5Km away over there on the horizon being the other.
You know, the Druids don’t give up their secrets too easily. After several years of observation, we eventually observed the setting of the Sun at important dates during the year such as the Spring Equinox and Autumn Equinox. We discovered that if you come up here on the Autumn Equinox the sun will set right at the Standing Stone. The sun will also set there at the Spring Equinox.
An Archaeologist by the name of Niall Gregory, who has given us tremendous help, told us that this Stone Circle is an ideal place to watch Sun-Sets, for the simple reason that the horizon is so near all around us, a full 360 degrees. It is no more than a half to four or five miles in any direction.
There are very few things in this world built 5000 years ago that are still intact. But this is one of them, and you get a live show twice yearly.
Over here we have another very distinct stone on the horizon. It was christened The Altar for obvious reasons. We believe it marks the most Southerly Rising point of the Moon.
Sometimes a visitor to an area may ask, “Is there anything of interest to see locally?” Locals might say, “ We have a Stone Circle 1mile up that road and a Standing Stone 3miles up this road“…… and so on. But this area is undoubtedly very special as we have seven sites of interest here, all within a few acres; they are in an excellent state of preservation.
So, to have a Stone Circle, a Ringfort, a Standing Stone, a Fulacht Fiadh, a Famine Ruin and a Bullaun Stone all within a few acres is extremely rare. The fact that they are all extremely well preserved is a tribute to our ancestors who never interfered with them. But they are all here in our Heritage Park.
The fact that Drombeg has just one alignment and is visited by thousands of people every year, we want to emphasize how important this Stone Circle is, as it has no fewer than eight alignments. We believe that it is one of the most important Stone Circles in the country.
I have no doubt that in years to come, with the appropriate publicity and promotion, this Heritage Park will become one of the most well-known tourist attractions here in the South West of Ireland.