The wind is beating at the walls and windows, cars and umbrellas. The rain is pouring down from the slanted roofs, streaming through the gutters: my view from a comfy couch in the lobby of the Clonakilty Hotel, a place with old-world charm. I have been browsing through some of the books I found here, on Celts and the holy grail, and the Wild Atlantic Way, of which I am currently driving a small part.
By now, it is after three on Sunday afternoon and I am getting restless. Despite the unpredictable weather and my inexperience with driving on the left (it has been three days since I crossed that bridge), I decide to head out. Drombeg Stone Circle should only be about half an hour away, and easily found: just past Roscarberry, near Glandore.
It is like the rain cannot make up its mind. One moment, it eases up, making way for some careful rays of sunshine, then another tantrum sets in and down-down-down, pour-pour-pour it is again, relentlessly, until it takes another breath.
When I near Roscarberry, there is an impressive estuary to cross by a less impressive bridge. After a left turn I am officially on the Wild Atlantic Way, here a lovely country road full of curves and ups and downs, past trees and stone walls and at times, the Atlantic. Or really still the Celtic Sea, here in the South West. The colour palette today is one of greyish blues, greens and browns.
There is a sign: Drombeg Stone Circle. Apparently, this is not always the case in Ireland, good signage. In any case, I follow it, take a left and encounter my smallest country road so far. If I meet another car now, I am not quite sure how this is going to go down. But I don’t.
The stone circle is smaller than expected. (I suppose Stonehenge raised the bar there.) Not that size seems to be a relevant feature here. Other forces seem to be at work. For a split second, it is as if layers of time can be sensed, some sort of… slice of history is witnessed, an evening where –presumably- druids in white robes walked around the circle. Because of the rain, I am also hidden deep in my hood – very druid-like.
Drombeg’s second name is The Druids’ Altar. There seems to be an old truth in that, although it is not the only one here.
The stone circle has two portal stones, opposite an altar stone. There’s a flat one in the middle of the circle. Looking at the circle from a little slope about 20 metres further up the hill, it seems as if the stones emit an energy that creates a dome over them.
The stones themselves have a strange, lively feel. I never knew stones could even have a ‘feel’. In the books and now TV-series Outlander, a woman travels through time through a humming stone in a circle and suddenly, that idea doesn’t even seem so far-fetched.
The next day, the weather is gorgeous. The greys are gone; pretty blues, greens, yellows have taken over. I decide to drive past Drombeg again. I walk a little further onto the site this time, past the circle, and come to what supposed to have been cooking sites, or fulacht fiadh in Gaelic.
I cannot quite put my finger on it, but there is something in the air that is humbling. As if something powerful and very, very old can still be sensed here, as if this was its, or ‘her’, dwelling place. It seems as if bolts of energy are exchanged between the stones on these horse shoe shaped sites.
It invites you kindly yet forcefully to respect this place and whomever it was that once was believed in or invoked here. However, it also seems to challenge you to honour it by finding this force in yourself and become its equal. The experience is powerful and gentle at the same time.