Beltane moon

Despite having been proven so far quite unpredictable, the moon did on this occasion just what I expected. It’s light entered half way through the gate, illuminated the northern side, just as in April, where it remained for some considerable time. There should be no or little change in June and July as to the …

Spring equinox alignment comes to an end

Being just a day short of three weeks after the equinox I was uncertain of what to expect. Theoretically, at least some of the beam should be still visible, even if it had left the inside of the monument and was by now retreating through the gate. After all the sun had kept moving daily …

Easter sunset 2015

I have struggled with this before, capturing the sun setting behind one of the Seven Sisters in the Derryveagh Mountains but my previous attempts last year were hampered by the ever so inappropriate positioned clouds. Twice a year, shortly after the spring equinox and just before the autumn one, the sun is setting behind this …

Easter Moon

April 5, Easter Sunday, a day after full moon, and spring finally seemed to have arrived. Hail and heavy winds halted and the thick cloud cover dispersed. Blue skies and sunshine at last. Arriving at the Grianán this time before the moon, I was hoping to see the growth of the beam inside the monument. …

Spring equinox – walking with the sun

March 14, was a second sunny, frosty but distinctively colder morning with a very winterly wind. Last March I pondered over the possibility of Cornamount Hill being a location to stand at the equinox to see the sun rising from behind the Grianán. So I returned, making good progress on the farmer’s new road and …

First sign of the equinox

Last year, on October 2, on a very early visit to the monument, I found to my great surprise that the beam of sunlight still crossed the entire inside of the monument, 11 days after the date of the equinox. In effort to establish the duration of the alignment, when does the first beam of …

Imbolg Moon

Seldom have I seen a moon so bright. And it dawned on me that were it not for a lunar alignment, visible every 18 and a half years, I would not stand here under a star clad sky, leaning against ancient stones, covered in snow and missed, most tragically, a truly exceptional night. The snow …

January Moon

Never have I actually conscientiously observed clouds rushing so fast across the sky than on January 4. I arrived just after quarter past five and from a short lived safety of the gate saw Lough Foyle most magnificently bathed in moonlight, squeezing through between the clouds. The strong winds confined me to the gate, which …

December Moon

December Moon The sky was passable to offer long enough openings in the clouds one day before the full moon on December 5. I arrived just before 4 pm at the time of the moon’s rising but had to wait for nearly an hour for moon and beam to make an appearance, seeking as before shelter …

Samhain Moon

My last post was very appreciatively tweeted by Vox Hiberionacum with the following line: ‘Gorgeous pics and potentially fascinating alignment if true’. With it he clearly identified a very important aspect of the lunar alignment at the Grianán – it has to be established, that what happened at the October moon was not just a one …

Autumn Equinox 2014

A sunny September made up for the misery of March last and offered the opportunity to observe the alignment for longer then before. The first attempt was made on September 15, although it seemed at first very unlikely but the heavy cloud cover started suddenly to disperse just past 7 am, leaving me still somewhat …

Lugnasad sunset from Sheriff’s Mountain

The most bewildering aspect about alignments seems to be the problem of how to establish with some certainty, if a possible alignment was an intended or unintended one. Having been able to see the sun setting behind the monument for two months by simply walking with the sun, a display, that in it’s full length …

Sunrise at the Raven’s Beak

The recent heat wave, a short taste of summer, still only provided one clear enough sky for observation on the morning of July 24.  The sun rose from behind the hills of Inishowen Head at Srúb Brain (Shrove), just a few days away from making her appearance out of the sea. Placenames of Inishowen are hard …

Minkey Hill, solstice sunset take 2

The sun was seen setting for the second time behind the monument ten days later on June 15. Arriving early to inspect the hill closer and in particular the visibility towards the Grianán from its southern extremity, I discovered to my great relief that I will be still left with ridge to spare at the time …

Minkey Hill, solstice sunset take 1

After last years tribulations, involving several test runs and too many clouds, only to find myself standing on the wrong hill in the end, a promising clear sky on the evening of June 5, was not to be snubbed at to undertake the first attempt to see the sun setting behind the Grianán at the …

Beltane 2014

Beltane came and went but no sun rose from the sea. On May 6 the sun broke through but too late and in a piercing winter wind, chasing low flying clouds across the hills. I am still hoping for a clear morning in the next few days, just to see how far the sun has …

Spring equinox 2014

Apparently certain years in one’s life can turn into the collected accumulation of everything going wrong for no reason at all. 2014 seems to be such a year for me and so far would have been more comfortable spent in hibernation. Even the spring equinox basically bailed and was at best half an equinox, with …

Autumn Equinox 2013

The sun seemed to tease us this time, hiding behind a band of clouds above the Magilligan Hills, as if somehow reluctant to make an appearance. Although more probably is, that we got there too early and while waiting, time always refuses to flow at average speed. The first rays of light entered the gate …

As the sun rose from the sea – Beltane 2013

Although somewhat expected, it still caused considerable excitement, as I saw suddenly a faint orange crescent rising, seemingly out of the water, from the eastern shore of the mouth of Lough Foyle on the morning of April 30. And if the skies would have been clear enough some days later, then this sun would have …

Spring Equinox 2013

A hazy sun rose this morning but a sun nevertheless. And although having seen the marvel of this alignment already twice, it still creates amazement, as if it may not appear on this occasion. Even so, a longer then usual winter, artic winds and seemingly eternal grey skies, made this break a very fortunate one, …

Autumn equinox 2012

Seldom has this monument seen such commotion in the early hours of a Saturday morning. Members of a local sports club had erected an obstacle course at the car park and started exercising under the first glorious rays of the rising sun, – today of all days. A group of Polish members of our community …

Spring Equinox 2012

The monument is aligned to the rising sun of the equinox, its beam effectively halving  its inside into a northern and southern part. At entering through the gate the circa 3 feet wide beam reaches the lower stones of the wall opposite. It seems very likely that the stone-lined path found at its discovery would …