Equinox sunset over Knocknarea.
Circle 1 at Carrowmore. This monument has an intact stone circle with a small inner circle around a level platform.

Circle 1

Circle 1 is located directly across the road from the visitor's centre. There are 35 boulders in a complete circle, with a raised platform or tretre. The circle measures 12 meters in diameter, and has a smaller inner circle or setting which is 8 meters in diameter. This feature is found at a number of sites in Carrowmore, but this is the best example that can be seen today; circular settings were also found at Knowth under the smaller satellite monuments.

Circle 1 looking west.

The stones at Circle 1 originally stood upright in a complete ring. Today, most of the stones have fallen over and are lying prone. Drystone packing was found under some of the boulders on the west side, which was placed there to keep the kerb level. This feature is found at several of the Carrowmore circles. It is no longer easy to see at this site; this small field was purchased by the Office of Public Works in 2004, and a small shed which stood by the circle was demolished. The lower ground level was filled in, so the packing is no longer so apparent.

This boulder is probably the capstone of Circle 1.
This boulder is probably the capstone of Circle 1.

Borlase's report, 1895

No. 1 (dolmen-circle), " the most western of the chain of circles north of the road leading from Seafield to Sligo."

"This forms an elevated platform, and has an inner circle of smaller stones with a broken cromleac in the centre. The stones of the outer circle, which is 40 feet in diameter, are of very large size, and 35 in number; but two of them have fallen from their places. Bones were found beneath the cromleac." - Petrie.

The large gneiss boulders of Circle 1.

"The elevated platform is several feet above the surface of the surrounding soil, rising as much as 6 feet to the west. The outer circle is 43 feet in diameter, and is formed of 36 stones. There were 25 of the stones of the inner circle. One support of the cromleac was in situ.

Stone in a wall.
Many of the stones from the Carrowmore circles were used to build walls.

An excavation was made to the west of this, and a few inches beneath the surface some greyish-white, and seemingly highly calcined fragments of bone, were dug up. Dr. Frazer pronounced them to be all human, and identified parts of a skull, and thigh and leg bones. With the calcined remains was discovered the upper portion of a rude pin seemingly made of horn, in several fragments. A larger fragment may have formed part of a larger pin or small dagger. There was a semicircular piece of a bone object, and two small portions of an urn." - Wood-Martin.

Carrowmore 1 looking southeast.
Carrowmore 1 looking southeast. The smaller boulders within the ring are the inner circle. The peaks of Sliabh Dá Eán are visible in the distance. The cottage on the right houses the visitor centre. Circles 56 and 57 are visible just above the roof.