300 Years Old Pagan Site of Worship: Welcome to the Piper's Stone

We're here in Athgreany, Hollywood, and it's about 2, 2.5 kilometers south of Hollywood on the N81. It's a very ancient site. It consists of a ring of stones, the Piper's Stones it's known as. There's an outlier stone at [inaudible], which is referred to as the Piper, and the stones are referred to as dancers. And the Mason folklore is that the dancers were defying the Sabbath Day and they were turned into stones.

Archeologists believe that these two stones here are the entrance stones to this ancient circle of stones. And they're directly up from the pilot stone, the Piper's Stone. They're actually to the northeast from me here. And this circle of stones is very much in the tradition to Newgrange and Stone Hedge. It's our own local circle of stones here in Hollywood and West Wicklow. This is very much the keystone or the pilot stone, the key to this circle of stones, and it's referred to as the Piper's Stone. And it's very -- you see markings on it, north, south, east, and west. East coming here, north there, and during the Autumn Equinox, the sun would rise over there and shine directly across that line. And, as the sun moves around the circle, it marks the different months, the different calendar of the year. But, there's no doubt about it, this is a very ancient site. It's here, as I say, probably 1,000 up to 2,000 years before Christ, which makes it 3,000 to 3,500 years old. And it links the same with a very ancient and pagan past of when there was sun worship going on here. And, indeed, people are superstitious about a place like the Piper's Stones and it would be considered bad luck -- if you notice the tree in the middle, it's a lawn bush, a Hawthorne tree, a hawthorn tree or a whitethorn, and Sceach Gheal as it's called in Irish. And it would be considered highly unlucky and, especially given its location in this ancient ring fort, in this ancient stone, ring of stones, to go near it or to interfere with it in any way.

There was a tradition like where people used to leave petitions or offerings here, very much in the same tradition as people leaving offerings or money coins even in holy wells and so on. So, again, this shows the continuity between our ancient pagan past and our Christian past which replaced it. There's a number of Piper's Stones in this general area, but this would probably be the most famous one at Athgreany. Athgreany is an Anglicization of Achadh Greine, which in Irish means the Field of the Throne. And, again, this shows this ancient association with the stone and its ancient purpose as sort of a stone calendar where people would judge the seasons of the year and celebrate certain rituals. And this ancient circle is very much at the center of that pre-Christian pagan world. And that's why people still have this huge respect and farmers still -- and local people have a huge respect for it and its association with the past.

Click here for more info on the Piper's Stone

Wactch interview here

Emerald Mountain Bike Enduro comes to Wicklow in 2015

The Chain Reaction Cycles Emerald Enduro - Enduro World Series Round 2 - On the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of May 2015 Ireland will host the second round of the Enduro World Series mountain bike race, titled the Chain Reaction Cycles Emerald Enduro.  The world’s top riders will line out in the Wicklow mountains for a challenging day of racing over technical terrain in a rally style format with testing special stages.

The race is expected to bring €500,000 to the local economy as riders arrive to train and explore the course ahead of race day.  Fred Verdier of Wicklow County Tourism has warmly welcomed the event saying, “We’re delighted that Wicklow has been selected to host a World Class event such as the Enduro World Series. It will really put County Wicklow on the map for Outdoor Tourism.”

Some 70 international journalists, photographers and film crews will descend on the race to document the goings on for news articles across the globe. An exhibition area will feature some of the biggest brands in the sport and be situated beside race HQ, affording fans the opportunity to get up close and personal to the riders and their bikes.

Event organiser Niall Davis of Biking.ie had this to say - “The bike trails here are naturally very technical, which should make for some incredible racing as riders have to be great bike handlers as well as very physically fit. But the reward for all that hard work will be getting to ride through Ireland’s famously beautiful scenery, and sample some of the country’s world renowned hospitality."

Damien Duggan, Head of Marketing at Chain Reaction Cycles said: “We’re so proud to be sponsoring the Irish round of the Enduro World Series, which will once again put us on the map as one of the best mountain biking destinations in the world and I’d like to congratulate Biking.ie for securing such a premier event here in Ireland. Our company has a proud tradition of sponsoring cycling events from the grass-roots to the world stage, so to support the Chain Reaction Cycles Emerald Enduro is a real honour and we can’t wait to welcome the world’s best racers to the country.”

Enduro mountain bike racing is about riding your bike fast on rocky and rooty trails and reflects what the vast majority of non-professional mountain bikers love about the sport.  Racing takes place in a format very similar to car rally racing with timed (generally downhill) stages and non-timed transitions between these stages.  Riders are typically on course for a total of 6 hours with about 30-40 minutes of this consisting of timed stages.

While the event is set to attract several World Champions on the start line, the Irish riders are no stranger to this high level of competition. Ireland already boasts a highly successful Enduro Mountain Biking series called the Gravity Enduro, run by Biking.ie  who have also hosted a round of the Bluegrass Enduro International Tour for the past two years.  Several Irish riders race on the world stage including Greg Callaghan and Dan Wolfe in the pro ranks and young Juniors Leah Maunsell and Conor Lavelle who podiumed at the Scottish round of the Enduro World Series earlier this year.

2015 will be the third year of the Enduro World Series and sees the series move to eight venues around the world, including New Zealand, Scotland, France, Spain, USA, Canada and Italy.   Entry will open early in the new year and is expected to sell out in minutes. See www.emeraldenduro.com for details on the event.
For further queries contact info@biking.ie or 083-4173899. at www.emeraldenduro.com and you can follow us on social media @emeraldenduro on Twitter and on the facebook page at www.facebook.com/emeraldenduro

For further info about Wicklow, go to:  http://visitwicklow.ie


Dun Laoghaire Golf Club on the border of Counties Wicklow and Dublin, has been selected to host the 2016 Curtis Cup Match between Great Britain & Ireland (“GB&I”) and the United States of America (“USA”). Following a rigorous review of possible venues, the Ladies’ Golf Union (“the LGU”) selected Dun Laoghaire to host this prestigious international event. Situated in the Wicklow Hills, Dun Laoghaire Golf Club offers world class golf in stunning surroundings overlooking the Wicklow Mountains.
County Wicklow is home of some of Ireland’s best golf courses including Druids Glen Golf Club, The European Golf Club, and of Course, Dun Laoghaire Golf Club. Wicklow offers golfers more than 25 golf courses to choose from championship, parklands and two stunning links golf courses. For more info no Wicklow Golf clubs go to http://visitwicklow.ie/golf-wicklow
The Curtis Cup is the best known team trophy for lady amateur golfers and is organised by the LGU when it is played in GB&I. The first Curtis Cup Match was played in 1932 at the Wentworth Club in England, and was won by the American team. The match was last held in Ireland in 1996, when it was played on the Killeen Course at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club. The GB & I team won on that occasion.
This year’s match concluded today (Sunday) at The Nairn Golf Club in Scotland, and attracted a large and noisy crowd of home and international spectators. Dun Laoghaire’s selection for the 2016 match was announced during the closing ceremony. “We are delighted that the next home Curtis Cup match will be held in Ireland in 2016,” commented Shona Malcolm, CEO of the LGU. “Dun Laoghaire Golf Club submitted a very compelling bid for hosting the 2016 match. The quality of the course and top class facilities at Dun Laoghaire, coupled with the commitment and enthusiasm of the club’s team, convinced us that we were selecting a great venue.”
A number of the best courses in GB&I were considered as part of a competitive bidding process. In being selected, Dun Laoghaire joins an esteemed list of previous host venues which include Royal County Down, The Old Course, St. Andrews, Royal St. George’s, Muirfield, and Royal Liverpool.
Commenting on the club’s selection as the host venue, Club President Derek Montgomery said: “This is a tremendous achievement for our club. It will be a fitting showcase event for our course, and for ladies golf in Great Britain & Ireland. We are determined to host a very successful event, and are confident that, with the support of our members, we can make it a truly memorable occasion.” The 27-hole championship course at Ballyman Glen, on the border of counties Dublin and Wicklow, was designed by the renowned course architects at Hawtree Limited. The 102-year-old club moved to Ballyman Glen in Enniskerry, County Wicklow, in the summer of 2007 from its original 18-hole home in the Dublin suburb of Dun Laoghaire.
Irish golfing legend Mary McKenna MBE, past Curtis Cup player and Captain, is thrilled with the announcement and looks forward to welcoming the players and supporters to Ireland for this great event. “It will be a great boost for ladies golf, and will give the up and coming girls an added incentive to strive to make a Curtis Cup team, which is the pinnacle of Amateur Ladies Golf,” she said.
Dun Laoghaire Golf Club is a member of Wicklow County Tourism
For more info go to:

Wicklow: One of the World's best Golf Destination

Wicklow in Ireland, offers more than 20 world-class golf courses, with many Golf ranked within the best in the World.  Only 30 minutes from Dublin City Centre, Wicklow is one of Ireland's best kept secret...
Enjoy the following pictures of golf in wicklow.  For more information go to:

Golf Wicklow Ireland: http://visitwicklow.ie/category/activities/golf/

Golf Wicklow Ireland:  http://visitwicklow.ie/category/activities/golf/

Wicklow Tourism Road Show

Wicklow Tourism Information Point set up in Powerscourt
Tom Fortune, Chairman of Wicklow Tourism & Fred Verdier, CEO of Wicklow Tourism
 Wicklow County Tourism is travelling around the County in November and December to present its Tourism Information Point system to the public and the local tourism trade.
The objectives of the road show are to raise awareness of Wicklow Tourism’s promotional platform as well as help develop a network of Tourism Information Points for Wicklow throughout the county and beyond.
Over the past 12 months, Wicklow Tourism has developed a very useful and powerful website that includes extensive listings of attractions, activities, accommodation, restaurants, shops and more.  All of this information has been sorted by categories, or towns and villages.  The website includes a lot of great features and is extremely easy to use.  Combined with the tourist map and directory, Wicklow Tourism offers a fantastic promotional platform for the County.
“Our ambition is to help create a network of Information Points in Wicklow and beyond which visitors can access” Says Fred Verdier, CEO of Wicklow Tourism.  “Our platform is not only designed to inform and attract visitors, it is also extremely useful for everyone living in and around County Wicklow with an extensive list of local events and the best directory for local walks”
Wicklow Tourism is inviting anyone with interest in tourism to come and meet with the team at one of the following locations:
  • Wed 6th November:  Powerscourt House Enniskerry
  • Tue 12th November:  Arklow Bay Hotel
  • Tues 19th November:  Brockagh Centre – Laragh
  • Wed 27th November:  Blessington Library
  • Wed 4th December:  Greystones Library
  • Wed 11th December:  Bray (venue to be confirmed)
  • Wed 18th December:  Grand Hotel – Wicklow Town
During this road show, Wicklow Tourism will be running a competition with great “Wicklow Prizes” to be won.
For further info, go to www.visitwicklow.ie or call 040420070

More info on Powerscourt House