Q & A: Why Are the Entrances to Sacred Sites in Ireland so Uniquely Shaped?
Tink sent along this photo to illustrate one of the unique entrances she noticed when visiting ancient sites in Ireland, but it's unique shape left her asking, "Why?" Photo of Dun Chaoin Burial Grounds in Dingle, County Kerry, by Tink Vasickanin.
My husband and I recently came back from our first trip to Ireland, and we’re wondering… Why do Irish Burial Grounds have a ‘V’ slot near the entrance way? It was at practically every one that we went into.
– Tink Vasickanin via email
Those mysterious entrances have captured the curiosity of many visitors to Ireland. Tink admits to letting her imagination run a bit wild with thoughts of the shape preventing evil spirits from entering.
Truth is, the devil wasn’t the cloven hoofed creature the builders were trying to keep out. The slotted shape makes it easy for people to pass through or over but not livestock such as cows and sheep.
These entrances, called stiles (think turnstile), are generally recent additions and appear in several forms throughout Ireland.
We’ve collected several examples of stiles… there are a lot more varieties than shown here.
Stone Step Stile - Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary, by Bernard Goldbach
Wood Step Stile - Athassel Priory, County Tipperary, Ireland by Corey Taratuta
Swinging Gate Stile - Hill of Tara, County Meath, by Machss11
Ladder Stile - Glenmalore, County Wichlow by Kevin McLaughlin
Cantilevered Stile - Castlebar, County Mayo by Donna Burgess
Modern Stile - Ring of Beara, County Kerry, by Corey Taratuta
Slot Stile - Ventry, County Kerry, by Tink Vasickanin
Concrete Stile - Valencia Island, County Kerry (unconfirmed) by Kartherine Fissette
Fence Stile - Kerry Way, County Kerry by zahaadoom
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