The Astronomical Connection
During a visit to the stones in early July of 1999, Michael Byrne discovered that when he placed his binoculars against the flat side of the larger stone at Baltray, Rockabill was visible in the field of view.‘It was as if the flat side of the rock was used as a ‘pointer’ towards Rockabill. When they returned in December for the winter sunrise, they confirmed this was the case. This is the image where the sun rises over Rockabill (Photograph by Anthony Murphy in Mythical ireland 2017)
Alignments with solar positions was a major preoccupation with ancient peoples and they viewed astronomy as a spiritual or sacred science. In Mythical Ireland Anthony Murphy tells us that the larger of the Standing stones at Baltray points directly towards Rockabill for the winter Solstice sunrise. Murphy alongside his partners Richard Moore and Michael Byrne made this discovery.
Verification of Alignment
In February 2019 I went to Baltray with Archaeologist Dr Frank Prendergast who carried out a field study of the standing stones.In a personal communication with me, he confirmed that the results of the scientific study showed the south stone at Baltray is aligned on the Winter Solstice Sunrise with Rockabill Island. This provides scientific evidence of the phenomenon. My hope is that this will be recorded in National Monuments as a winter solstice sunrise alignment.
Why would these stone be pointing towards Rockabill?
There is no definitive answer to this question. However from an astronomical alignment perspective links can be made with how our ancestors viewed the Celestial realm. In the Mythology of Venus (2013:18) the Rockabill Islands are linked with the planet Venus. In Celtic Mythology Venus is a female deity represented as a calf whose mother cow is the moon, and both rise from the sea where they have been transformed into stone. Venus rises from the sea in the south east at the time of the winter solstice to reveal her calf and cow in Stone, Rockabill Islands. The cow and calf is also linked with the Mythology of the God Balor and Rockabill. The story is also considered a creation myth, and is reminiscent of many other similar stories in Egyptian and Greek mythologies.