Aside from Castles, my favourite sites to explore are the many standing stones to be found scattered around the country. Marking the land like the needles of an acupuncturist, in fact I was once told that they were used by our ancestors as such to harness or balance the natural energy of the land similar to how acupuncture works. Whatever use these stones had, they remain to this day quite fascinating. Easily found, just outside the small Kildare town of Johnstown, the Standing Stone at Johnstown also known as the ‘Maudlins Holed Stone lies in the middle of a field. What really stands out about this stone is the angled cylindrical hole at the top. It has been said that during the summer solstice (20-22 June) the setting sun shines directly through the hole which backs up the common belief that these stones would have been used by the ancient inhabitants of Ireland as astronomical tools. This granite stone measures 1.46 m in height which tapers at the top. The stone was at some stage embedded in a concrete base, so may not lie in its original alignment. Hopefully I can get back here for summer solstice to observe the sun set and see if the stone is still aligned correctly.