Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Like, Totally Megalithic

Our drive back to Hillsbourough, was a trip back in time- more than the imagination could even fathom.

We started out at the Hill of Tara. Unfortunately, we didn't have cash for the tour and these remote places don't tend to take credit cards but the grounds are open to the public so we did have a chance to walk around the grounds. At first sight it really doesn't look like much, grassy mounds and depressions and a few pillar stones, but imagining life in the iron age while the little ones enjoyed the open space was magical, after all, kings were crowned on that very hill top.

As the luck of the Irish would have it, not taking the tour had us arriving at the the Newgrange visitors center in time to get the very last five stickers allowing us to visit the monument. I hadn't realized, that unlike other tourist spot where you show up and  join whatever is happening at the time, here they cleverly limit the number of people that visit each site. Frustrating to those behind us that day, but those stickers with the times to be at the bus stop that takes you to each of the monuments made it so that small groups could really get more out of the guided tours and the grounds of each passage tomb. The UNESCO heritage site is older than the pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge. Like those two well known examples it proves that prehistoric doesn't necessarily mean primitive. These feats of engineering have lasted over 3000-5000 years.

We visited Knowth (rhymes with mouth) first. Not quite as large as Newgrange, this ones is much more complicated. It has two passages, east and west, and has evidence of other civilizations who unknowingly built castle courts on top this hidden tomb.  Elliot, Kyra and Gavin Climbed through one of the sous terrain tunnels that only Gavin was able to walk though upright. We were also able to climb to the top of the mound and see first hand why this location would have been so desirable for a community in civilization throughout time.

Newgrange was just as impressive and dating back to the stone age made the artwork on the kerbstones that much more appreciated. We entered the passage and were able to see the corbelled roof construction. Sharing a small space in the center of a passage tomb accessible by only one narrow passage way was not for me. I left the tomb after about five minutes. Happy that I made it inside to see I was also relieved that I had left before the guide turned off the lights inside demonstrating that the tomb is only lit naturally for 17 minutes a day for two days before, after and on the solstice. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi, We have really enjoyed reading about your adventures in Ireland. It appears that you are all having a lot of fun. As we were reading, we felt as though we were travelling with you.

    Keep up with exploring and enjoying your new surroundings. We look forward to being with you through your blogs with excellent photos. Lots of love. Mum and Dad Mediratta