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(an alternate version of an article written for Dunmanway Doings Volume VI – 2014)
Gordon J.R. Kingston
It’s early morning. The earth breathes out a heavy mist and the dew gathers on the spines and the cobwebs on the furze. The fog seems to hang over Lough Atarriff, leaving a void that mirrors the shape of the surface below. A car engine sounds in the distance. You think that it’s just you (and whatever creeps and crawls unseen through the wet grass) that’s moving. But you’re not alone. Four grey figures stand, one fallen, in relief against the whiteness, as if all else; hill, valley, present, past, has been carved away from around them. They are static, but filled with a hovering tension, in which verticality and circularity combine; to form the illusion of movement, or life, or the quality of art.
The stone circle at Lettergorman is set…
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Blackrock Dolmen (1987) a sculpture by Rowan Gillespie
Image credit: Sarah777 at en.wikipedia. Transferred to Commons by User: Gerardus using CommonsHelper. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Here at The Heritage Trust we’re very fond of a dolmen or two (as you may have noticed). So, it was a great pleasure to stumble on this sculpture by the Irish born sculptor Rowan Gillespie entitled Blackrock Dolmen which is now on show in Blackrock, Dublin, Ireland.
More of Rowan’s truly inspirational work here.
The Lia Fáil before being vandalised
Image credit Germán Póo-Caamaño. Source Wikimedia Commons
The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) on the world famous Hill of Tara site in County Meath, Ireland, was badly vandalised last night. Some time between 5pm yesterday and 10am this morning two tins of thick gloss paint (one red and one green) were poured over the stone. Minister Jimmy Deenihan expressed his outrage, “I condemn in the strongest terms the damage that has been caused to one of our most iconic ancient monuments. This act of mindless vandalism, on one of our premier archaeological sites, is truly shameful.”
Two years ago the Lia Fáil was damaged when pieces were hacked out of it with an axe. More here.
Source Wikimedia Commons. Image credit Sean O’Connor
che dopo ‘l sogno la passione impressa
rimane, e l’altro a la mente non riede,
cotal son io…
Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXXIII
‘Like somebody who sees things when he’s dreaming
And after the dream lives with the aftermath
Of what he felt, no other trace remaining,
So I live now’, for what I saw departs
And is almost lost, although a distilled sweetness
Still drops from it into my inner heart.
It is the same with snow the sun releases,
The same as when in wind, the hurried leaves
Swirl round your ankles and the shaking hedges
That had flopped their catkin cuff-lace and green sleeves
Are sleet-whipped bare. Dawn light began stealing
Through the cold universe to County Meath,
Over weirs where the Boyne water, fulgent, darkling,
Turns its thick axle, over rick-sized stones
Millennia deep in their own unmoving
And unmoved alignment. And now the planet turns
Earth brow and templed earth, the crowd grows still
In the wired-off precinct of the burial mounds,
Flight 104 from New York audible
As it descends on schedule into Dublin,
Boyne Valley Centre Car Park already full,
Waiting for seedling light on roof and windscreen.
And as in illo tempore people marked
The king’s gold dagger when he plunged it in
To the hilt in unsown ground, to start the work
Of the world again, to speed the plough
And plant the riddled grain, we watch through murk
And overboiling cloud for the milted glow
Of sunrise, for an eastern dazzle
To send first light like share-shine in a furrow
Steadily deeper, farther available,
Creeping along the floor of the passage grave
To backstone and capstone, holding its candle
Under the rock-piled roof and the loam above.
13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013
Reconstruction of a crannog built approximately 5,000 years ago on Loch Tay. Source Wikimedia. Image credit Christine Westerback
BBC News Northern Ireland reports on the imminent destruction of a historical site in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The site contains the remains of a crannog – an ancient type of loch dwelling found throughout Ireland and Scotland. The site represents one of the most important and interesting archaeological digs in Northern Ireland ever undertaken and will be revealed to the public during an open day tomorrow, 1 December. BBC News Northern Ireland reports that –
Workers at the crannog – an artificial island in a lake – in County Fermanagh have been making discoveries almost weekly since the dig began in June.
The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) had raised concerns about “the apparently imminent destruction” of the historical site. They regarded the crannog as too fragile to preserve rather than excavate after the nearby engineering works for the road scheme drained water from the site. The new A32 Cherrymount link road near Enniskillen will eventually be built on top of the crannog.
Following a review of progress in July, archaeologists were given more time to recover the information from the site, which has turned out to be of international significance.
Full article and details of the open day here.
Full article here.
One of the rock art stones uncovered by archaeologists at the Knowth tumulus. Image credit Kevin O’Brien, OPW
Writing in the Meath Chronicle, Paul Murphy reports that –
New and exciting archaeological finds have been made at the Knowth tumulus over the last few months, according to archaeologists working on the site. The passage tomb cemetery at Brú na Binne has produced some extraordinary discoveries over the decades ever since Professor George Eogan made his first tentative exploration in and around the site. A number of previously unknown large-scale monuments in the field lying immediately to the south-east of the large mound have recently come to light.
Full article here.