Visits For March, 2007

Saturday, 17th March 2007

Finally March Begins With Rainbow Chasing

It's been a funny month. The first weekend of March I wasn't very well. Last weekend I was at Materialitas at UCD, a conference on the materiality of stone in monuments. This was a great weekend with some very interesting speakers including Irish archaeological legends Muiris O'Sullivan and George Eogan (who excavated Knowth amongst others). Elizabeth Twohig was there too along with Gabriel Cooney. One of the presentations was about the Iberian slate tablets that have been found in their hundreds. For more info on these see Esprit.

Today I decided to leave the madness of Dublin on ST. Patrick's Day and head out of town. I had planned to spend two days in Kerry, but the weather forecast is terrible. Today it looked ok. It wasn't. I got soaked!

I headed for Cavan, in particular the sites around Burren townland. I have been to many of the Burren TD sites before, but I had recently seen some photos from Andy Ryan showing that there is now a signposted trail in th woods. This is marvellous, pointing out all the things of interest: Medieval enclosures, a promontory fort, wedge tombs, a portal tomb, loads of hut sites, a boulder burial and none monumental stuff like glacial eratics. Although the sites are signposted there are no information boards, but the addition of the signs is to be applauded. Due to the lack of information boards I don't know if the rock art I found is a new find or not.

I managed to find a couple remote sites just over the Fermanagh border. Getting to the first of these took me across some exposed peat bog in driving rain. I'd come this far and wasn't turning back! As I walked to the site I was chasing a rainbow across the hilltop. It was just 100m across and never much further in front of me than 100m or so. I really felt as if I was going to walk under it (which is obviously impossible, but it was a nice thought.)

I have used my not-going-out-time well, though. I have started to rewrite the whole of I will be relaunching it within the next two weeks. I am finding sections and features that I forgot I had! No wonder that some people email me to suggest I do something I already do. The new look will be far more simple and less overpowering and cluttered. It won't be quite so gaudy either. Pages will load quicker, too (I hope).

Cloghany (Co. Fermanagh)Court Tomb3 New Images
Mullaghboy (Co. Cavan)Court Tomb6 New Images
Garvagh (Co. Cavan)Court Tomb3 New Images
Burren SW (Co. Cavan)Portal Tomb3 New Images
Burren (Co. Cavan)Wedge Tomb3 New Images
The Calf House - Burren (Co. Cavan)Portal Tomb5 New Images
Burren (Co. Cavan)Boulder Burial7 New Images
Burren (Co. Cavan)Wedge Tomb7 New Images
Giant's Leap - Burren (Co. Cavan)Wedge Tomb5 New Images
Burren (Co. Cavan)Hut Circle2 New Images

Friday, 23rd March 2007

A Day Off, Making a Very Short Week

As well as the St. Patrick's Day Bank Holiday I had today off too this week. Not knowing what to do I decided to head back to see the portal tomb at Ervey (County Meath) and then hunt out a 'new' standing stone near by. As the way home took me through Slane I decided to head for the ruined passage tomb at Townley Hall (County Louth). From here I noticed that the main passage tomb at Dowth (County Meath) sits on the southern horizon. Nice!

This prompted me to head over to Dowth, where I saw the new notices and fence around the rear kerb stone for the first time. The plot of land where the entrance stone to the north tomb is now accessible. Worryingly there's a cabin there now that looks very much like a ticket office - I hope they're not going to attempt to close this one off and force folks to visit via the Newgrange Visitor Centre. That would be disgraceful. There were some workmen there today who were obviously going inside the tomb, but denied it when I asked them (the hard hats and torches gave it away lads!).

Ervey (Co. Meath)Portal Tomb4 New Images
Drumgill Lower (Co. Meath)Standing Stone6 New Images
Townley Hall (Co. Louth)Passage Tomb6 New Images
Dowth (Co. Meath)Passage Tomb5 New Images

Sunday, 25th March 2007

A Long Drive, Few Sites and Some Changes

With an hour less to do things today I decided to head for Sligo. Why? It's a long drive and the sites I was targeting are tricky ones to find. I didn't find them all, either, so my site count for today is rather low.

I was in the area of Knocknashee and the Ox Mountains. I love it around there. It's so wild and beautiful. The final site on my list for today was the portal tomb at Crowagh (County Sligo). A couple of years ago I very nearly bought the cottage and land that this tomb stands on. Unfortunately, my attempt wasn't successful, so I was keen to see if anything had been done to the little cottage. It has. It is now quite a big cottage! The new owners have done a nice job, but I'n not sure about the gardens from what I could see from the gate. I didn't go any further to the tomb itself, because there are very large 'Private - Keep Out' signs at the gate. I hope the new owners aren't going to stop people visiting this lovely tomb. I certainly wouldn't have done so if I'd managed to buy the property.

I'd like to make a quick note about my comments regarding my recent trip to Dowth. Apparently, the shed/cabin I mentioned has been there for years. Perhaps it has been painted bright pink with a Somebody Else's Problem field erected over it. I don't think I've ever noticed it before. I'm always so excited to be at Dowth that it doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

I'd like to give you all advance notice of some changes to over the next few days. I will be shutting down the website for a few hours one day this week. You should see a message saying that maintenance work is being undertaken. Don't panic (more Douglas Adams!) - will return ASAP.

Sometime during the following week I will (hopefully) launching the new-look version of This will make it faster loading and much more maintainable. It will also be far less cluttered and even easier to navigate. All the features and functions will still be available, plus a few more I hope.

Now all I have to do is catch up on all the notes and image uploading from the last few trips!

Knockatotaun (Co. Sligo)Portal Tomb8 New Images
Arnyara (Co. Sligo)Artificial Mound4 New Images
Carrowreagh (Co. Sligo)Court Tomb2 New Images
Carrowreagh (Co. Sligo)Court Tomb9 New Images
Carrowreagh (Co. Sligo)Kist1 New Image
Crowagh (Co. Sligo)Portal Tomb1 New Image
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