Sunday, June 15, 2014

Secondary Roads and Bru na Boinne

"Welcome" or "Failte" as we say in Gaelic and thanks for reading my blog.
Last night I had computer problems so didn't get yesterday's post finished so here it is.  I'll add today's right after it.
Let's start with my favorite sign of the day.
Bob and I have traveled on motorways here and on many of the next best roads, the secondary ones.  Here's a sample of a secondary one.  I've told Bob that tomorrow we are going on even smaller roads.
Bob is a capable and stoic driver.  Why, stoic, you ask?  It's because he's a capable driver but he finds himself with a shrieking maniac in the seat beside him.  And when I'm shrieking, it isn't a pretty sound.  I keep thinking he is too far to the left and that he's going to topple bicyclists, wipe out 300 year old yew hedges and create other dastardly disasters.  Today we had a five minute bus ride to get to Newgrange and I had to stop myself from shrieking at the driver, "you're too far to the left!"  I think my perspective as a passenger must be off when I'm on the left side of the car rather than the ride.  Luckily Bob is a patient man and hasn't yet stopped the car, opened my door, and shouted,  "get out!  Get out!  I'll meet you back in Canada."
Today an item on my life list was checked off when we visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Newgrange or as it's written in Gaelic Bru na Boinne.  It predates both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt and my mind boggles thinking how it was created by humans with next to no tools.  Not only that, research shows that one type of stone came from 70 km. away.  Our tour took us inside but no photos were allowed in there.
The portal above the entry is situated perfectly for light to reach the inner chamber as the sun rises on the winter solstice.  How were people back then clever enough to figure this out and build this spectacular achievement while people with computers and every smart contraption and tool in the world are screwing up construction of the Comp constantly.
Both the large creation and 38 smaller satellite ones were burial chambers for mainly cremated remains.  Some of the satellite ones haven't yet been opened.
People can enter a lottery to be in the chamber for the winter solstice.  About 3.400 apply and 50 are selected.  About two years out of seven aren't cloudy so your odds of being there for the magic aren't great.

We enjoyed watching two renegade sheep at the site and I also liked the ancient ruins of something-or-other one field over.

Then we drove further north to Carlingford a place we wouldn't have known anything about if it wasn't for Elizabeth and our good friends from the Rotary Club of Carlingford, Australia.  The town has an interesting story as it is really on a road which doesn't go anywhere.  It was a dying town until it repurposed itself as a destination.  It promoted tourism and marketed itself as a hiking and biking hub.  It's brilliant to see what a town can do.
Elizabeth, the ice cream stand is still there.

And we found the antique shop.


Carlingford is one of the few places in Ireland to have a surviving town gate.  It dates from 1320.
We visited King John's castle and I hope John King appreciates this.  Myrna, could you please give him the blog address?
This building right next to King John's castle gave me a laugh.
As wall gardening is a fad at home now, I have to show this wall garden where we're pretty sure no one planted and tended them; the seeds just blew onto the stones and took root.
On our way over to Athlone where we are staying, we came across Kells which has the monastery where the monks laboriously created the Book of Kells.  It is a lovely spot with ancient graves.
Athlone is in central Ireland and we're staying five nights traveling out in a different direction every day.  There is a news agent's not far from our hotel and it has the perfect doorstop.
Rob, what time did you watch the World Cup games?  Here we could start at 11.

1 comment:

  1. Love your comments about the shrieking passenger position. I've been there. Your description had me laughing so hard I cried.