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Thursday, 15 September 2011
Autumn gloaming


Over Oxted and the Weald of Kent, as seen from the Woldingham viewpoint a few minutes ago.

Posted by bigblue on 15/09/2011 at 06:23 PM
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Listoghil (also known as “tomb 51”) at Carrowmore is situated at the highest point in the Carrowmore complex, about 50m above sea level. It is surrounded by a cluster of ‘dolmen circles’. Unlike these uncovered chambers however the central monument had a cairn or covering mound of stones. It is also much bigger than the satellite tombs, being about 34 metres in diameter, whereas the satellites average about 15m. (Queen Maeve’s tomb close by, on Knocknarea, by contrast has a cairn twice the diameter, and stands at about 10 metres).  There is a good description of Listoghil at the Standing Stone who also comment on the redevelopment/restoration of the cairn, thus:

In 2003 the tomb was restored somewhat controversially. There was debate as to how to restore the tomb if at all. It was in bad repair and something had to be done. It was decided to replace the cairn but not to the extent that it would cover the tomb. Rather the cairn has been built up (I’m not sure if the farm walls built from the cairn material were deconstructed for this or not) with a large central area left clear so the tomb can be accessed. To do this, stones are held back by a very ugly wire mesh. The effect is that you really feel part of a modern garden structure rather than in an ancient tomb of some significance. At least the plans to cover the tomb with a concrete dome were scrapped. It is amazing to me that we take our best antiquities in Ireland and rebuild them with so little concern for their original appearance (just as at Newgrange). While this is the most important tomb at Carrowmore it is the least interesting to me having been butchered by poor restoration attempts.

The description is accurate, but on the positive side the appearance will improve with time, and the reconstruction allows one to enter the cairn via a passage which provides one with a strong sense of the scale of the monument.

Human bones found in Listoghil were a mixture of cremated, and un-cremated bones whereas the older, smaller tombs around it generally contain burnt bones. The older burial sites in Ireland such as those in Carrowmore are the only ones in Europe that have been found to have practiced cremation rather than inhumation.

Posted by bigblue on 15/09/2011 at 08:08 AM
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Wednesday, 14 September 2011


This 1000 foot limestone hill is visually striking, as it is monolithic in appearance and stands in a prominent position on the Cúil Irra peninsula between the bays of Sligo and Ballysadare. At the summit is a large cairn of loose stones. Although it has not been excavated, it is believed to conceal a Neolithic passage tomb, and is known in Irish as Meascán Méabha and in English as Maeve’s Tomb.


The top photograph is taken from Strandhill while the bottom one is is the view of Knocknarea from the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery - from the latter spot you can make out the cairn at the top.

Maeve is a figure in Irish mythology, probably a “sovereignty goddess”, whom a king would ritually marry as part of his inauguration.  The name Maeve is said to mean “she who intoxicates”.

Posted by bigblue on 14/09/2011 at 08:50 AM
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Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Carrowmore is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland. The tombs are spread out over 3.8 sq km (1.5sq mi) in the shadow of the Knocknarea to the east, over a number of fields and townlands, most of them situated near the road. Carrowmore’s placement on a low-lying gravel ridge contrasts to the hilltop situation of other cemeteries; each mounment stands on its own little eminence.
  Nearly 100 ancient monuments were originally present on this extensive site. Academic vandalism in Victorian times and modern gravel quarrying have left only about 65 sites, but the atmosphere of the area remains quite extraordinary. The majority of tombs are a mixture of small passage-tombs and dolmens, usually surrounded by a stone kerb and constructed with the large rounded granite boulders of the area. On this site there are several examples of what appear to be stone circles but which are, in fact, the kerbing stones of cairns which have disappeared. Some, however, are considered transitional forms between the heavy kerbs of cairns and the true free-standing stone circles.

~ from Stones of Ireland.

Link: Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery - offical Heritage Ireland site.

Posted by bigblue on 13/09/2011 at 08:42 AM
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Monday, 12 September 2011
Into the twilight


Out-worn heart, in a time out-worn,
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;
Laugh heart again in the gray twilight,
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.

Your mother Eire is always young,
Dew ever shining and twilight gray;
Though hope fall from you and love decay,
Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.

Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;

And God stands winding His lonely horn,
And time and the world are ever in flight;
And love is less kind than the gray twilight,
And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn.

from: Into the Twilight, by WB Yeats.

As seen in the Yeats Memorial Building in Sligo recently.

Posted by bigblue on 12/09/2011 at 11:36 PM
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Sunday, 11 September 2011
The bus stop


I assume it’s a bus stop. There was no actual pole or post, but perhaps the bus will stop here regardless.

Posted by bigblue on 11/09/2011 at 10:00 AM
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Saturday, 10 September 2011
Post office


Well it’s open, but they seem to be out of stamps.

We spotted this in Ireland, noting that the box contains the cypher “ER VII” on the top.  This shows that it was installed during the reign of British monarch Edward VII (1901-1910). At that time it would have been painted red. At some point it must have been painted green to resemble an Irish postbox.

Link: Photograph of a modern Irish postbox.

Posted by bigblue on 10/09/2011 at 08:50 AM
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Friday, 09 September 2011
Lost the plot?


I might have found it for you.

Posted by bigblue on 09/09/2011 at 08:49 AM
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