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Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Alignment sites
I've been doing some research into alignment sites. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, those are the Neolithic or megalithic prehistoric sites that are constructed so that the either the winter or summer solstice sunrise illuminates the interior.

The most famous of these in Ireland is
Newgrange, which I had the great fortune to visit on a short vacation in the summer of 2004. Mistah Midnight was supposed to speak at a conference in Dublin and I went along. I lived in Europe for a year back in the '70s but never got to visit Ireland. To our surprise, although the conference was cancelled a few weeks before we were scheduled to go, the organizer still paid for his plane ticket. Gotta love that! So I had the pleasure of his company for the whole four days. And he got to see all of the sites that I would otherwise have run around and seen without him.

We stayed in Temple Bar, right near the River Liffey and within walking distance from Trinity College, where the Book of Kells is on display. Lovely!

The most important thing for me was to visit a
stone circle. Since there are more stone circles in Ireland than anywhere else, it seemed an easy goal.

However, since we didn't want to rent a car and have to drive on the wrong side of the road, we lucked into discovering the bus tour to the Boyne Valley. This includes the Neolithic alignment site of Newgrange, which is surrounded by a stone circle. Woo-hoo! It was awesome, and I mean that in every sense of the word.

The other sites on the tour were
Trim Castle (where Braveheart was filmed) and Tara. The hill at Tara is best known for either the stained glass window in the church or the Stone of Destiny.

My favorite place was the Sacred Spring at Tara. It's at the bottom of the hill, below the gift shop. We were the only people from the tour who walked down to it.

There is an iron gate that shields the spring itself from the local livestock, although they have access to the trickling stream that it spawns. Inside, there is a small cavern, with ferns growing above the water. I asked permission from the local spirits before I cupped my hands and drank.

The water was cool and tasted very clean. It should be, cleansed by its trip across the Atlantic and filtered as it is through the bones of warriors up on the Hill! (I spent months exploring the extent of my newfound superpowers. LOL) My only mistake was not to drink more deeply. That gives me a reason to go back.

The bus driver assured us that the water has tested perfectly clean, free of chemicals. But I knew that. LOL

I'll get the pictures up here in the next day or two. The Photo Gallery on my website isn't getting set up as fast as I'd like.

Enjoy the links and learning about alignment sites! I think one of the most fascinating is Newgrange. Amazing that there were no signs of soot from torches or candles or lamps when it was discovered in Victorian times. And the structure is still watertight, after 5,000 years.

Mistah Midnight thinks that the carvings on the portal stone are the Neolithic version of guys going down to the firehall to play poker and drink beer. The men carved spirals while they gossiped and drank beer. This made them look industrious while they hung out.

What do you think?
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 6:41 PM  
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Name: Liddy Midnight
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