The Ancient and Quiet Places of Ireland

IMG_1603In a previous post I said that, when we left the hubbub of Dublin, we sought quiet. And where better to find quiet than among the ancient folk and the marks they left on the land?

Always drawn to graveyards of any age, we find the most ancient ritual burial places especially fascinating. Who were these peoples, who left symbols carved into gigantic stones? Who left passage tombs and dolmens and wedge tombs and stone circles?

If I were going to urge people to visit just one place in Ireland in would be Brú na Bóinne, near Dublin in County Meath. This large and complex megalithic site is home to Newgrange and Knowth. Here one finds passage tombs, ranging from small and modest to huge and awe-inspiring. These tombs date to 3500 BCE, older than Stonehenge, older than the Egyptian pyramids, older than most things we’ll ever be lucky enough to see.

The majesty of these sites, with their evidence that we are only the latest of the innovative and reflective people to inhabit the earth, defies description.

But they aren’t the only worthwhile megalithic places in the land. We also visited Carrowmore and the Cavan Burren Park.

Carrowmore, in County Sligo, contains passage tombs, as well as stone circles, even older than Newgrange, dating to 3700 BCE.

The Cavan Burren Park, in County Cavan, has a new visitor center and wonderfully constructed walking trails that take one past megalithic tombs, prehistoric stone walls, ancient rock art, and glacial erratics.

Of course, a spot need not be ancient to inspire calm and introspection. From the National Museum of Ireland to Yeats’ grave, we found our quiet places.

May you share the awe and peace we found at these remarkable places.  A huge thank you to Angela, from A Silver Voice of Ireland, for her generous guidance in directing us to many of these wonderful sites!