ithika: (Default)
Yesterday we visited Brú na Bóinne, which is a series of neolithic chamber toumbs in Ireland roughly halfway between Belfast and Dublin.

There's Newgrange (which was named relatively recently "new farm" by the Cistercians), one of the most famous chamber toumbs, or passage toumbs, in the world. It's oriented to the rising sun on Winter Solstice, so that the chamber is flooded with light just after dawn for I think 5 days surrounding the solstice.
We got to go right inside Newgrange, which was pretty cool. The chamber has an awesome vaulted ceiling that nobody has touched since it was built 5,200 years ago. It also hasn't leaked a single drop of water in that entire time! Remember that this is Ireland, where I think even fire is wet. So that was a pretty awesome thing.

Then there is Knowth, which is a lot bigger than Newgrange, the two passages within it are the first and second longest known to exist in the world. It's kind of a necropolis, too, because there are lots of smaller passage toumbs surrounding it. It also has I think something like 35% of Europe's neolithic (megalithic?) art on the stones that border the mound and within the major complex. Which is quite a lot!

Dowth, which means 'darkness,' apparently, in an ancient dialect of Irish or Gaelic. We didn't get to visit it, as it hasn't been fully excavated. I kind of think that this is a good thing. Interestingly, Dowth is oriented to the setting, rather than the rising, sun. Interesting. Spooky? That's what our guide tried to impose on us!

Yeah. Neolithic stuff is really cool.

Tomorrow we leave Ireland and head back into England. Well, Wales.
ithika: (Default)
I uploaded a bunch of photos to facebook of my adventures.
Let me know what you think!

They include a possible sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, and Robin Hood caught in action, among other things. Like miles, and miles of peat bogs.
Fun stuff, I promise, and it won't take you nearly as long to look at them as it did me to upload them on this slooow (but free) computer.

Erm. I'm in Londonderry, or Derry, which is an old and turbulent city in Northern Ireland. Tomorrow we'll probably see the Giant's Causeway, which should be neat.


Bye, Livejournal!

Oh yeah

Sep. 28th, 2009 10:45 am
ithika: (Default)
Oh yeah!
When we were in Dublin we went to the Chester Beatty (Beaty?) Library and saw the world's first exhibition open to the public of a dead religion called... Er, Mani...churianism? Probably wikipedia Mani or Chester Beatty. Anyway.

What it is, is this thing called the "Sod of Turf." In the 1920s, discovered in a box in the deserts of Egypt was found a wad of papyri, and I really, really do mean a wad. They have what's left of it in this state on display and it looks like a slice of peat with writing on it. Really faint writing.
What they did was, by MAGIC, retrieve individual pages from this sod of turf, and managed to recover books from this religion that had been completely lost.

So yeah, that was pretty awesome, and I forgot to mention it yesterday. Crazy archaeologists! Probably with eye strain.
ithika: (Default)
I know, I should give up on trying to write out the Irish accent. But I love it so. Listening to the car radio has become a whole new brand of fun.

We've been lucky enough to get free internet tonight, AND free laundry! I can't explain how exciting this is. I have run out of socks, you see. The ones I'm wearing now, well, when you take them off, they smell like vinegar. Yep. I think they've started to ferment.

Yesterday, we did some spelunking on our own, private tour - just the two of us, and our lovely and enthusiastic Irish tour guide, who knew lots of things about rocks and junk. It's interesting though, because this is (why, yes, I have forgotten what it was called.. Er.. awkward... I'll get back to you on that!) reputed to be one of the best caves for formations in Ireland, and while they were very beautiful, they weren't nearly as plentiful or developed as the ones in WA - just another reminder of just how much older Australia is geographically than places like this. Plus, it's much drier at home so the sparkly crystalisation comes out a lot more. We only got to see 3 or so areas that had dried out and were all sparkly - apparently we were very lucky!

Also, there is a witch in the cave. It's an awesome rock formation that looks uncannily like a witch sleeping in the back of the cave. Neat stuff.

We also visited the Blarney Castle, and yes, I did kiss the Blarney stone. It's a lot harder... well, it's not exactly hard, but it is kind of tricky... than I thought. You really have to scoot right out over this big great hole, and then lean riiight back, because it is the very bottom stone. A few older people didn't quite make it but I did. :P

Oh yeah, we had TV last night. It was way exciting.  

Ok, I'm done I guess. 


And yeah. I like the song. It's caught in my head!
ithika: (Default)
Er, it had to be said?
Just a quick update to say that I am in Dublin and it is Guinness' birthday and it is craaaaaaaazy.
Had a half-pint, not too bad, markedly better than (other kinds of?) beer. Yeah.
So we saw a half-riot in the street, people were smashing bottles and glasses of Guinness in a mad, dancing circle, one guy was crying blood, and then the police broke it up. And all this before 7:30pm!

Way exciting.

We're in Ireland until the 6th of October. Wanted until the 8th but... but I guess you just take whatever customs officers give you, eh? We're going all around the coast. Can't wait!

And I am reading Pyramids by Terry Pratchett and it is so good.

January 2012

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