The High Man - a giant warrior in the landscape
Drogheda Leader newspaper, March 3rd, 2004
If you look at a roadmap or an Ordnance Survey map of Louth, and focus on the roads towards the south of the county between the river Boyne and the river Dee, there is something very peculiar and interesting.
There, etched into the landscape by a system of roads, is a giant human-like
He appears to have a belt which runs straight across from Collon to Leabby Cross. His head, and mane of hair are up towards Ardee, with his hair at Smarmore and his nose and mouth at Kildemock.
He appears to have a giant arm stretched out towards the Irish Sea, with his wrist at Dunleer. And he even appears to be holding a giant shield. This whole area is steeped in mythical, archaeological and astronomical history.
who is described as a "huge, high hero", calls Muirthemne plain,
the old name for Louth, his own. Amergin, the warrior-poet of the invading
Milesians, a self-confessed
The warrior road figure is found in an area called the Barony of Ferrard, which comes from Fear/Fir Ard, the High Man/Men, originally Fir Ard Cianachta.
So how old is this figure? It was present on the Taylor-Skinner map of 1778. How much further back it goes is a mystery. The territory of Cianachta (the race of Cian) goes all the way back to the third century. Perhaps these roads, some of which are very straight, often for miles, were built on much older roads.
What we do know is that the High Man looks a bit like a representation of the constellation Orion, and there is a considerable body of evidence to suggest that the people who inhabited the Boyne Valley area in ancient times were expert astronomers.
They may even have carved a representation of Orion's Belt stars onto
a stone at Newgrange.