Sometimes, the most interesting coincidences occur. Today, I was lucky to have been able to spend a few hours at Loughcrew in glorious winter weather. There was a mix of mist and fog, sunshine and cloud and the atmospheric conditions made for some wonderful photography.
While visiting Cairn V, a largely ruined cairn to the east of Cairn T at Carnbane East, a halo appeared around the sun in the sky. At the same time, by coincidence, the sun was just in the right position to light some megalithic rock art on one of the large structural stones of Cairn V. This rock art features a cuphole surrounded by several concentric rings.
It seemed, to this photographer at least, as if life was somewhat imitating (megalithic) art.
As any good meteorologist knows, the appearance of a halo around the sun (or indeed the moon) usually indicates that rain is on the way. Indeed as the day wore on the clouds thickened gradually and indeed the forecast says there will be heavy rain overnight.
I am glad, however, to have been present on the top of Sliabh na Calliagh today in the gorgeous light of winter, with the mists shrouding the landscape below.
Enter the ‘Ancient Sites’ section of this blog for a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of the megalithic and sacred sites of Ireland. Find out all about the Stone Age and prehistoric ruins and learn more about the possible functions and alignments of these sites. Visit the great temples of Brú na Bóinne, the Hill of Tara, the ancient cairns of Loughcrew among many others.
Explore the ancient myths, legends and folklore of Ireland and their meaning. Read the epic Táin Bó Cuailnge, or the place-name myths in the Dindshenchas. Learn about how the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians came to Ireland and how the early texts describe various invasions of prehistoric Éire. Hear about Fionn and the Fianna, and discover how some myths might contain information about astronomy and the stars.
There is no doubt that the ancient megalith builders had a substantial knowledge of the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars through the heavens. Learn more about just how complex and impressive this knowledge was. There is evidence that the people of the Neolithic knew about the 19-year Metonic cycle of the moon, as well as being able to predict eclipses.