On the night of a total eclipse, when the blood red moon should have been visible inside Newgrange, the sky was overcast and heavy rain returned to the Boyne Valley after two months of drought.
Eclipse dreaming at Newgrange. A blood red moon at Síd in Broga.
After two months of hot, dry, sunny weather, with lovely warm days and beautiful extended twilights, the rain has finally come to the Boyne Valley. And it has come in torrents! Right now it feels as if all of the rain we should have had during that time is falling at once.
I was at Newgrange last night to try to capture the total eclipse of the moon, but sadly the weather had returned to its old ways. The sky was overcast and after a while the heavens opened. The soils of the Bend of the Boyne are receiving a good drenching as we speak.
Of course this will undoubtedly promote a growth spurt in the wheat crop on Newgrange Farm, where the image of our newly-discovered henge, which has already been fading as the crop ripens, will soon disappear. This discovery has an ethereal and mystical quality to it. Its revelation was momentous, its reapperance miraculous. Soon, it will go back into deep slumber. Who knows when we will see it again? But its image has been captured and recorded, so that we can look back upon a remarkable moment in time when a 4,900-year-old enclosure revealed its form, in stunning detail, to the world.
One friend wrote yesterday, "The mound people are putting it up to us - they are presenting us with a vision of a henge that cannot be exploited! A spiritual message. Time to turn to the poets?"
In my own work, I have stated my belief that the builders of Newgrange could predict eclipses. No doubt they would have considered it more than a remarkable coincidence that the rain, badly needed for the crop growth that they brought to these shores, should come in conjunction with a total eclipse of the moon that – on a clear night – would have been visible from the interior of this ancient stone monument.
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.