The façade of Newgrange – A short history: LAPC

The stone façade surrounding the 5,000-year-old Newgrange monument in County Meath, Ireland is impressive. However, I learned Newgrange’s façade is not what it appears to be.

façade of Newgrange March 2020

I liked the way the patterns in the wall changed from dark-colored stones to dark dotted with white…

Dark & light wall at Newgrange March 2020

To light dotted with dark stones.

Façade - Dark & light wall at Newgrange March 2020

The white stones over the entryway make it stand out.

Entranceway at Newgrange March 2020

The wall includes rough white quartz, rounded gray granodiorite, coarse-grained gabbro, and banded siltstone.

Façade at Newgrange March 2020

Upon doing further research, I learned “façade” has a double meaning at this site.

The rediscovery of Newgrange

In 1699, a local landowner, Charles Campbell, rediscovered this passage tomb. He had instructed laborers to collect stone from the site, and they inadvertently found the entrance to the tomb.

Several prominent antiquarians visited the site. They debated who constructed the monument and what purpose it served. Theories on who made Newgrange included invading Vikings in early medieval times, ancient Egyptians, ancient Indians, or the Phoenicians.

In the meantime, the site experienced degradation caused by the passage of time and vandalism. In 1882, Newgrange and sites nearby gained protection under the Ancient Monuments Protection Act. The Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth passage tombs, located in an area known as Brú na Bóinne, received recognition as a World Heritage Site in 1993.

Here is Newgrange’s entrance in the late 1800s, before restoration. Numerous archaeologists participated in conserving the site.

Entrance to Newgrange
Photo by R. L. Welch.

A façade begins

From 1962 to 1975, archaeologist Michael J. O’Kelly oversaw excavation, restoration, and reconstruction. Once excavation began, a large quantity of small stones were found. O’Kelly concluded they must have been part of a wall. Under his guidance, his crew made a steel-reinforced concrete retention wall to hold the stones in place.

Newgrange reconstruction
Newgrange during restoration and reconstruction. Public domain photo.

Many in the archaeological community disagreed with this controversial decision. In fact, P.R. Giot said it looked like “cream cheese cake with dried currants distributed about.”

Newgrange’s façade is “the face of a building,” as defined by the dictionary. However, you could say it’s “a false, superficial, or artificial appearance or effect,” another definition of the word.

When reconstruction at the nearby Knowth monument began in 1962, archaeologist George Eogan took a fresh approach. He believed the stones formed a welcoming “apron” on the ground near the entrance.

The photo below shows the stones near the entrance to Knowth. Both sites are amazing, whether you prefer the cream cheese cake look or not. 😉

Near Knowth entrance, Ireland March 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Dots and Spots

Street scenes in Dublin – March 2020

These street scenes in Dublin happened on March 6, 2020, six days before the lockdown. On this St. Patrick’s Day I thought it would be nice to remember what “normal” used to look like.

Here are a couple buskers downtown. See the crowds pausing to take in their performance?

They were not allowed to perform around the winter holidays due to COVID-19 concerns. Some traveled to Cork or Galway where they didn’t have the same restrictions.

Here are a couple views of the famous Temple Bar. Lots of people out and about.

  • The Temple Bar in Dublin March 2020
  • Street scenes in Dublin March 2020

People waiting for the bus outside O’Neill’s. Love this building’s interesting architecture and pretty green trim.

Street scenes in Dublin March 2020

Horse and carriages lined up outside of Guinness Storehouse waiting to transport tourists.

Street scenes in Dublin March 2020

We spent the whole day taking in the street scenes in Dublin. A couple of the businesses had names that were entertaining. 😁

We ended the day with a great dinner at the Bakehouse. I had salmon and my daughter had corned beef. Yum!

  • Salmon dinner at the Bakehouse in Dublin March 2020
  • Corned beef dinner at the Bakehouse in Dublin March 2020

A funny thing happened after my trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland last year. I checked an ancestry site I’m registered on when I got home. It said I had 71.4% British & Irish ancestry, mostly from County Kerry & County Cork. In 2019, I only had 49.6% British & Irish ancestry. Guess a part of my ancestral homelands stuck to me when I left. 😉

On this day when everyone is a bit Irish, I hope you have a good day with better ones to come in the future.

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.

Irish blessing

Sunday Writing Prompt – When a crowd gathers

Oak tree at Newgrange: Thursday Tree Love

Oak tree at Newgrange

I saw this old oak tree at Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland last winter. I think they are one of my favorite trees without leaves. Look at those branches!

Thursday Tree Love

Oceans of Emotion – Ireland & Northern Ireland: LAPC, OWS

Today I’m featuring images portraying oceans of emotion from a trip last year to Northern Ireland and Ireland. The images reflect the eight basic emotions defined by psychologist, Robert Plutchik.

Northern Ireland ocean views

Anger – Winds at the Giant’s Causeway were reaching 80 miles per hour. As each wave crashed upon the shore, froth shot out of a hole on the left side of this picture. It was as if Mother Nature was foaming at the mouth.

Oceans of emotion - Giant's Causeway
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Fear – The incoming storm frightened most of the tourists away from Carrick-a-Rede. It shut down shortly after we crossed due to high winds.

Carrick-a-Rede Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
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Fungie the dolphin: Sculpture Saturday

This is a sculpture of Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who has lived in and around Dingle Bay in County Kerry, Ireland for 37 years. He has brought much joy to visitors and residents over the years. Unfortunately, he has not been seen for over a week. A large scale search is underway.

Fungie the dolphin in Ireland

Fungie holds a place with Guinness World Records for being the longest-lived solitary dolphin in the world. He is thought to be in his forties.

Sculpture in Dingle, Ireland

I am sending good thoughts his way…

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

Irish Blessing
Dingle Bay, Ireland

Sculpture Saturday

Encounter with a Eurasian eagle-owl: BWPC

Eurasian eagle-owl

Being able to participate in an encounter with an Eurasian eagle-owl was one of my favorite things on a recent trip to Ireland. You have the opportunity to see various birds of prey up close and personal at the Dingle Falconry Experience, located on the Dingle peninsula.

Owl in flight in  Dingle, Ireland March 2020

This bird is a female named “Fluffy.” Eurasian eagle-owls are one of the largest owls in the world. Females, which are larger than the males, measure 30 inches in length. This owl’s wingspan is typically 4 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 2 inches.

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The Choctaw’s simple act of kindness: LAPC

A simple act of kindness, Kindred Spirits Sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5March2020

In 1847, the worst year of Ireland’s Great Famine, people of the Choctaw Nation of the southeastern United States sent a gift of $170 to Ireland. The money, worth thousands in today’s dollars, was collected to help the starving people of Ireland. Over a million Irish people died from starvation and disease in the period from 1845 to 1849.

Honoring a small act of kindness

Cork-based sculptor, Alex Pentek, created the Kindred Spirits sculpture to help honor that simple act of kindness. The Making of Kindred Spirits shows the artist discussing its creation. The 20-foot tall sculpture, in Midleton, County Cork, was unveiled to the public in 2017. It stands in Ballie Park beside a popular walking trail.

Ballie Park, Midleton, Ireland 5 March 2020

But why would the Choctaw have sent such a gift when many of their people were struggling to survive?

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Irish Stew & Brew: One Word Sunday Challenge

Irish Stew & Brew at the Quays in Galway, Galway County, Ireland 2March2020

A traditional Irish stew & brew at The Quays Bar and Music Hall in Galway, County Galway, Ireland. This stew, accompanied by a Guinness, is a local specialty served at this restaurant.

Wherever you are on this St Patrick’s Day, treasure the things that matter to you the most.

Here’s to your roof,
may it be well thatched
And here’s to all
under it –
May they be
well matched.

Irish Toast

Travel with Intent: One Word Sunday – Specialty

Glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland

She unfurled her gossamer wings and searched for a far away land, greener than green. After a journey of many miles, she caught glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland. When she landed in a lush green pasture, a part of her remembered…

Glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland, Newgrange Monument, 29February2020
Newgrange Monument, County Meath, Ireland

Though I usually keep my travels within driving distance, I just returned from a 10-day trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland with my daughter. After losing my brother and father within months of each other, I felt an urge to visit the land of my ancestors.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim, United Kingdom
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim, United Kingdom

We drove about 1,600 miles and I took lots of photos. I will be sprinkling glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland into my blog occasionally. Enjoy the scenery!

Glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland, the Dark Hedges, United Kingdom
The Dark Hedges featured in Game of Thrones, County Antrim, United Kingdom