Saturday, 24 August 2013

The journey home

                       Farewell to Ballyvaughan it's time to head home

                      A last look back to Galway Bay

         Looking west across the valley towards Corkscrew Hill
            we climbed yesterday on our way to Doolin

     As we climb higher there are places where the bare Burren
     limestone is a all one can --  a stone desert

       A cow is ' dangling  'on the cliff  edge

       The grykes (crevices)  in the limestone provide moist
     shelter, thus supporting a wide range of plants
       including beautiful dwarf shrubs.

         The Poulnabrone dolmen  is a portal tomb and must be
         the most wondrous sight of our trip,  it dates back to the Neolithic
         period,  probably between 4200 BC and 2900 BC.

The dolmen consists of a twelve-foot, thin, slab-like, tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones, which support the capstone 1.8 m (6 ft) from the ground, creating a chamber in a 9 m (30 ft) low cairn. The cairn helped stabilize the tomb chamber, and would have been no higher during the Neolithic. The entrance faces north and is crossed by a low sill stone.

A crack was discovered in the eastern portal stone in 1985. Following the resulting collapse, the dolmen was dismantled, and the cracked stone was replaced. Excavations during that time found that between 16 and 22 adults and six children were buried under the monument. Personal items buried with the dead included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons and pottery. In the Bronze Age, around 1700 BC, a newborn baby was buried in the portico, just outside the entrance. With its dominating presence on the limestone landscape of the Burren, the tomb was likely a centre for ceremony and ritual until well into the Celtic period, or it may have served as a territorial marker in the Neolithic landscape.


              This  ' Holy ' space had a air of reverence around it.
              All spoke in whispers, it was as if the Dolmen
              commanded respect . It's imposing beauty is impossible
              to capture.  In some deep way it reached out to connect
              us to our ancestors , to remind us that we too are travellers
              here for a brief  time.  I felt privileged to be in '  It's  ' presence,
              privileged to be alive in this great  time of knowledge and
              connection.  A time when so many connections and
              reconnections are possible.


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