Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Knowth

Once again for this week's ABC Wednesday I am showing a part of Ireland I visited and in particular the megalithic tombs of Knowth in County Meath which were constructed about 5000 years ago. This view is of  "The Great Mound" and two of the smaller mounds of which there are about 18 around the site.
This was our guide to the passage tombs both informative, knowledgeable and wonderfully lyrical she painted a picture of the past.  The large stones you can see are all around the outside and most have designs on them
Of the total number of examples of megalithic art in Western Europe the 200 decorated stones here make up a third.     
This is the entrance stone to the passages of which there is both a western and eastern one.  The Great Mound has lived an interesting life, being built in the Neolithic period and used as passage tomb then evenually abandoned although bronze and iron age settlements proliferated in the valley, eventually used as a hill fort in the 9th century and then later as a monastic grange. The original  passage alignment to the times of the year has been compromised
because in the medieval period soutrains (storage chambers for food) were built into the mound, for a few possible reasons, for use if the hill fort was under siege or to hide food from the Viking raiders or as a larder because the conditions in the tomb were cool and dry.
The white quartz stones that are spread around the tomb and gleamed in the sunlight came from the Wicklow Mountains 60 kilometers south of here. The dark granite cobbles came from the Mountains of Mourne 60k to the north, just one indications of the amount of organisation, knowledge and effort that went into the making of the tombs.
Here we are among the wild flowers on top of The Great Mound and taking in the views of the Boyne valley from which this area of megalithic wonders takes its name, Brú na Bóinne which means Palace of the Boyne and the area is designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Sometimes the area is called the Bend of the Boyne after the river which winds its way through the valley making a dramatic loop or bend at this point.  Wondering how they keep the the sides of the mounds so nicely smooth?
See the man on the top
he was busily mowing one of the satellite mounds while we were there.
There are also standing stones and other structures outside the tombs and
a reconstruction of a Timber Circle which was originally built about 2,500BC on the eastern side of the site.

A virtual tour and an aerial view of Knowth can be seen here

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, sojourning at the letter K here
 
 








Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Japanese Garden

The Powerscourt Estate is one of Ireland's big tourist attractions being only 20 kilometers south of Dublin and its 47 acres and 300 years of garden design, which include Italian, Japanese and walled gardens, are one of things that attract the visitor.  Here I have arrived on the path that overlooks The Grotto a secluded space of mosses, ferns and falling water
which was created in 1740 and whose atmosphere flawlessly leads one into the Japanese Garden
with its twisting paths, running water and ponds.  The day was overcast and and a very cool for June but the
lovely candelabra primulas brightened the scene
as well as this woman in a yellow dress who seemed to fit in perfectly with the oriental theme, what a pity she was continually in motion while I was trying to trying to focus in from a distance.
I then went on to amble over bridges, admire the water lilies
palm trees, little shelters and lantern stands
No Japanese garden would be complete without a willow tree.  This Irish take on a Japanese Garden was created in 1908 and was one of the most popular parts of the Powerscourt Gardens the day I visited.


An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at J here