After Dublin, we headed west across Ireland’s interior and came across some amazing sites.
Bru Na Boinne – these massive, grass covered mounds with interesting stone inscriptions were mysterious and thought-provoking. We were told that they are 5000 years old. We were allowed inside one of them and it was amazing. Although these ancient people only used simple tools of wood and stone, the expertise they showed in architecture, engineering, art, and astronomy is beyond belief. It is not known exactly who or how these structures were built. Dating about 3200 B.C., these mounds were built about 1000 years before Stonehenge and 600 years before the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt! The hill at Newgrange is 250 feet across and 40 feet high. It’s almost unbelievable that five-ton rocks were brought 12.5 miles, rolled up a hill to make this structure that weighs 200,000 tones total, and it still stands,waterproof and complete to this day.
Trim Castle – this hauntingly beautiful castle ruin is the biggest Norman castle in Ireland. It was completed in 1220 and was meant as a powerful reminder to the Irish natives of the power of the Norman domination.
Clonmacnoise – This impressive site contained seven churches varying in date from the 10th century to the 17th century. It is the home of a beautiful High Cross; the ringed head was carved from one piece of sandstone around 900 A.D. The cross stands 13 feet high and is ornately carved. There were many grave-slabs with different inscriptions and different forms of crosses. The largest church on site, the cathedral, was originally built in 909, and was greatly embellished in the 1400’s. with vaulted ceilings and carved archways. One of the archways over the doorways was especially beautifully carved with three saints: Dominic, Patrick, and Francis.