Visits For June, 2010

Sunday, 6th June 2010

A Very Quick Trip To Inishmore - And About Time, Too

How has it taken me so long to get out to one of the Aran Islands? I can't really answer that question, but what I can say is that, now that I have been there I'll be back sooner rather than later!

Uta and myself went away for the Bank Holiday weekend to Galway. We camped near Roundstone and went to Kylemore Abbey on the Saturday to see the wonderful Victorian walled garden and the house itself. The entrance fee was a bit expensive, but we had a good time (between the rain storms).

We took the 10:30am ferry to Inishmore from Rossaveal and returned on the 5:00pm ferry. We're not at all fit, so hiring bikes to tour the island on didn't seem such a clever idea. Instead we joined one of the minibus tours for 10 euro each. This took us to several places and gave us a tour of the island to get a feel for it for the next time we visit. Our driver was Rory, a nice bloke with a good knowledge of the island.

The next time I go to the islands I'll be staying for at least two days so that I can see all the stuff I didn't manage to see on such a short trip. The island might be small, but there's so much of interest there that you probably need a full week!

Dun Aengus - Inishmore (Co. Galway)Stone Fort15 New Images
Seven Churches - Inishmore (Co. Galway)Monastic Settlement8 New Images
Seven Churches - Inishmore (Co. Galway)High Cross4 New Images
Seven Churches - Inishmore (Co. Galway)Grave or Cross Slab6 New Images

Saturday, 19th June 2010

Time To Visit Some Sligo Tombs

Sligo has too much to offer. It amazes me that there is more stuff being discovered there all the time. The monuments I went to today are not new discoveries, although one of them is a surprising recent rediscovery, and the evening ended with what I believe is a new Summer Solstice observation.

The plan for the day was to visit some of the tombs I haven't yet visited and spend the evening at Carrowkeel watching the sun set through the lightbox in Cairn G. The weather was perfect for this for the first time in many years. I managed to get some good photos of the start of the event, but missed the final moments when it's at its most spectacular. I wondered off to give the many other people chance to enjoy it and got back to the tomb a few minutes too late to see it. After seeing a photograph taken by someone inside I was a bit miffed. Oh well. There'll be other years. I had actually gone off to visit Cairn M - one I'd not been to yet. While here I saw something that could be special.

During the day I visited five tombs - a portal tomb, three court tombs and a wedge tomb. One of the court tombs is very much a portal/court hybrid and if you removed several stones the remains would be interpreted as a portal tomb. The portal tomb I visited has been missing for a long time. What? Well, it was reported as destroyed and everyone assumed that it was gone completely. Even the recent Archaeological Survey missed it. Then Tatjana Kytmannow visited the site whilst preparing her PhD and was surprised to find the fallen remains of this once lovely portal tomb.

This was a good day out and the weekend was due to continue with a boat trip out to Inishmurray the day after ...

Moytirra (Co. Sligo)Portal Tomb6 New Images
Moytirra East (Co. Sligo)Court Tomb5 New Images
Drumcliff (Co. Sligo)High Cross7 New Images
Drumcliff (Co. Sligo)Round Tower1 New Image
Tanrego West (Co. Sligo)Court Tomb9 New Images
Tanrego East (Co. Sligo)Ring Fort2 New Images
Tanrego East (Co. Sligo)Ring Fort1 New Image
Caltragh (Co. Sligo)Court Tomb9 New Images
Caltragh (Co. Sligo)Wedge Tomb8 New Images
Carrowkeel - Cairn G (Co. Sligo)Passage Tomb12 New Images
Carrowkeel - Cairn M (Co. Sligo)Passage Tomb9 New Images
Carrowkeel - Cairn H (Co. Sligo)Passage Tomb2 New Images
Carrowkeel - Cairn K (Co. Sligo)Passage Tomb9 New Images

Sunday, 20th June 2010

Inishmurray Here I come ... Oh Yes I Do!

This is it. Finally I am going to get to Inishmurray. Conor Hill needed to take core samples for his research and a boat had been chartered. Thorsten & Tatjana invited me along to make up the numbers, and we were joined by Ruth, Maria, Jean and four tourists to bring the cost of the boat charter down.

The journey from Rosses Point to Inishmurray takes about 1 hour 40 minutes and we were blessed with calm waters. We didn't get any dolphins on the way, but we did see many seabirds, including 2 puffins. Along the journey Tatjana, who knows Sligo so well, pointed out lots of interesting sites and landscape features to us.

Landing at Inishmurray is interesting. There is no constructed quay, but the square-edged rocks do form a natural harbour on the south side of the island, just below the deserted village. We didn't have the island to ourselves for long, as several charter and private boats came along throughout the day.

Inishmurray is best known for its early Christian monastery, which is located inside a cashel. Inside there are churches, a beehive hut, cross slabs and leachts or altars. Many of the cross slabs from the island have been removed for safety and some replicas are being made to replace them in situ.

It's so hard to say what my favourite part of the visit was. The cross slabs that remain are beautiful. The semi-ruined sweathouse is cute. The cashel and its enclosed monuments are fantastic and must be the best part, although the island itself is simply a great place to be. I will definitely revisit here in a few years time, hopefully to see the replica cross slabs in place.

I have been trying to get out here for years and, for various reasons, have never managed to sort it out. I owe Thorsten and Tatjana a big favour! Thanks for inviting me.

Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Sweat House1 New Image
Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Holy Well3 New Images
Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Stone Fort15 New Images
Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Monastic Settlement29 New Images
Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Leacht3 New Images
Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Leacht2 New Images
Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Kist1 New Image
Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Leacht6 New Images
The Womens' Church - Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Church2 New Images
The Birthing Stone - Inishmurray (Co. Sligo)Grave or Cross Slab3 New Images
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