Bru na Boinne or New Grange
A fairly long drive towards Dublin but before we get there we visit New Grange to see the amazing burial chamber and mound. For me this was the highlight. Tours are strictly controlled numbers take from the visitor's centre by bus and we were able to get into a tour that began about two hours after our arrival. Had lunch and walked through the display and explanatory area before it was time to catch the bus. At the New Grange mound ( there are many more in the area and at least another two are open to visitors) Our guide walked up with us and gave an amusing and informative intor to the mound. It dates some 3500 years BC and pre-dates the pyramids by 500 years.
The face of the mound was found without the decorative white quartz stones and sea tumbled pebbles as they had fallen down and lay in front of the mound. Careful research showed the archeologists where the stones belonged and they were collected and restored to their setting. Small groups are taken into the chamber where you must take care not to brush up against the narrow walls, hence bags and camera cases must be carried at foot level and not on you person. Inside there are three distinct chambers, two of which are decorated with spirals and other markings carved into the rock. The third is without decoration and it is on the 5 shortest days of the year that as the sun comes up to a point where it strikes an open boxed cavity above the head stone at around 9 am, the sunlight travels in and along the floor of the upward and slightly winding passage and strikes the plain chamber illuminating it for about 10 mins.
our guide at the entrance
Inside that domed area if the lights are switched off we were in total darkness. The domed roof is constructed out of carefully placed, layers of rocks which also have great plumbing channels for no evidence of moisture has ever been found to infiltrate from the grassed dome. It is a very spiritual and awesome place. Must see.
the entrance wiht the head box partially shown
On to the outskirts of Dublin where we found one of the few campsites to centre ourselves at for touring Dublin the next day. It was a very ordered site with lots of don't rules. Like we couldn't park our vehicle on the grass next to our tent which is really annoying as all campers use their vehicles as their lockup and we only unpack pots and pans when needed and return them to the vehicle when not using them so it makes lots of short trips and plenty of door opening and closing and locking.
The safety lights in the ladies amenities block only worked on the first night and on the second they didn't work either and we had to rely on someone in the mens block adjoining to be in their side at the same time to cast a glow over the top of the wall. They did have internet facilities and a small book exchange section so we swapped our finished books for some unread books.
our pub lunch spot in Dublin
The double decker tour bus came out to the camp site each day at 9.30am to take punters into Dublin for the hop on hop off tour so we decided to do that as we were told parking was a nightmare and expensive. This was Monday and we were told that there was a lot less traffic around as it was a public holiday and many of the art galleries and museums close on Mondays.
We had a real person doing the commentary which is always nice as you can ask questions. A sculptor had an exhibition of his hares around the main centre and they appeared in giant sized poses of various acts of fancy. I wanted to do the Guiness tour so we got off at the appropriate stop and went in. The building itself is very old-new and the displays and working pieces are awesome as water thunders down a perspex waterfall. Time to learn to pour a pint and we got put into groups of four and told to write our names on a sheet so we could get a certificate showing that we had achieved the perfect pint. Andrew noticed that the couple ahead of us shared the same surnames as us and we introduced ourselves to Sandra and Alan. After we poured our pints we went to drink it with them and spent a lovely hour talking about travel plans. As we swapped e-mail addresses we told them that now they have relatives in Australia they can come and stay with us!
"He likes to Boogie" song by T-Rex