No written documents, only stone monuments remain as symbols of past human activity..
April 23, 2022: Day 5: Carrowmore has one of the largest clusters of megalithic tombs in Ireland. There are thirty surviving passage tombs out of perhaps an original one hundred.
Their purpose? They seem to have been used over time for burial (mainly housing cremation remains). They seem to also have been associated with some type of ritual (centers of ceremony and/or celebration).
Their date and who made them: Controversy. I saw some information saying some circles were 6,000 years old; other information with circles from 4,000 to 1,500 years old and passage tombs dating from 3,600 BC. So, the circles date to the Bronze Age. AND they are about 2,000 years older than the Egyptian Pyramids.
Who made them? A mystery: Some information says hunters-gatherers who came by sea from Brittany (north-western France). But recent information suggests that the circles were built by farming communities who came to the area around 8,500 BC from Anatolia (Asia Minor/Turkey). So how did the Celtic Irish language supplant the extinct Indo-European language of Anatolia? Some future historian- anthropologist’s mystery to uncover.
In the distance is Knocknarea, where legend has it that Queen Maeve of Connaught is buried upright, spear in hand, facing her enemies in Ulster. You will find it entertaining to check out the fabulous mythology of Queen Maeve and the great warrior Cuchulain: https://www.ireland-information.com/irish-mythology/maeve-irish-legend.html
When looking at the history of Carrowmore, the part that interested me the most was the 1980’s legal case that established a “precedent.” In 1983 Sligo County Council sought to place a municipal landfill dump on a quarry site about 100 yards from part of the complex. In late 1983, the Dublin High Court ruled that the County Council could proceed with its plans, on certain conditions. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court which ruled against the Council in 1989; becoming one of Ireland’s first cases where the historical significant of a site was considered.
April 26, 2022: Day 8: Kenmare Stone Circle (The Druid Circle) dates to the early bronze age – about 3,000 years ago. The rock used to make the stone circle is Greenstone and Brownstone, neither of which are found locally, but rather several miles away. So a chore to move them to the site. Again, it is unclear as to the meaning of the monument: Perhaps for rituals by druid priests, perhaps as a primitive calendar, perhaps for ritual or ceremonial purposes or as a burial site (beneath the center stone). Unlike Carrowmore, Kenmore’s stone circle has been untouched by humans due to local myth.
The site houses two Hawthorn “Fairy Trees.” “The Hawthorn is a tree of magical enchantment and is strongly associated with the Irish festival of La Bealtaine, which officially heralds the beginning of summer on May 1. In Celtic mythology it is one of the most sacred trees and symbolizes love and protection.” – See below picture for more information on the symbolic significance of the Hawthorn tree.
Did we write our wish on a white piece of paper and attach to the Fairy Tree of County Kerry? Yes, of course, just as we had tossed a coin into the Fairy Wishing well in the Fairy Gardens in the Burren of Clare County. One can always seek more good fortune and blessings.
April 26, 2022: Day 8: Cromwell’s Bridge: A more recent stone structure built by man, who’s history is also uncertain. Local lure believes the Augustinian monks built it sometime during the 11th century to cross over the tidal Finnihy River.
How did it get its name? Possible theory is that it was it was named ‘cromael,’ the Gaelic word for ‘mustache,’ but English-speakers assumed they were saying Cromwell (after Oliver Cromwell).
Cromwell’s Bridge is located on the edge of the village of Kenmare near Kenmare’s Stone Circle. It provides an easy leisurely walk. I was completely blown away by the beauty of the native diverse flowering plant life that surrounds the bridge and river.
However it got its name, Cromwell’s Bridge is one of several beautiful and ancient sites along the scenic Ring of Kerry.