Monday, 31 December 2012

Quote of the day: Newgrange the greatest in Europe

Now on the banks of the Boyne, opposite Rosnaree, there stands a tumulus, said to be the greatest in Europe. It covers acres of ground, being of proportionate height. The earth is confined by a compact stone wall about twelve feet high. The central chamber, made of huge irregular pebbles, is about twenty feet from ground to roof, communicating with the outer air by a flagged passage. Immense pebbles, drawn from the County of Antrim, stand around it, each of which, even to move at all, would require the labour of many men, assisted with mechanical appliances. It is, of course, impossible to make an accurate estimate of the expenditure of labour necessary for the construction of such a work, but it would seem to me to require thousands of men working for years.

- Standish O'Grady, Early Bardic Literature, Ireland (1879)

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Newstalk interview about new Newgrange book

Above is an audio file of my interview with Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk radio last Friday, December 2st - the winter solstice. The interview lasts almost ten minutes.

Quote of the day: An 18th century Englishman's honest opinion of the Irish

"The circumstances which struck me most in the common Irish were, vivacity and a great and eloquent volubility of speech; one would think they could take snuff and talk without tiring till doomsday. They are infinitely more cheerful and lively than anything we commonly see in England, having nothing of that incivility of sullen silence with which so many Englishmen seem to wrap themselves up, as if retiring within their own importance."

A TOUR IN IRELAND, 1776-1779
By Arthur Young

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

The Christmas Star - Moon and Jupiter in Taurus

A lovely conjunction of the almost full moon and the bright planet Jupiter shining brightly in the night sky over Ireland on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2012. The pair are located above the head of Taurus and make quite a sight, being only a degree or so apart.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Huge crowd at Newgrange for clouded-out solstice

Crowds gathering for the solstice dawn at Newgrange. The sun didn't appear.
The sun didn't show at Newgrange this morning for Winter Solstice, but that didn't deter a huge crowd from enjoying the occasion. A larger-than-usual gathering, perhaps helped by all of the recent hype about the supposed end of the world, came together at the 5,200-year-old Stone Age monument to enjoy the spectacle nonetheless. There was music, drumming and reading, including a brief presentation by myself. I read from George Russell's "A Dream of Angus Oge" and Joseph Campbell's Masks of the Gods before giving a brief explanation of the cosmic significance of the solstice and how that fits in with the design and mythology of Newgrange.
The huge crowds at Newgrange enjoyed the morning despite the sun not shining.
Music was provided to greet the 2012 solstice dawn.
Yours truly reading from Joseph Campbell at Newgrange.