Newgrange-“Cave of the Sun”

The more I read about Newgrange through the site, the more my imagination started to take over, transporting me inside the ancient tomb or “palace”. From George William Russel’s fantasies, it was a “palace of a god” with “purple flowers of magic” and the “tree of life”. He imagines there to be a glowing light as the conversation within Newgrange carries on, where “light and sound become one” as the god welcomes the people. This invoked almost a feeling of nostalgia, where the present time seems to stop and we long for something that is most likely impossible, something ethereal and idealistic. In a way it also reminded me of being in a dream where nothing is certain, and nothing is impossible. This uncertainty connects to the beginnings of the tomb, where it was found that the engravings were actually from the Phoenicians and the construction of their own buildings. Translations of the engravings gave the “cave of the sun”. Although the stones may have been from the work of another group, the builders of Newgrange constructed the tomb so that at the time the sunrise would be able to perfectly come in and spread throughout the inside, successfully determining the point for winter solstice. 

From looking at the engravings, the triple spirals, I was reminded of the Angkor Wat temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I remember being in awe of the detailed carvings of Hindu mythology and stories, how at every twist and turn there seemed to be a new path guided by the stones. It was almost like they were tempting me, to keep going and to learn about the stories and history within. The few hours I was there was far from enough, but I felt like I was able to capture that feeling of standing next to pieces of the culture and keep it with me for my future thoughts and imagination. 

All these thoughts and memories from viewing Newgrange really show how these places cannot be easily packaged up. As described by Eavan Boland in “That the Science of Cartography is Limited”, the lands of the famine roads have so much history and stories that simply cannot be portrayed in something like a map. This reminds me of how important it is to go places and experience things, and that in my opinion, many times we need to forget about the science of things or the logical explanations and simply go experience and make our own stories for future generations to fantasize about. 

1 Comment

  1. Newgrange was of particular interest to me as well. It made me wonder if druids may have conducted their rituals and prayers within and around the structure. Do you also think druids may have been involved, or do you believe they were mutually exclusive?

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