Newgrange is a major tourist attraction in Ireland. It is a megalithic passage tomb that has been changed and settled on over the centuries. There are two other tombs nearby, Knowth and Dowth, and 37 smaller ones around the area. My friend Bee and her boyfriend Rob took me to both Newgrange and Knowth, and while it would have been cooler to explore these places without the throngs of tourists, it was still a cool experience. My favorite part was when the tour guide re-enacted the Solstice coming of the light. Every December and June, around the Solstice, at dawn, light enters the otherwise pitch black tomb for a period of 17 minutes. I can only imagine what the real event must be like because the mock one was awesome! Unfortunately there was an American woman who freaked out about the darkness and asked for the lights to be turned on towards the end. I entered the lottery to be present at the winter Solstice. Over 25,000 people entered last year and they only pick 50. Here’s hoping!
Afterwards we went to visit Clive. Clive is a woodworker and a currach maker (traditional Irish boat) and a talker! He seems to know everything about everything and has an incredible grasp of history. My friend Bee is learning how to make her own currach from Clive, which is coming along, and should be ready for taking down the river sometime this summer. We were invited into his home where we drank tea and listened to two of his four children play the fiddle for us.
Clive is currently building a very large currach made of hazel, ash, and cow hide and if things work out he will be sailing that boat from Spain to Ireland, and a documentary will be made of it. Check out his website, he’s a cool guy: www.newgrangecurrach.com.
From Clive’s we drove back to Dublin, had a relaxed dinner, and then my sweet and amazing hosts took me to the train station where I proceeded to have another interesting travel moment. Buying a ticket at the window was 66 Euro, online, only 37. I had ten minutes till the train left. I rushed to a pay yourself computer in the terminal, bought my ticket, ran back with all my gear to check-in, and then ran to the train, 30 seconds to spare! My heart didn’t stop beating strongly for a good ten minutes. Spent the next 3 hours heading to Cork city to visit my friend Ger. More later.