ANCIENT IRELAND TOURS
Experience magical and scenic sacred
places, from Stone Age, Neolithic, Celtic, Druid, to early
Christian sites: Stone Circles,
Passage Tombs Dolmens, Rock-art,
and High Crosses, Holy Wells, Oghams, Sheela-na-gigs,
Guided trips for individuals or groups
from Co. Kilkenny. accommodation
information available. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baunfree, Co Kilkenny
Our journeys to these prehistoric monuments
will give you plenty of time to study and wonder about their
purpose. Usually found in beautiful upland areas, they each
project their own powerful, magical energy, in 'vapours drifting
and frothing' (Yeats).
".. leave nothing but
footprints, take nothing but memories and photographs ".
Castledermot High Cross
STONE CIRCLES, Cairns and Passage Tombs:
ceremonial, community spaces, often with an archaeo-astronomical
Local stone circles are visited. A nearby passage tomb from 3000
BC has rock-art and its passage aligned to the setting,
Further afield, on Slieve na Calliagh (Hill of the Witch) we can
watch the equinox sunrise slowly move across an iconographic
sunwheel and other astronomical motifs - linking that ancient art
with astronomy. (Video available).
In the mountains of Co. Waterford, a Bronze Age settlement and
ritual landscape makes for an interesting day 'as we tread in the
footsteps of those ancient ones' among stone circles, alignments,
barrows, field and hut sites, fulachta fiad, enclosures, cairns
and standing stones. At sunset we may witness the calendar
landscape read from the Knockmealdown and Galtymore mountain
STANDING STONES: Megalithic markers or
energised 'healing stones' - sometimes aligned in stone rows or
to other pagan sites. The mystic Druids inscribed such stones
with Ogham script; there are 13 in Co. Kilkenny.
The first christians inscribed these monoliths with crosses to
proclaim the new faith; and by the 8/9th century they had been
transformed into stone, celtic HIGH CROSSES sculpted in the
monastic settlements throughout S.E. Ireland. Covered in celtic
designs and, later, scriptural scenes, they are among the finest
examples of Celtic-Christian art.
A unique, indigenous irish architectural
feature is seen in the Round Towers, 'fingers of stone' , 100 ft
or more, standing tall in the landscape.
Portal Tombs - from Breton for 'stone table'; often known locally
as Druid's Altars or Giant's Graves. We visit Leac
an Scail, 'stone of the hero' - an
awe-inspiring, neolithic sculpture. Here on a good day we may
enjoy a picnic.
SHEELA-NA-GIGS. Protective talismans.
Female, stone figures depicting the old woman/hag; often found
now on castle and church walls. Breasts are pendulous, ribs
pronounced and vulva exhibited and sometimes rubbed smooth. Maybe
medieval, but most likely resonant of pagan, goddess and
fertility rites. In folklore genital display is a powerful charm
against, or an antidote to, the 'evil eye'.
The sile on the Fethard town wall in
Co. Tipperary overlooks the river bridge; she has a chevron on
her cheek. Another below a nearby castle has a torque (moon?) or
horseshoe in one hand and a serpent(?) in the other, reminiscent
of the male, Celtic, god, Cernunnos. Some have catlike whiskers.
Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co Meath.
Antiquarians , archaeologists, architects and
new agers have their own understanding of ancient sites; we
provide such relevant background information, hoping that with
this you will better enjoy and appreciate these places.
Inistioge is 15 miles from Kilkenny, 75 from
Dublin, 40 from Rosslare Harbour.
Here and in neighboring Thomastown & Kilkenny there are
excellent restaurants, pubs and traditional music sessions.
Maps and Guidebooks.
The Discovery series of maps
show many of the archaeological & historic sites.
The old 'Shell Guide to Ireland' (2nd
edition) has extensive references and directions to most
places of ancient and historic interest.
Southern Ireland is free of Foot and Mouth.
The government/tourist upate on the situation - http://www.rte.ie/footandmouth/
Some tours are arranged to coincide with celtic festivals:-
solstices, equinoxes, quarter days and astronomical alignments.
Summer Solstice, june 21.
Sunrise at Stone Circle. High Crosses. Dolmen.
Autumn Equinox, sept 21.
Passage Tomb Sunrise. Rock Art. Stone Circles.
[Tours not operating from Nov 2001 to March 2002.]
Spring Equinox. March 21.
Contact us to make personal arrangements for
COST: Daily IR£30pp. 1/2 day IR20 [single supplement].
Arrangements can be made for B & B
etc. accommodation (Country House,
farm, Self-Catering, single occupancy etc.)
For comfort it is a good idea to have walking shoes or boots
& rain gear.
The guide - Antony Lorraine M.A. (Stanford) is
a member of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and the
Graiguenamanagh Historical Society; he has extensive knowledge of
the sites in the south-east and throughout Ireland.
Also available through Ancient Ireland Tours:
Videotapes - 'Loughcrew
Passage Grave Equinox' (15 min.) 'High Crosses of S.E. Ireland.'
(26 m.) Photographs of ancient monuments in
Ireland. Stone Rubbings of graveyard headstones.
(Specific family headstones/locations recorded by request.).
Tel (353) 086 8348055
"Our time in the Berryhill house was a highlight of our
trip to Ireland. George and Belinda, in addition to being
wonderful hosts, arranged for their neighbor, Antony, to take us
on an (inexpensive) guided tour of historical and archaeological
sites in the area -- we saw some of the most amazing ruins tucked
away on the side of the road that would be fully impossible to
find without local knowledge, and received a wonderful narrative
about the background and historical significance of each. Don't
miss the opportunity for this experience! Thank all of you!
Charlie and Junko P. Boulder, Colorado, USA."
"we went to the three friars and were
surrounded by curious cows, then on to the Harristown Dolmen,
Ahenny high crosses etc. Our outing with you was one of the
highlights of our trip. .. Your introduction to ancient Ireland
started us on an engaging "tour of old rocks", as Bess
puts it. We saw Ogham stones, other standing
stones, old fortified farmhouses, stone circles. At the Hill of
Tara we were introduced to dowsing (divining) and became
fairly keen, even getting our own rods and wandering around
likely looking places finding energy lines, whatever they are. We
wonder where to start in Australia - there are no stones or
ancient churches to give us a clue! However, there does appear to
be some very active energy in the lounge room!! V. Australia.
'Don't change the site; let the
site change you.'
Encyclopedia of the Celts
South East Ireland Tourism http://www.southeastireland.travel.ie/home/
Kilkenny Information - http://www.countykilkenny.com/
Sligo & Mayo: http://www.legendarytours.com/heritnet.html
Ireland info. http://www.finditireland.com/
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