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Phespirit goes to the Republic of Ireland
Dublin     November 2004

AROUND THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Map of the Republic of Ireland

1 Dublin

Phespirit was thwarted in his first attempt to sightsee Dublin: the state rooms in Dublin Castle were closed due to the inauguration of the Irish President during the previous day.

The rooms are kept closed for a whole week after inauguration to allow time for tidying up - what had they been doing in there? This only happens once every seven years, such is Phespirit's luck.

Hopefully the party did not contravene the severe rules posted by Dublin City Council in St. Patrick's Park:

"A person shall not consume intoxicating liquor or inhale or inject or absorb controlled drugs or solvents."

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2 Hill of Tara

On this hill the ancient kings of Ireland received their coronation. It is a place of profound spiritual significance and is marked by a big stone phallus at the top. Something fit for a king, no doubt.

In the nearby churchyard at Tara there is something for the ladies: a little Síle na Gig (Sheela Na Gig), carved into Adamnán's Pillar.

This is clearly a very fertile place.

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3 Newgrange

The megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange is spectacular: for its massive scale, for its reconstructed quartz façade, for its abstract stone carvings, for its water-tight inner vault, and for its capture of sunlight during the winter solstice.

And it is spectacular for its great age. Burnt clay packed between the great stones has been carbon dated to 3200BC. Compare this to the Great Pyramid of Giza dated to 2600BC, Stonehenge dated to 2000BC, or the Mycenean civilisation also dated to 2000BC.

Phespirit paid his money and was taken inside.

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4 Mellifont Abbey

Mellifont Abbey is an Irish Cistercian monastery. Or rather, what remains of one .....

  • founded by monks from Clairvaux in 1142;
  • seen off by Henry VIII's English Reformation in 1539;
  • hardly anything is left standing in 2004;

..... just a ruined mediæval gate, a ruined abbey church, a ruined (but nice) lavabo and some stubby ruined foundations.

Phespirit had a quick walk around all of these and took pictures.

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5 Monasterboice

The 35m round tower at Monasterboice was burned in 1097, but it still survives to this day. Three high crosses, stunningly decorated with detailed biblical carvings, stand in the cemetery at the foot of the tower. The whole site was founded around 520AD.

Indeed, Monasterboice aches with history.

Phespirit thought the place was highly atmospheric, especially in the low bright sunlight of late November, amid scattered leaves.

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  1. Dublin
  2. Hill of Tara
  3. Newgrange
  4. Mellifont Abbey
  5. Monasterboice
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Dublin Hill of Tara Newgrange Mellifont Abbey Monasterboice