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Just south of Sligo, less than 15 mins by car, is Carrowmore, part of a prehistoric stone age burial landscape that may once have included Sligo itself.

Carrowmore is one of four Neolithic burial areas that are now National Monuments, like Stonehenge in England.  There's a visitor's centre offering self-guided tours for a small fee.  In 1970 initial radio-carbon dating determined the site to have been constructed around 5400 BCE but more detailed dating of each grave has found their age to be between 3750 BCE and 3000 BCE. 

For those of you for whom scripture is an unwavering record of God's Word, like perhaps the Vicar of Calry, this site was active around the time of the Biblical creation.  Yet I looked in vain for evidence of Noah's Flood.  Perhaps Neolithic flood victims, like their modern descendents, were good at cleaning up.  Then it occurred to me that those events must have taken place far away from here, because despite Noah inexplicably saving them for future temptations, there are no snakes in Ireland.

Back in the real world: this is but one of many prehistoric stone age burial sites of a similar age found across County Sligo and across Northern Europe in general.  Carrowmore is on a small plateau to the South of Sligo township that is described as part of a 'prehistoric ritual landscape'.  In addition to original tombs and burial sites Carrowmore features a reconstructed Irish Passage Tomb that for non-expert visitors, like us, provides a more accessible photo-opportunity, along with a series of stone circles where the site continues across the road.

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For the experts, the grave goods found in the tombs provide a lot of information about those ancient people. For example at another site in County Sligo, Carrowkeel, quantities of coarsely made yet elaborately decorated pottery, known as Carrowkeel Ware, were found.  This pottery had been used for food preparation and for storage.  Pottery is the necessary intermediate technology between the stone age and the bronze age, as fired clay bricks are required to build kilns and to cast molten metals. Pottery is also necessary for reliable grain storage. Storing seed grain for the following years is a necessary step towards systematic seasonal farming.

Here antler pins, shellfish, and ornaments made from sperm whale teeth have been found in the graves suggesting that the builders were advanced hunter-gatherers. The presence of small amounts of Carrowkeel Ware suggests farming. The chambers contained the remains of multiple individuals.

Almost all the Neolithic burials at Carrowmore appear to have been cremations. The alignment of the tomb entrances and the stone circles are consistent, suggesting both an awareness of astronomy, for forecasting the seasons, and the mystical significance of geographical features like the nearby mountain, that was topped with a cairn.  The investment in time and effort involved, together with grave goods sacrificed, is indicative of a systematic, organised religion in which death played an important part.

In addition to these early Neolithic artefacts, there are later burials and evidence of both Bronze age (2000 BCE to 500 BCE) and Iron age (500 BCE to 400 CE) habitation and farming, in addition, of course, to modern farming (and on this site garbage potential dumping) as several of these Neolithic sites were/are on private land, protected only by the belief among superstitious locals that disturbing them would activate a curse.

Perhaps this belief explains why they are still found in such numbers in County Sligo?





# Michael 2020-08-28 06:06
This article is brilliant. I've learnt a lot from reading about these travels
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When we talked of going to Hawaii for a couple of weeks in February 2018 several of our friends enthusiastically recommended it. To many of them it's a nice place to go on holidays - a little further to go than Bali but with a nicer climate, better beaches and better shopping - with bargains to be had at the designer outlets.




To nearly one and a half million racially diverse Hawaiians it's home.



Downtown Hilo


To other Americans it's the newest State, the only one thousands of miles from the North American Continent, and the one that's more exotic than Florida.

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Fiction, Recollections & News




Jordan Baker and Jeff Purser were married on Saturday 3rd of December 2011. The ceremony took place on the cliff top at Clovelly.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Climate Emergency




/uh'merrjuhnsee, ee-/.
noun, plural emergencies.
1. an unforeseen occurrence; a sudden and urgent occasion for action.



Recent calls for action on climate change have taken to declaring that we are facing a 'Climate Emergency'.

This concerns me on a couple of levels.

The first seems obvious. There's nothing unforseen or sudden about our present predicament. 

My second concern is that 'emergency' implies something short lived.  It gives the impression that by 'fire fighting against carbon dioxide' or revolutionary action against governments, or commuters, activists can resolve the climate crisis and go back to 'normal' - whatever that is. Would it not be better to press for considered, incremental changes that might avoid the catastrophic collapse of civilisation and our collective 'human project' or at least give it a few more years sometime in the future?

Back in 1990, concluding my paper: Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis I wrote:

We need to focus on the possible.

An appropriate response is to ensure that resource and transport efficiency is optimised and energy waste is reduced. Another is to explore less polluting energy sources. This needs to be explored more critically. Each so-called green power option should be carefully analysed for whole of life energy and greenhouse gas production, against the benchmark of present technology, before going beyond the demonstration or experimental stage.

Much more important are the cultural and technological changes needed to minimise World overpopulation. We desperately need to remove the socio-economic drivers to larger families, young motherhood and excessive personal consumption (from resource inefficiencies to long journeys to work).

Climate change may be inevitable. We should be working to climate “harden” the production of food, ensure that public infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, hospitals, utilities and so) on are designed to accommodate change and that the places people live are not excessively vulnerable to drought, flood or storm. [I didn't mention fire]

Only by solving these problems will we have any hope of finding solutions to the other pressures human expansion is imposing on the planet. It is time to start looking for creative answers for NSW and Australia  now.


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