* take nothing for granted    
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2021

Who is Online

We have 39 guests and no members online

Article Index



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.

See the Ireland Album - Click Here...  

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
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item






In May 2015 four of us, Craig and Sonia Wendy and I, bought a package deal: eleven days in Taiwan and Hong Kong - Wendy and I added two nights in China at the end.  We had previously travelled together with Craig and Sonia in China; Russia, India and South America and this seemed like a good place to do it again and to learn more about the region.

Taiwan is one of the Four Asian Tigers, along with Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, achieving the fastest economic growth on the Planet during the past half century. Trying to understand that success was of equal interest with any ‘new sights’ we might encounter.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

Alan Turing and The Imitation Game


The movie The Imitation Game is an imaginative drama about the struggles of a gay man in an unsympathetic world. 

It's very touching and left everyone in the cinema we saw it in reaching for the tissues; and me feeling very guilty about my schoolboy homophobia. 

Benedict Cumberbatch, who we had previously seen as the modernised Sherlock Holmes, plays Alan Turing in much the same way that he played Sherlock Holmes.  And as in that series The Imitation Game differs in many ways from the original story while borrowing many of the same names and places.

Far from detracting from the drama and pathos these 'tweaks' to the actual history are the very grist of the new story.  The problem for me in this case is that the original story is not a fiction by Conan Doyle.  This 'updated' version misrepresents a man of considerable historical standing while simultaneously failing to accurately represent his considerable achievements.

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy




In my novella The Cloud I have given one of the characters an opinion about 'goodness' in which he dismisses 'original sin' as a cause of evil and suffering and proposes instead 'original goodness'.

Most sane people want to 'do good', in other words to follow that ethical system they were taught at their proverbial 'mother's knee' (all those family and extended influences that form our childhood world view).

That's the reason we now have jihadists raging, seemingly out of control, across areas of Syria and Iraq and threatening the entire Middle East with their version of 'goodness'. 

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright