1907 Louth Through The Stereoscope

 

 

 

HOME PAGE                 SITE MAP

 

horizontal rule

The following account was written by Charles Johnston who came from Ballykilbeg in County Down. He was living in the United States when he wrote his "Ireland through the Stereoscope", which was published in 1907 to accompany a boxed set of one hundred stereoviews of Ireland by the company of Underwood & Underwood. Many of the pictures, of course, precede that date. The language is flowery and the facts a little hazy at times. It is written in the form of a tourist guide, using the stereoviews to illustrate the narrative. A stereoscope was required to view the pictures in stereo, but with a bit of practice, if you stare long enough at the pictures below, the stereo image will appear.

 

"When I came to the America eleven years ago, I had it in my heart to try to tell again the story of Ireland as I understood it, to her unnumbered children scattered through the western lands. And in due time opportunities came. First, in "Ireland Historic and Picturesque", I tried to depict the pathetic beauty of the land itself, and to unravel some of the mysteries of its most ancient days, revealing also the soul that lived and burned through all our history. Later, in "Ireland's Story", with an effective helper, I sought to tell again the history, with its inspiration, its wars and its sorrows, so simply that every child might read. And now I welcome the occasion to speak more in detail of many famous and sacred places, many regions of beauty and charm, while the very place sthemselves, evoked by magic art, arise in the optic glass before the reader. May the spirit of Ireland, thus evoked, never cease to haunt with its mystic, winsome presence!" Charles Johnston, Ireland through the Stereoscope, Underwood & Underwood, USA 1907

 

horizontal rule

 

 

....... Leaving Balbriggan with its living sermon on the needs of Ireland, our route leads northward again by train, through the eastern corner of Meath, until we arrive at Drogheda, best known, perhaps, for the brutal massacre carried out under the order of Oliver Cromwell.

 

 

STEREOVIEW 37

 

 

City of Drogheda, with the viaduct over the river Boyne (northeast) Louth

 

We are in the southern half of the city of Drogheda, in the county of Meath, while across the Boyne, in front of us, is the county Louth, in which the larger part of Drogheda lies. We are looking northeast, toward the harbour, which is formed by the estuary of the river Boyne. The lofty bridge which crosses the river, is the railway bridge, by which our route will, in due time, lead north, toward Belfast. On our right, on this south bank of the Boyne, the railway comes from Dublin. As the river has worn a deep valley, which the railway has to cross, the bridge is required to span the river at a great height, more than ninety feet, and owing to its height, full rigged ships can easily pass up the river to the town. The bridge approaches the river on this south side on twelve arches, seven of which we can see, while on the north side, in Louth, there are three arches. The space between the two groups of arches is covered by a lattice bridge of three beams, 550 feet in length; and, as an exception to the general rule, the iron-work of this bridge is decidedly picturesque, where such railway bridges are generally hideous.

 

We notice the richly wooded country in the distance, beyond which, some four miles from the viaduct, is the sea. We note also the steamers moored along the quays on the south bank of the river; the quaint streets of solidly built, old-fashioned houses, with their high-pitched slate roofs; the slender spire of the church of Saint Mary, topped by a cross; and the snug cottages immediately before us. The city suggests nothing but peace as we look at it to-day, but it has been the scene, as we are to see, of frightful tragedies.

 

Throughout the Middle Ages, Drogheda was a walled town, its fortifications having been built by the Norman knights under De Courcy, who captured it from the Danes. The Normans also built a bridge across the Boyne here, where there had formerly been a ford; and thereafter the town was called Droichead-Atha, "the Bridge of the Ford." When completed, the fortifications consisted of a wall with ten gates, five of which gave access to the south, the Meath side of the town, in which we are standing; while the other five were on the roads leading from the Louth side to the north. Of these ten gates, two are still fairly well preserved. We shall now go to visit the finest of these, called St. Lawrence's Gate, on the north side of the city, somewhat to the left of our present point of view. Later we shall return to this south side of the river, to a place not far from where we now stand, and look to the northwest, that is, over that part of the city now lying off to our left.

 

 

STEREOVIEW 37a

 

 

This stereoview is taken from Millmount looking south towards Bellewstown.

 

 

STEREOVIEW 38

 

 

St. Lawrence Gate (east), a perfect ancient gate in old wall of Drogheda

 

We are looking out through the Gate to the country beyond between Drogheda and Dundalk. The shadow of the horse before us shows that we are toward the northeast, the afternoon sun having gone round to the southwest. This huge fortified Gate was one of the ten like defenses of the mile and a half of walls which of old defended Drogheda against the warlike clans of Ulster, for all through the Middle Ages, this city was a Norman-English stronghold. We see that the Gate is defended by two lofty towers, each four stories high, embattled at the top, with stepped battlements in the Irish style; and with openings for musketmen at each story. These openings are much wider inside than outside, being almost funnel-shaped; so that the musketmen inside could aim in any direction at the approaching enemy. Looking up at the towers we can see that they are built in regular courses, but of uncut stone; and the mortar is almost as hard as the stone itself. We see also that the towers are joined by a retiring wall, also pierced for musketry. It must, of course, be understood that this great Gate did not stand alone, but that on either side the high and thick walls of the city formerly extended, joining it with the other gates, and making a complete circuit of the city.

 

History.- The walled city in which we are standing was, as we have said, a foreign stronghold, first Danish, then Norman and later English. It was more than once the meeting-place of the Parliament which represented English law in Ireland; and one such parliament, meeting here in 1494, passed the famous Poyning's Law, which declared that the Parliament in Ireland could only pass such laws as the English government had previously approved. This law was finally repealed only by Grattan's Parliament, in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

 

A hundred and fifty years after Poyning's Law, the "Irish Rebellion" broke out under Sir Phelim O'Neill and O'Moore of Leix. Within a few months, a national government was set up, a national parliament was summoned to Kilkenny. There was much fighting about Drogheda, the strongest fortress in this northern part of the Pale. In 1649, when Charles I was beheaded, Drogheda was captured by the English royalists, with whom the Duke of Ormond had concluded a fatal treaty on behalf of the Irish Parliament at Kilkenny. The Royalist garrison, chiefly of English troops, under the command of Sir Arthur Aston, numbered some 3,000 men. It was against this English garrison that Cromwell advanced, in August, 1649. He was well supplied with cannon, and had an army of 13,000, more than four to one against the defenders of Drogheda. After battering the walls with cannon for two days, he succeeded in making a practicable breach, through which, after two failures, he finally succeeded in leading his army into the doomed city. Then follows a massacre which stamps Cromwell with infamy, and is a dark blot on the military honour of England. Through surrendering, the garrison were butchered without mercy, only about thirty surviving. The fate they met was little better, for they were sold as slaves to the planters of the Barbadoes. At the same time great numbers of the townspeople were slaughtered, by order of Cromwell himself, as we shall presently see. We now turn our backs on St. Lawrence's Gate, descend to the river and re-cross to the Meath side, by one of the street bridges. Mounting the high ground on the south side of the river, we shall find a point of vantage near the Barracks, and take in the wide view up the river Boyne, toward the northwest.

 

 

STEREOVIEW 39

 

 

Drogheda and Boyne River (north-west), an important port and ancient town

 

We are on the south side of the river again, looking northwest from within the enclosure of the Barracks. The southern part of the town, the Meath half, is immediately before us. Then comes the Boyne river, flowing toward us, and then the northern part of the town, the Louth half, with flax, cotton and Flour mills, breweries and iron works along the banks of the river. A low bridge spans the stream, similar to that by which we have just crossed. We are looking in the direction of Monasterboice, the once famed ecclesiastical settlement, whose Round Tower and Celtic crosses we shall shortly visit.

 

Some four miles up the river, to our left, is the scene of the famous Battle of the Boyne, which we shall also visit, and not far from the battlefield is Mellifont Abbey, with its lovely Cistercian Baptistery.

 

History.- As we stand here on the Meath side of the Boyne, we are not very far from the point where Cromwell made the breach in the wall, through which he led his army to the massacre. The shame of this massacre is none the less because, as we saw, the victims were almost exclusively English troops or adherents of the English Royalist party. Attempts have been made to exonerate Cromwell. Let us settle the matter, by quoting his own words, written in Dublin within the next few days: "The Governor, Sir Arthur Aston," writes Cromwell "and divers considerable officers, being there, our men, getting up to them, were ordered by me to put them all to the sword. And, indeed, in the heat of action, I forbade them to spare any that were in arms in the town; and, I think, that night they put to the sword about two thousand men: divers of the officers and soldiers being fled over the bridge into the other part of the town, where about one hundred of them possessed St. Peter's Church Steeple, some the west gate, and others a strong round tower, called St. Sunday's. These, being summoned to yield to mercy, refused. Whereupon I ordered the steeple of St. Peter's Church to be fired. The next day, the other two towers were summoned ….. When they submitted, their officers were knocked on the head, and every tenth man of the soldiers killed: and the rest shipped for the Barbadoes. I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches." This letter should settle once for all the question of Cromwell's deliberate and brutal cruelty.

 

Our route now takes us down to the river-bank, across the bridge which we see below us, and then by car for a drive to the battlefield, some three miles to our left, along the road which follows the north bank

 

 

STEREOVIEW 40

 

 

River Boyne with Obelisk recording battlc,1690 (east), Drogheda

 

We are standing on the north bank of the Boyne, looking down stream to the east, across the scene of the famous battle of July 1, 1690. Dublin is about thirty miles away at our right. James II had been driven from his English throne by his subjects, who had invited William, Prince of Orange, to reign in his stead. William was James nephew and son-in-law, but he promptly accepted the invitation, and, coming to England in November, 1688, he was crowned as William III. James escaped to France then in the spring of 1689, came to Ireland, where Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell, scion of one of the old Norman families, had raised an army to support him. James held a parliament in Dublin, and considered many beneficient laws: he also engaged in conclusive military expeditions: which included the famous siege of Derry, and later, in 1689, the march against William's general, Schomberg, encamped near Dundalk, about twenty-five miles away to our left, or to the north. No decisive engagement took place that year, or during the first six months of 1690. William, weary of delay, decided to come to Ireland himself, to fight the war to a finish, and brought a fleet and army to Carrickfergus in county Antrim, fiftv miles to the north whence he marched in this direction toward Dublin: James marched north to meet him, and occupied the south bank of the river Boyne, while William arrived on the north bank, on our left, on June 30, 1690.

 

On that evening, the right wing of William's army was posted in a hollow, just beyond where the obelisk before us stands. His left wing was further down stream, in another hollow, while his centre filled the space between, on the high ground above the Boyne. Just at the foot of the obelisk, William was wounded in the arm on that evening by a bullet from James army, which occupied the south bank of the river, on our right. James had had twelve guns, but six of these he sent away to Dublin that night, lest the retreat which he had already decided on might be impeded the next day. The remaining cannon: he placed in front of two fords, which cross the river immediately before us, just below the modern lattice bridge. The army of James held the rising ground on our right and before us, while the good king himself took up a position on the very top of the hill to the right, a mile from the river, and at the head of the road to Dublin.

 

At dawn on July 1, William sent his right wing up the river to Slane, behind us, some five miles by the road, to force the ford there. The younger Schomberg, who was in command of this body, was met by Arthur O'Neill, at the head of the valiant band of Irish horse, and for a long time was unable to pass the ford. O'Neill had no cannon, however, and young Schomberg was well supplied; so that the final result was inevitable. Schomberg crossed, and began to close in on the left wing of the Irish army. Meanwhile, in the space immediately before us, a fierce fight was going on. The tide, which flows up to about this point, had ebbed, leaving the river not too deep to ford; and the English centre, led by the elder Schomberg, now eighty years old, tried to force a passage through the river. He was met by the Irish horse under the dauntless Sarsfield, and again and again the advance of Schomberg's force was checked. In the fierce fighting, the aged warrior fell, and the army of William was thrown into confusion by the loss of its leader. For the king himself had left the bulk of the army, making his way down stream to the point under the hill immediately before us, with a small body of troops, to try the deep and difficult ford under the bluffs. He barely succeeded in making his way across, and finally struggled forth from the marshy verge of the river, in which his horse at one time stuck fast. Then he too advanced, on the right of the Irish army, while the younger Schomberg was advancing on the left. At this point, the good King James ceased to observe the battle from the Hill of Donore, on our right. His interest was centred on the Dublin road, and he reached the capital in record time at ten o'clock that evening, the first to bear the news of the battle. "My army has fled!" he exclaimed to Lady Tyrconnell. "Your Majesty has excelled them in speed, as in all else!" responded the witty lady. James then fled south to Waterford, and thence to France.

 

The Irish army, thus deprived of the valorous leadership of James, and hemmed in on both wings, nevertheless withdrew in good order to Duleek, some five miles to the south, where it took up a position for the night. Within the next few weeks, this same army twice defeated the forces of King William, the first time at Athlone, and the second time at Limerick where his losses were so great that William withdrew and left Ireland in disgust, entrusting his general, Ginkel, with the command of the campaign. So much for the famous Battle of the Boyne.

 

Now, leaving the fair river Boyne, we follow a road to the northwest, to where it meets the stream of the Mattock, which flows into the Boyne, just above where we have been standing. The Mattock at that place marks the boundary between Louth and Meath, and on the Louth or north bank, some two miles from the battlefield, we reach the site of the famous Cistercian Abbey at Mellifont. When we were at Holy Cross, in Tipperary, we recalled the memory of the great Irish Archbishop of the twelfth century, Saint Malachy, who, on his way to Rome, halted in northeastern France, to make friends with the younger Saint Bernard, at Clara Vallis, or Clairvaux. The result of this visit was that a small company of the disciples of Saint Bernard came to Ireland with Malachy, on his return. Saint Bernard had followed the Rule of Saint Benedict, at the monastery of Cistercium, or Citeaux; but not finding it strict enough, he drew up a new rule of his own and on it founded the Order of Bernardines, also called Cistercians, from the town of their origin.

 

Thus it came that, in 1142, a Cistercian monastery was founded on the plain of Louth, on the bank of the Mattock, on land granted by Dorrough O'Carroll, Lord of Oriel, which included Louth. We shall now view the site of this monastery of the olden time.

 

 

 

STEREOVIEW 41

 

 

Ruins of the Baptistery, Mellifont (northeast), oldest Cistercian Abbey

 

We are looking northeastward, toward the Baptistery. Immediately behind us is the fair stream of the Mattock, where the monks of old caught fish to supply their table. There were, perhaps, more than a hundred disciples of Saint Bernard here, a colony as industrious as it was devout. With their own hands the monks laid the stone of these walls of their churches and buildings, and they themselves went to the woods to cut trees for the beams and rafters. What fine artistic discernment guided them, we can see from the ruins before us, which we shall now examine in detail.

 

The Baptistery, at which we are looking, was a regular octagon in plan; we can see four sides almost complete still, parts of the fifth and sixth; and, on the grass, where the three priests are gathered, studying the venerable ruins, we can trace the outline of the remaining two sides. Each side had a doorway, with a round-arched top, the pointed Gothic arches not yet having come into fashion. We can see the carved stone pillars at either side of two or three of the doorways, and also the graceful moulding, carved in stone, running over the semi-circular arch of the doors. Between each pair of doors, in the angle between the two side-walls, rises a pilaster, from the corbel at the head of which we see the groin rising, which formerly supported the end of an arch. These arches came together, immediately over the centre of the floor, producing a lovely flower-like effect, and completing a wonderfully graceful building. In each wall of what was the upper story there was a window, the ornamentation of which we can no longer distinguish. Among other relics of this old monastic foundation is Saint Bernard's Chapel, with its beautiful crypt, the ruins of which we can see through the arches of the Baptistery. Everywhere over the grass, we see the daisies, which star the green meadows of Ireland.

 

Leaving the lovely ruins on the bank of the Mattock, our route now takes us some four miles to the northeast, across the plain of Louth, to Monasterboice, also a sacred site, and of far older date than Mellifont.

 

 

STEREOVIEW 42

 

 

Monasterboice, the Celtic Cross, Church and Round Tower, Louth (west-northwest)

 

We are facing the west, or slightly to the north of west. We see, immediately before us, a wonderful Celtic Cross; on our right, the ruins of an old church; beyond the church, another cross, nearly twice as tall as the first; immediately to the left of that second cross there are the ruins of a smaller church; finally, to the left of the tall cross, is the Round Tower, conspicuous for miles in all directions. Thus we have within our view all the most noteworthy monuments of one of the most noteworthy of all Irish religious settlements: the Monastery of Saint Buite or Bodius, whence the name Monaster-Boice is derived. This saint was a disciple of Saint Patrick himself, and founded here one of those religious colleges which played so great a part in early Irish life. For here all known learning flourished, religious and classical, artistic and scientific, the teaching being in the venerable Gaelic tongue. Saint Buite died in 521 A.D., on the day, it is said, on which was born the great Saint Columba, and here the body of Buite was buried. We see, in the church to our right, the oldest of all the buildings before us. It dates from the seventh or eighth century; four or five hundred years the senior of the venerable ruins at Mellifont. The east end of the church is toward us, but the chancel, which, of course, was at this end, has fallen into ruins. The smaller church beyond the tall cross is of the ninth century, and the Round Tower was in all likelihood its belfry. But this smaller church was later rebuilt.

 

The Tower is seventeen feet in diameter, and one hundred and ten feet high, the door being six feet from the ground, and therefore only accessible by a ladder. One who ascends the Tower by the circular staircase in the interior, enjoys a splendid view over the plain, southward toward the Boyne, and northward toward Carlingford mountain.

 

The High Cross, the lofty top of which we see just to the .left of the Round Tower, is, perhaps, the finest Celtic cross in the world. It is twenty-seven feet high, and beautifully proportioned, and is richly sculptured with scriptural subjects, from the Fall of Adam, to the Crucifixion and the Last Judgment.

 

We now come to the nearer of the two crosses fifteen feet high, which is called Muiredach's Cross from an inscription at the base of the shaft: "A prayer for Muiredach, by whom this cross was made." This name is the ancient form of Murray.

 

We are looking at the cast side of the cross. Let us examine it in detail, as it is the most perfectly preserved relic of the kind in the world, and is only excelled in beauty by the High Cross to our right. The top of the cross is carved to represent one of the old churches, with a high-pitched roof, such as we saw at St. Kevin's House at Glendalough. Below this topmost stone, which is richly carved, come the arms of the cross bound to the shaft by a broad ring, which gives the Celtic cross its peculiar and beautiful form. Where the arms cross the shaft is the central panel of the design is the Saviour sitting in judgment over the world. To His right is the assembly of saints, with instruments of music, among which we find an Irish harp; to His left is the host of the damned, sinking down to perdition. Immediately below is a figure weighing souls in a pair of scales; and below this, on the shaft of the cross, are four richly carved panels. The uppermost represents the Adoration of the Magi. The next is a group of figures, whose purpose is uncertain. The panel below contains a figure blowing a horn, and soldiers with swords and shields. The lowest panel represents the Temptation of Adam and Eve, and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Finally, on the base, there arc two dogs fighting, one holding the other by the ear. The Muiredach "by whom this cross was made" is believed to have died in the year 924 A. D.

 

We have thus taken a view, all too cursory, of one of the most venerable religious sites in all Europe, a home of spiritual and moral culture from the sixth century at least down to the thirteenth, and, as the modern tombs show, still esteemed holy ground by the pious sons and daughters of Ireland.

 

Leaving Monasterboice and its old memories, we make our way northward through eastern Louth to Dundalk. It had an interesting history in medieval times, when it was the walled fortress of the de Verdons, but our route takes us by car for four miles to Ballymascanlon, to see certain monuments, which make the days of the Norman invasion seem like yesterday.

 

 

STEREOVIEW 43

 

 

A Cromlech, sepulchral monument of ancient inhabitants, near Dundalk

 

We are looking eastward toward one of the most wonderful monuments in the world, on which the noon-day sun falls now, as it has fallen for milleniums. We note the height of the two men standing beneath the cromlech, and are thus able to see that the lower surface of the great upper stone is some seven or eight feet from the ground. That huge stone weighs many tons; and it is not the least of the mysteries connected with this mysterious structure, how the vast mass of the upper stone was raised in the air, and perched on the pillar-stones which support it. This huge upper stone is far from being the largest of its class, as there are cromlechs in Ireland, the tablestones of which weigh sixty, seventy, eighty or even a hundred tons, upborne, as in the cromlech before us, on pointed pillars of rough stone, standing erect on the ground.

 

Cromlech means "crooked stone," and signifies nothing at all concerning the origin of these strange structures. The old Irish popular tradition says that the cromlechs are "the beds of Dermot and Grania," the lovers who fled from the court of Grania's father, King Cormac, who wished to give her in marriage to the aged warrior Finn, son of Cumhal. Tradition says that the lovers fled over the hills and valleys for a full year, with Finn and his warriors in pursuit; and that each night. wherever darkness overtook them, Dermot built such a bell as the cromlech we are looking at; so that there are just three hundred and sixty-five cromlechs in Ireland. It is a pretty story, and one cannot too much admire the muscular vigour of Dermot.

 

The semi-scientific name of "druids' altars" given to these same monuments is more prosaic, but not a whit more accurate. One can see that, to sacrifice comfortably on this "altar," the Druid would have to be about twelve to fifteen feet high. The truth is, that the cromlechs are the burial-places, the temples for the dead, of a race so old that nearly every trace of it was gone, before the Gaels came to Ireland.

 

Certain monuments of this class have been exhumed among the bogs of Fermanagh. A covering of peat, some ten feet thick, had grown over them, and had to be removed before they became visible. But we know that a layer of peat a foot thick takes a century to grow, so that this would give us ten thousand years as the age of the peat which covered the great monument; while the monument may have been there long before the growth of the peat began. Under some of these cromlechs bodies have been found, with primitive ornaments, arrow-heads, necklaces of shells, and the like; and the form of the skulls is the same as that of a great race whose descendants even at the present day spread from Mount Atlas to Norway, along the margin of the Atlantic, And all along this area we find cromlechs: so that it seems fairly certain that, in some remote age, the ancestors of this tall, dark-haired race possessed the knowledge needed to lift these huge boulders in the air, and balance them firmly on the points of pillar-stones set in the earth, and often rising six feet or more into the air. How these ancient temples of the dead were raised, is still a mystery.

 

Close beside this cromlech is a so-called "Giant's Grave;" which we now go to see.

 

 

STEREOVIEW 44

 

 

Tomb of a prehistoric race, known as the "Giant’s Grave" (east), at Ballymascanlon, near Dundalk

 

We are looking toward the "Giant's Grave" from a point nearly due west of it, the peninsula of Carlingford lying directly in front of us, with its spine of hills, Then comes the Irish sea, and, between forty and fifty miles away, immediately in the direction in which we are looking, the Isle of Man. Yet forty miles farther, and we reach the coast of Lancashire, on Morcambe Bay.

 

The haymaker with his fork, and his city cousin have very obligingly walked over with us from the cromlech, but they have very little to tell us of this only less extraordinary monument, beyond the fact that it is a "Giant's Grave." And, when we know a little more of the matter, we shall be less confident even about the giant, though his grave is real enough and old enough. As we see, this monument consists of a double row of boulders, for the most part set on edge, the parallel rows being about twenty feet long. At the near end there is a short row of boulders at right angles, forming a T. At the far end, a huge block of stone is laid upon the two side rows, so as to form a rough kind of roof; and in some monuments of this type, of which there are very many throughout Ireland, the roofing is carried from end to end of the parallel rows. In some of these monuments, funeral urns with ashes have been found, though there is no tradition at all of cremation ever having been practised in Ireland; which simply shows that these megaliths - monuments of huge stones - go back before the earliest dawn of tradition.

 

In some of these monuments, instead of urns with charred bones, skeletons have been found, and these are all of normal height, so that of giants we get no trace. We also find bronze armlets, or, more frequently, weapons or rough ornaments of bone or shell. As this is all we know positively of the cromlechs and giants' graves, one suggestion is as good as another. My own is this: That the cromlechs are the forerunners of the great stone pyramids, which are found in the valley of the Boyne, at Newgrange, Dowth and Nowth, and of which we do know something in a historical way For these huge pyramids, in which a hundred thousand tons of stone are piled together, are unanimously attributed by our traditions to the De Danann race, whom the Gaels found ruling Ireland when they came over from the Continent of Europe. The De Dananns were a golden-haired, blue-eyed race, coming, tradition says, from the Baltic, where there is a golden-haired, blue-eyed race at the present day; and their connection with the Baltic is further shown by the presence of amber beads in their tombs.

 

Now in each of these pyramids there is a central chamber; that in the pyramid of Newgrange is nearly twenty feet high, and is approached by a passage over sixty feet long. And ancient tradition says that this central chamber was, for ages, the dwelling-place of the spirits of the great De Danann heroes, the Dagda Mor, Ogma of the Sun-face, Angus the Young, and Lueg the Long-Armed. It was possible to meet their spirits in mystical communion within the secret chamber and we are told, when Dermot, the lover of Grania died he was carried to the pyramid of Newgrange, and there, in the secret sanctuary, he met the spirit of Angus the Young.

 

The cromlechs, I think, were the forerunners of these pyramids; and the "Giant's Grave" before us is the forerunner of the long passage in the said pyramid. The massiveness of the stones was held, I think, to preserve the right magnetic conditions for communion with the dead: for just such a belief has led to the building of temples to the spirit of ancestors in China; and in these temples, at the yearly feasts, the spirits are believed to appear, to impart to their descendants needed information or counsel.

 

What more natural than to see, in the cromlechs and "Giants' Graves" of Ireland, far older temples to the spirits of the departed; temples which were not mere memorials, but places of communion; to which the spirit was drawn by magnetic affinity, when his descendant came there, offered the yearly sacrifice, and, with prayer and fasting, called on the spirit of the departed for help and counsel.

 

But we must not linger longer now over these monuments of by-gone ages. We bid farewell for the present to the "Giant's Grave," the cromlech, and our good friends, the haymaker and his cousin. Our route is westward by train over the line that runs through Clones to Enniskillen. Soon you enter Monaghan, and get a distant view of Carrickmackross, "the Rock of the Son of Ross," famous for its lace; and presently you are skimming along the shore of Lake Muckno, which is, in Gaelic, "the place where the boars swim across," and so, past Castleblaney toward Ballybay. Taking advantage of a halt on the way, we go some little way into the country, and stop to have a look at the cottage of a rural postman……

 

horizontal rule

 

TOP

 

 

Return to Home Page

 

30 January 2013

 

 

¦  935 Genealogy of Gairbhith ¦ 976 Genealogy of Cinaeth Mac Croinghille  ¦ 1285-1932 Drogheda Mayors ¦ 1361-1918 Co. Louth High Sheriffs ¦ 1586 Camden's Louth ¦ 1649-1734 Drogheda Council Book Name Index ¦ 1654 The Down Survey Dundalk Barony ¦ 1659-1901 Surname Analysis of Haggardstown ¦ 1665-1882 Title Deeds of County Louth Index ¦ 1689-1927 Regiments based in County Louth ¦ 1692-1841 Dundalk Corporate Officers ¦ 1734-1758 Drogheda Council Book Folio Name Index  ¦ 1740 Corn Census of County Louth ¦1756 Commission of Array ¦ 1775 Collon Cess Payers ¦ 1775-1810 Assizes ¦ 1793 Louth Militia Officers & Men ¦ 1796 Flax Growers ¦1797 The Louth Militia Light Company  ¦ 1798 Louth Militia Officers & Men ¦ 1804 Militia Substitutes ¦ 1816 The Murders at Wildgoose Lodge ¦ 1822 Freeholders ¦ 1824 Freeholders ¦ 1830 County Louth Magistrates ¦ 1832 Dundalk Voters ¦1832 Dundalk: J.R. Eastwood Creditors ¦ 1833-40 Dundalk Union Ten Pound Valuations ¦ 1837 Dundalk Householders ¦ 1837 Dundalk Property Valuations ¦1837 Drogheda Householders  ¦ 1837 Lewis's Co. Louth ¦ 1837 Shareholders in Dundalk Western Railway ¦ 1839 Roden Tenants ¦ 1842 - The Montgomery Children, Dundalk ¦ 1842 Voters ¦ 1842 Thackeray's Louth ¦ 1848 WIlliam Torrens McCullagh ¦ 1846 Dundalk: The Long Panel ¦ 1851 Prisons in County Louth ¦ 1852 Thom's Directory - Co. Louth ¦ 1854 Patriotic Fund ¦ 1855 Ardee Convent ¦ 1855 Drogheda Poor Relief Fund ¦ 1855 The Louth Rifles - Recruits ¦1856/7 Emigrants ¦ 1858 The Wreck of the Mary Stoddard ¦ 1864 Map of Dundalk ¦ 1865 Voters ¦ 1868-1900 Haggardstown Internments Notified to Dundalk Democrat ¦1886 A Brief History  ¦ 1890 Tenants' Defence Fund  ¦ 1890 Dulargy Schools ¦ 1890 Louth Parish Church Fund ¦ 1890 St. Joseph's Dundalk Subscribers ¦ 1891 Bellingham Memorial ¦ 1891 Carroll Fund [Dundalk]  ¦ 1894 Monasterboice ¦ 1898 Tullyallen Subscribers ¦ 1900 Haggardstown Church Subscribers ¦ 1907 County Louth Through the Stereoscope ¦ 1908 Dundalk ¦ 1914-1918 The Returned Army ¦ 1915 Co. Louth Ambulance Fund  ¦  1917 Statistics of the County of Louth ¦ 1922-24 Civil War Period in Dundalk ¦ 1930-40 Newspaper Death Notices ¦ Miscellaneous ¦ The Annals of County Louth ¦ Baronies, Parishes and Townlands ¦ Burials ¦ Statistical Surveys ¦ Dowdallshill ¦ Links ¦ Monasterboice through the Stereoscope  ¦ Co. Louth Population ¦ What's New ¦ Louth Sources ¦ Books of Co. Louth Interest ¦ Memorial Inscriptions ¦ Name Index to County Louth Inscriptions  ¦ 1832 Some Co. Louth Antiquities ¦ Illustrations on this Web Site ¦ The Kingdom of Oriel ¦ Contact Me ¦ Copyright Notice ¦

          © Brendan Hall 2002 - 2015