I Long for Irish Georgian

Friday 22nd November 2019

First thing the next day, the Gay Mother says she wants to visit New Grange – the Megalithic place. So that was the end of Irish Georgian. The Visitor Centre was closed and the temporary toilets were sodden. ‘Look, it says 600m to walk to the bus,’ I said encouragingly. Only the day before the Gay Mother had been wheeled at Dublin airport. All the other tourists dashed past. I thought that somehow we would be subsumed in their slipstream into oblivion. When finally we gained the bus stop though, the drivers magnificently had the air of not being in any hurry and not because of waiting for the Gay Mother either. The bus then wound though miles and miles of Irish countryside, although you could see New Grange up on the hillside. They make a drama of getting to it for effect, I suppose. New Grange is the Irish Stonehenge, Val had said. But it’s not a Henge, it’s a Grange.

It was a fair old walk from the bus to the Grange, after all that. As Val had promised, the guide was excellent. These Megalithics – well, they’d done decorative stonework for the outside of their grange, which is really a huge burial mound, although nobody seems to have been buried in it. I bucked up a bit at the decorative stone work. The scheme is really very attractive and the Megas had gone to great trouble to get the different stones. Definitely an inspiration if you were thinking of doing some grand-scale landscaping of your own, maybe some tiered terracing in the Megalithic style.

The great thing though – the mystery of the Grange is when you go inside. It’s almost a crawling entrance, tiny narrow passage to the inner sanctum, so well-built no damp ever penetrates. The Grange is twice as old as the Henge, by the way. Were it not for electric light, the chamber would be in complete darkness. No light penetrates from the entrance. Except … at the Winter solistice. For some days in December, at 9 a.m. a beam of light shines in. They reproduce the effect for you artificially. Only the very great of Ireland are allowed in to see the actual thing.

‘They must have been very clever,’ the Gay Mother said. There was quite a surge amongst the visitors towards the Ancients. We were thrilled with them and their Grange. So much so we walked all round it after the interior visit. They made their mark, these unknown people who left no other┬ámark. It’s encouraging, isn’t it? All is not lost – quite.

On the bus back the great ancientness of the Gay Mother was beginning to sink it a bit with the Ukranian-Americans who let her barge the queue. But of course they were ruthlessly scheduled for their coaches so we slowly made our way back along the 600 metre path alone. Catering was reduced to a caravan in the carpark. ‘I hope you’re not going to be in here all the winter,’ I said. Mercifully the Visitor Centre was soon to reopen, so at least we haven’t got to worry about those catering people being outdoors all winter. We had a hefty ham sandwich to eat in the car before departing New Grange. The Gay Mother didn’t want all hers and took in back to the hotel wrapped in a paper napkin where she had it semi-legally at tea.

New Grange: the Sacred Entrance which isn't Easy to Enter Through Deliberately

New Grange: the Sacred Entrance which isn’t Easy to Enter Through Deliberately: they did those Stones too

New Grange: the Decorative Stonework: All Their own Work

New Grange: the Decorative Stonework: All Their own Work

New Grange: a Bigger View

New Grange: a Bigger View

New Grange: Round the Back

New Grange: Round the Back

The Gay Mother's Ham Sandwich from Lunch at New Grange, Smuggled into the Pub/Palm Court at Barberstown Hotel at Tea-time

The Gay Mother’s Ham Sandwich from Lunch at New Grange, Smuggled into the Pub/Palm Court at Barberstown Hotel at Tea-time: There weren’t cakes or fancies for Tea in fact: only Biscuits


Posted Friday, November 22, 2019 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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