Carrowmore is old, 4,000 – 3,000 BC, but one of the tombs probably dates back to 5,400 to 4,600 BC. As part of the Neolithic Stone Age, we know people farmed, and we also know they had burial rituals.

This picture is a little out of focus, but it gives you an idea of what the experts think the burial rites might have been. There is evidence of pottery, tools, and bone rings from walrus tusks.

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These are passage tombs. Here is a close up of the little figures showing a dramatization of what might have been their rituals. I always think of tombs being for old people, but of course infant mortality must have been high, and maybe their rituals helped them find some purpose in their loss.

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The museum display humanizes the site before going out into the rain to look at rocks. The grass was long and soaked our sneakers at the start of a long day of driving and sight seeing. I’m so glad we did it though.

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What are cold feet compared to seeing what people were doing five to seven thousand years ago?

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Before we headed out to Carrowmore, we had made a quick stop at Lough Gill. It was pretty and peaceful, at least until a couple men showed up with barking dogs off-leash. Before that, I felt transported to my philosophical youth when Yeats’ poetry thrilled me so much. And I had my hand-knit wool sweater from the Aran Islands to keep me warm.

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By the shore of Lough Gill, County Sligo, Ireland.
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Reeds in the shallow waters of Lough Gill, near the Isle of Innisfree, immortalized by William Butler Yeats

I found the whole area mystical, and if I have one regret about the trip it’s that we didn’t spend three days in Sligo. Here’s a photo of the town, which was beautiful and had nice restaurants beside the river.

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I want to go back, but I never will. Even though I was lucky to get to go once, it’s still strange to think I’ll never return. That is life; it is finite even for those of us who live in this time with our longer lifespans (compared to stone age lifespans). Even though we all like to say “Next time,” with a laugh, we all know there won’t be a next time. Travel is intense and fleeting.

I’m actually writing a novel about that among other things. Back to it!

Have a great weekend.