Re-discovering the ‘lost’ records of the Newgrange roof-box.

Boyne Valley Tombs

Ken Williams

The view through the roof-box slit after sunrise on the Winter Solstice.

The elaborate structure above and behind the entrance to Newgrange, which the excavator, Professor M.J. O’Kelly, termed the ‘roof-box’, is one of the most celebrated features of the passage tomb at Newgrange. Along with the spiral decorated entrance stone, the glistening quartz-clad façade and the magnificently engineered corbelled chamber, it forms one of the defining aspects which make Newgrange unique and fascinating for both visitors and researchers today. O’Kelly’s first observation of the rising sun on the Winter Solstice of 1967 was a pivotal moment in modern archaeo-astronomy. The resulting publicity raised the profile of Newgrange to a global audience.

The exterior of Newgrange in the low morning sun.

Because of its universal significance in terms of architecture, art and astronomy, Newgrange and the wider landscape of Brú na Boinne, encompassing the other great passage tombs…

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Borders

Sojourning Smith

I am sometimes asked where all the ideas come from that inspire a new poem. Well, I range around. Today’s poem’s train of thought was provoked  by a tweet. I am not a frequenter tweeter, but I do follow a few who are only on Twitter. And my current favourite is The Irish Border (@BorderIrish) who is wittily discoursing on the Brexit crisis about what to do with the problem of it. A lot hangs upon the Good Friday Treaty (aka the Belfast Treaty of 1998), which spelled out the end of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We live in border country. For instance, today we went to the launderette in Fermanagh, which is eight miles away. If we opted for ones in Leitrim, we would have had to travel around sixteen miles to do the dirty washing. We fill our prescriptions in Fermanagh…

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