11 Apr 2017

Mysterious 'Giant's Grave' at Killaspugbrone, Sligo, Ireland

General Overview of the Site with Knocknarea Mountain Behind the Trees in the Background

Clearly visible from the footpath leading to Sligo Airport is the central chamber of a neolithic Court or Horned Cairn known locally as the "Giant's Grave". The megalith first appears on maps from the late 1800s, so presumably it was still in-tact and buried up until this point in time. Containing a sizable central chamber with the entrance facing to the east and is orientated in the general direction of a large ring fort or 'rath' about 500 meters away. 

Close Up of the Central Chamber and the Orthostats which Form its Rectangular Shape

Although the cairn is very much in the shadow of the sacred mountain of Knocknarea (the mountain of the moon) with its massive megalithic structure of Queen Meabh's Cairn atop its summit, the
Killaspugbrone cairn appears to have no specific orientation towards either the mountain, or the megalith upon on top of it. This might indicate that it could well be older than the famous Knocknarea cairn.

Looking West from the Entrance to the Central Chamber

Early maps suggest there may have also been a standing stone on the west side of the cairn, but this appears to have been removed, or fallen over and is perhaps currently buried. However, I could find no trace of it. The stone (if it existed) could have been removed when the road to the airport was being constructed. However, this is just speculation. 

View from Behind the Trees East of the Cain, Yet Interestingly the Chamber does not Orientate Towards the Mountain of Knocknarea in the Distance. The Nearby Ring or 'Fairy' Fort which it Does Orientate Towards is to on the Left Side of this Photo Behind the Barn.

Killaspugbrone itself is an ancient Druidism site which became an important early Christian outpost at the mouth of Sligo harbour. Which typical of early Irish monastic or church sites, sits within a very pagan and often megalith-rich landscape.


Photo's by Thomas Sheridan taken April 9th, 2017

10 Apr 2017

The Bohea Stone - One of Ireland's Greatest Neolithic Monuments

We enjoin, that every priest zealously promote Christianity, and totally extinguish every heathenism; and forbid well worshippings, and necromancies, and divinations, and enchantments, and man worshipping and the vain practices which are carried on with various spells…and with stones, and with many various delusions, with which men do much of what they should not…And we enjoin, that on feast days heathen songs and devil’s games be abstained from.”

The Ecclesiastical Canons of King Edgar, 959 CE1

The Precise Geometry and Carving Depth

The Bohea Stone is one of Ireland's most important neolithic rock art sites. Despite being in among the ruins of a farmhouse and former outbuildings, the location is due for redevelopment by Mayo County Council, and planning permission was sought in 2014 for a new infrastructure which will protect the stone and make visitor access easier. 

Located south of the busy tourist town of Westport, and set among rugged and impressive landscape, the Bohea Stone is a national protected monument in state care. The stone itself is a large natural outcropping with a sizable white quartz seam (common to many Irish megalithic structures) running through it. The top of the outcrop forms a natural platform or altar. This would have been the ceremonial plinth for the shaman, and later druid, to perform rituals upon while being surrounded on all sides by rock art atop a powerful quartz charge.

Part of the Quartz Seam

Discovered to be a neolithic site in 1987 by a Mr Gerry Bracken, how such a spectacular example of rock art had not be found until the late 1980s is a mystery in, and of itself. Like so many sites in the west and north of Ireland it has been renamed ‘St Patrick’s Chair’, via Christian cultural appropriation. Even so, the stone contains some of the finest collection of over 250 petroglyphs rock art designs spread over its surface area.

Generally they are in the form of ‘cup’, and ‘cup and rings’ designs and clearly suggest a celestial influence. Perhaps star maps, with the rock representing the aspect of the cosmos being brought down to earth and creating a connection between this material world and other realities. In Swedish and Finnish folklore the cup marks in ceremonial standing stones were used to place seeds within during the start of the growing season as a gift to the fairies. This idea is also plausible when applied to the Bohea Stone, in that the sun rolling down the sacred mountain of Croagh Crom (Croagh Patrick to the Abrahamic importers) at the start of the planting season (April 18th) and the commencement of the harvest (August 24th) is only view-able from the platform atop the outcropping.

The mountain or 'Reek' itself is deeply symbolic, as it is the site where Saint Patrick is said to have converted all of Ireland to Christianity in 441AD. The mountain had been previously been known as Cruachán Aigle, which has been translated as the 'Rock of the Eagle' and was, before Christianity, associated with the mysterious Crom Cruach. 

Portrayed by medieval scribes as a dark pagan cult obsessed with human sacrifice and hunting down peaceful Christians, the entomology of their name suggests the Crom Cruach were more of a fertility and solar sect. Crom was the last pagan god worshiped in Ireland and this spiritual tradition, along with Crom followers were ruthlessly hunted down and persecuted by Saint Patrick and his Roman supporters. However, not entirely it would seem. An interesting inclusion within the fourteenth century manuscript the Book of McGovern—states in poetic verse—that the Crom Cruach were still in existence near Kilnavert, in County Cavan almost nine hundred years after Saint Patrick is said to have rid Ireland of the sect.

This 'fertility cult' aspect appears to have been validated with the discovery of the Bohea Stone and its seasonal alignments within the heart of Crom country. Interestingly, the small Christian chapel which is now on the summit of the mountain is still referred to by locals as 'An Teampall' or in English, or 'The Temple'. 

Sadly the Bohea Stone has been desecrated over the years with tacky Christian and other obnoxious government additions, however, these should, and will be properly removed when the visitors center construction commences.

All photos below by Thomas Sheridan taken April 10th, 2017.

The Viewing Platform or 'Altar' Atop the Bohea Stone

The 'Reek' as Seen from the Viewing Platform.

13 Jan 2017

Stonehenge Tunnel Controversy - Clear Thinking Needed

Photo by Thomas Sheridan

The breaking story of the proposed tunneling of the A303 road - so as to remove it visually from the overall Stonehenge landscape - has understandably inflamed many people's passions and stirred up strong emotions. Sensationalist headlines such as this have not helped matters either.

This entire story is upsetting to me on several levels. Firstly, I think putting the A303 underground is, in general, a good idea, but the tunnel would need to be twice as long as the current plan put forward, and with the approaches changed so as not to impact upon any celestial alignments of great importance such as the Solstice sunrise. 

Removing the A303 from the surrounding vista would help recapture something of the wider Stonehenge "sacred landscape" from a visual perspective. I have always found the sight and noise from passing traffic on the present A303 road to be annoying. Maybe to the coach party tourist with their experience lost behind the electronic narration of their headphones it matters not, but to the rest of us who wish for something more from the full sensory experience of Stonehenge beyond adding it to our 'bucket list', the sight and sound of Tesco trucks whizzing by is obnoxious for people like me.



What really concerns me is that the magic of Stonehenge could be made toxic by a protracted, high-profile legal battle. Especially if public protests descend into police clashes and other intense pathological spectacles which take place in sight of this incredible place. Having been one of the decreasing number of people who has been allowed access into the interior of the monument, on a brisk morning when as the sun was rising over Salisbury Plain, I can assure all that Stonehenge is very much still a magical place in every aspect to this day. However, a hugely publicized 'Battle' for Stonehenge' may well seriously impact upon this loss of magic to a far greater degree than any tunnel boring machine moving deep underground off in the distance.

This is precisely what happened here in Ireland with the M3 motorway and the Hill of Tara controversy. It essentially politicized the location. Made it a magnet for all kinds of sinister nationalism by Sinn Fein and other types.

Today, you can't even see the completed M3 motorway from atop the Hill of Tara without actively looking for it. The environmental impact study was more or less correct. The motorway is hidden behind woodlands and natural rises in the landscape. 

However, the Sinn Fein flag waving types are still there defiling the sacred landscape with their IRA tattoos, Glasgow Celtic shirts and gold crucifixes. Anti social behaviour such as 'knacker drinking' and various crimes are common at Tara during the summer months now. The atmosphere is one of intimidation. These anti-social elements would have never known that Tara even existed unless they were drawn, as toxic familiars of darker forces, to the location due to the massive political and media controversy caused by the motorway project. 

Tara was destroyed not by the road, but by the media sensationalism and something special was lost. With this proposed tunnel development at Stonehenge, cool heads and pragmatism is what's needed. Or you'll get EDL types arriving with crucifixes and union flags as well as every other kind of protesting tourist poisoning the magic of the place. It would be better in that case that nothing at all is done at Stonehenge.


10 Jun 2016

The Šetek: Ancestral Spirit of Bohemia

Reduced to the level of a hobgoblin by Christians, the Šetek was once an important ancestral spirit of Bohemian and some Slavic cultures. Often seen as having the personality of a mischievous little boy.

30 Apr 2016

Irish Academics Ponder their Ancestors

The above image is what the academics at the National Museum of Ireland (official illustration in the 'Celtic' wing) considered an Irishman of the past to have looked like. Apparently, ancient Irish people could produce the most spectacular craftsmanship in gold, silver and stone, but were unable to produce textiles? 

The default model of how the ancient societies of Europe are, and still continue to seen, is that of mostly wild, half-naked savages entirely obsessed with dancing rituals and little else. 

Aside from issues pertaining to hypothermia, as well as needing time and labour forces to undertake large scale agricultural and megalithic projects, this 'European savage' mentality was/is a result of applying the model of the African or Pacific Island 'savages' to the ancient Europeans. 

This came about due to antiquarian's initial serious studies of the European megaliths happening around the same time that Europeans began exploring the interior of sub-Saharan Africa as well as forays into Polynesia and the South Pacific.

Nothing Has Changed...

29 Apr 2016

Ogham and the 'Charged' Writing

Ogham Stones are upright standing stones containing the earliest known indigenous Irish alphabet. Of unknown, (fully determinable) antiquity, this alphabet represents the earliest form of the Irish language. Their use continued well into the Christian era. Today, there are over four hundred surviving Ogham Stones with inscription in Ireland, as well as some examples in Britain (mainly Wales). The origin of the term 'Ogham' (pronounced 'om') is from the Irish “og-úaim” meaning 'cut with a sharp point'. This is also the same origin of the term 'Rune' which suggests something of an emotionality given to the markings as they were made. A kind of a 'magical' charging of the inscription rather than just recording a line of text.

This is a close up I took of an example in the National Museum of Ireland which illustrates the 'charged' nature of the incisions.