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Last week, I reviewed the film W./E. about Wallis Simpson and the abdication of King Edward VIII, among other things. Heather reviewed a novel that looks at women’s roles in World War I, Wartime with the Tram Girls.
Ireland is home to about twenty clusters of Neolithic passage tombs. Archeologists have discovered solar alignments at several of them, including Newgrange at sunrise on the winter solstice and Cairn T in the Loughcrew Cairns at sunrise on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.
I visited Newgrange during my visit to Ireland in 2012 and enjoyed the special video access at the winter solstice in December. Due to COVID, only cameras were allowed in the chamber so the whole world got to see sunlight move down the passage to the back wall of the chamber.
For this weekend’s spring equinox, I’m interested in what happens at Loughcrew. Both Newgrange and Loughcrew are in County Meath, north of Dublin. Loughgrew is less than an hour’s drive from Newgrange, almost directly west.
The cluster of over twenty Loughgrew tombs date to the 4th millenium BCE, around the same time that the Newgrange tomb was built.
Cairn T is the primary monument at Loughgrew and the one where a solar alignment was discovered in 1980. The back stone of the chamber is covered with petroglyphs, some of which suggest the sun. This is the wall that is illuminated for 50 minutes at sunrise on the equinoxes.
The Loughcrew site is closed due to COVID, but the interior of Cairn T is currently closed, anyway, due to structural concerns.
Fortunately, we have a video from the Spring Equinox 2005, with photos, diagrams, and the 50-minute illumination sped up to less than two minutes.
I’ll watch this again tomorrow morning to start my spring equinox off with a bit of ancient mystery.
How will you observe our equal day and night and the beginning of spring?