Ireland has so, so many faces and one that never ceases to intrigue me is the Ireland of thousands of years ago.
One of the places that I go to get a glimpse of this is to Kilmogue Portal Tomb (known locally as Leac on Scail Dolmen) which is 6 or 7 miles from the village of Mullinavat in Co. Kilkenny. The roads are narrow and winding, with lots of quaintness, like this building that let’s you know you’re on the right road:
The very first time I saw Leac an Scail Dolmen was fifteen years ago when my son was three. We used to go on adventures, especially historic ones that he loved, and he was well used to dolmens and the like. However, such was the size of Leac an Scail that he fled in sobbing fright.
Back there recently on a misty day, I too was overwhelmed by the both the size of this Portal Tomb and the fact that it is estimated to be 6,ooo years old.
The haunting notice which stands near the Portal Tomb tells of how it is likely it was built about 6,000 years ago for the burial of important members of the community and perhaps also to be a focal point for a group or tribe.
Interestingly, it is also noted that a cairn or low mound of stones would have covered most of the tomb, but that the capstone probably remained visible.
Somehow, this ancient site never leaves me and it seems to lend perspective to so much of the hustle and bustle and commercialisation that is associated with Christmas in the Ireland of today.