Friday, February 07, 2003


Went for a drive today with a couple of mates, out into the wilds of west Cork. First we stopped to check out Drombeg stone circle It was interesting, very powerful atmos.

From the link above: "About 40m (44yds) to the west of the circle are the remains of two stone-built prehistoric huts joined by a common doorway. The smaller has a cooking place 1.5 x 1.1m (5ft x 3ft 6in) on its eastern side; this was still in use in the 5th century AD. This prehistoric kitchen had a flagged trough in which water was boiled by dropping red-hot stones into it... 70 or more gallons of water could be boiled for almost three hours."

Call me arrogant, but I'm not at all convinced by the idea that the nearby structures were built as dwellings. For a start, they seem a bit too close to the circle itself; from what I know about this kind of thing (admittedly not a huge amount), people didn't live in very close proximity to sacred sites like this and I've got a feeling that people in this neck of the woods still pretty much nomadic and hunter-gatherery 5000 years ago. Besides which, one of the huts is built round a natural spring. For my money, natural spring + nearby stone circle = sacred well. I'm thinking these buildings would have been places of communal worship. The kitchen might have been a steamhouse, or have been used for cooking ritual meals. (All this is just the noodley theorising of someone with only a sketchy knowledge of the subject, I hasten to add.)

I like visiting these sites. There's something eerie about being in a place like that, looking at things that were created by men and women living thousands of years ago. I'm planning to look into prehistoric sites in Spain before I go out there.

Anyhow, it was a grand day out. We stopped off in Leap (pronounced Lep) and sort of commandeered a veggie'n'wholefood shop that served snacks. We had a nice spread of goat's cheese, soda-bread, oatcakes, olives and various bits and bobs, then we drove on to the coast. It was raining and cold, and I'd neglected to bring a hat, but it was still great to stand and look out over the sea. Got to admit, County Cork has some lovely veiws.

I need to do this kind of thing more. Living in London, I sort of bought into the mindset that you have to be being entertained all the time to be happy; that you have to be pubbing'n'clubbing every spare second, that somewhere a better time is being had than you're having and you have to chase after it NOW! FASTER! FASTER! And I really don't. I never have. Not planning to give up the social whirl and become a hermit just yet, y'know, but aware of the need to strike some kind of balance.

Wonder if there's a Spanish equivalent to Caeder Idris? I always wanted to do that "spend the night up there and wake up mad or a poet" thing, but I never got around to it while I was still in the UK. Hmmm.

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