Monday, August 10

NCT Test to Ancient Rathra to Lunasadh with a Friend

6th August, not only the day before Lunasadh Cross Quarter time but also time for my car's NCT test. The only availability was at Castlerea.

Well, to not blog on boring ol' NCT, I'll just say the car passed.

I love the little park by the NCT depot.

An Ivy wall ...


A river weir ...


and its controls ...


Trees in a stone circle, which I am sure is a modern decorative folly ...


Was this once an estate? A pathway once to somewhere ...


Crossing the bridge looks pretty downstream ...


and a beautiful free flowing mature oak tree here ...


Being a warm sunny afternoon I wanted to do more, so I headed out of Castlerea town, SE, to a multi henge ancient Bronze Age remains that still looks very grand.

Known as Rathra, a 'quadvallate' ceremonial site, they say.

I will post a map of its location below.

Here's a view from the road, and there is fairly solid parking for two cars.


Very modestly promoted ...


Getting up close to a way in. No mud here so wellies not needed ...


And here I enter ...


Henge divisions are more dramatic than at Cormac's House at Tara ...


and those at Tlachtga ...




Then there is this mysterious straight ancient wall that cuts right through ...


Incredible collection of wild flowers here. A substantial blog could be done on those alone by Airmid following herbalists :-) 


What is this one, Catchfly? If so, it's quite rare in Ireland.


Not really a home remedy but some herbalists may use it within a constipation relieving formula, but it is reactive. I believe it may be poisonous to dogs, but I think they sniff and avoid it anyway.

Sort of in the middle is the 'more recent' Iron Age fortress thingy, or maybe burial area. The rest is Bronze Age.


I spent some time here, on this Iron Age construction, bathing in the warm sun, then answered a sequence of messages that came through. Signal is good here.

It was ironic that four messages in a row were from spiritual and pilgrimage tour leaders starting to plan their Ireland visits next year. There were two more checking up on arrangements for this year too.

This is one of those sites that if you are a few metres away there are no views, but once on the site the 360 degrees view is breathtaking.

From this Iron Age part I am looking at Nephin in the haze ...


and also The Reek (Croagh Patrick) in the haze ...


and I almost forgot about our local Céis Coarran ...


or perhaps this one is clearer ...


Some of the lower remains ...


Here is an aerial view of Rathra by Airview.ie, a service by local guide, Mike Croghan. From this you can make out the four circles, just, as the top one to the right of the pic is faded and outer ring at the bottom also faded.


This older black and white aerial shot is interesting ...


Both show the straight ancient wall cutting through it.

Here's the Google Map of where Rathra is ...

But do zoom out to get a better idea. ...

Take Barrack Road out of Castlerea, SE, do not turn down N60
Keep going until a crossroads where left says Tulsk 14km and Strokestown 28 km
Turn left and take the first right, a bit of an odd loopy junction with a house with an arced stone wall entrance.
Keep going awhile and eventually the road makes a steep turn right. 
Look to your right and you will clearly see Rathra, the simple sign and a place to park.



After a relaxing time and sorting out messages, I phoned Bridget Foy as I was to pass by her home on my way home. She said, yes to a quick visit

As I was leaving, here's a close up of part of the ancient straight wall that passes through here ...


Bridget said she was off out shortly so I was expecting a quick gossip exchange, gulp a cuppa and be on my way. But no, this is Lunasadh. A multitude of cheeses and crackers awaited me and first harvest basket of all kinds of goodies and Bridget shared some of those too.

The top of the bill were her amazing grapes!


So I was given some to take home that I have been munching on each day since, so sweet. The last mushy ones became a coulis sauce that I marinated fish with. Heaven.

So what was 'planned' as a tedious NCT test became a day of wonder, beauty and lovely friendship.

I believe you have to do this each time you are called to a government required duty, a tax office, a courtroom, and similar. Make sure that such a day includes some 'smell the roses' time. If you can share a joyful time with a good friend as well, there's a bonus ...

And you finish the day as one you was glad you had lived xxx


Lets have a sunset of this day to also close it well :-)