|Knocknarea dominates the landscape of its peninsula gloriously. We were camping at Strandhill and by the time we had been there for 3 days I was itching to climb it.
I had read about the old tradition of taking stones from Maeve's Tomb at the top, and how the local council were trying to encourage a new tradition of ADDING stones to the tomb instead, and I was mightily tempted to carry a large stone all the way up the hill form the beach at Strandhill.
In the event my father joined me in the climb and time constraints led to our driving half the distance and then walking from the car park at the base of the steep climb up its south east side.
The path is treacherously rough, a REAL path I prefer to call it, and you really felt you had earned reaching the top. From there it is a short easy walk to Maeve's Tomb, which looks close up distressingly like…well a pile of stones. But then again I'm from a neck of the woods where we don't have that much stone to pile up, so that was probably just me.
The real interest is on top of Maeve's Tomb, where there is another small cairn. In my photo of this all the ground around it is the top of the Tomb, which is a lot grassier than one expects. From the top you can also see words spelt out in the heathland all around the Tomb with rocks from it, presumably for good luck or in remembrance of those passed. Okay, so this does involve taking stones from the Tomb, but it was very touching to see nevertheless.
We added our stones from Strandhill beach to the cairn and it felt a great honour to add to the building of an ancient site. I did my druid thing and honoured the site with a libation of water, then we enjoyed the view, which is incredible.
From Maeve's Tomb we walked northwest to the edge of Knocknarea, to look down on Strandhill where we were staying. Wonderful views.
Returning to the Tomb I went to sit on the cairn at the top again. This time I was attacked by wasps, which I took to be a message to leave!
This post appears as part of the weblog entry Sligo and Meath
Posted by Cursuswalker
11th October 2003ce