|Had a crap day in work so needed some megalithic healing. Got home and got the dog and decided to go to Annacarney sweat lodge. I know some guys that organise sweat lodges and though I've never given it a go I've always been curious. Headed up the Ballinascorney direction and on an impulse diverted over to Seefin. I'd said that I was going to return here and I wanted to check Seefingan. Twas getting late but I headed up.
Seefin Hill is a challenge for one so unfit as me. The views are breathtaking once you get above the treeline about half way up. This is where the rocks start to get really interesting too. I really don't know about some of this stuff I see. There are a few places on the way up that look to have been manipulated by humans, modern or ancient. There's a particular spot that has many stones that seem to have been worked and though it could be just a rubble fall I'll post a few of the shots later. I didn't really check the place out until the way down as I was in such a hurry to get up.
Seefin Hill passage tomb was quiet and as beautiful as ever but I didn't stick around.
I headed for Seefingan.
You could approach Seefingan from an alternative route to Seefin, but why would you want to? Seefin Hill ought to be your first stop if you're heading this way. From Seefin Hill passage tomb the distance across to the cairn on Seefingan looks deceptively short. Don't be fooled: it's quite a hike. And whereas the ascent to Seefin is relatively dry, the dip and the ascent across to Seefingan was boggy the day I was there on the last day of May 2006.
My anticipation at what I was going to encounter on Seefingan was heightened as I approached and saw the cairn up close for the first time. It's slightly larger that the tomb on Seefin and I thought that there must be a passage and a chamber, but sadly no, there isn't. It's still impressive, with amazing views across the city towards Howth. So what was it's purpose? (Pure speculation warning) Sitting there atop the hill it seemed to mirror Howth peninsula way in the distance, as if its builders were paying homage. Others have noticed the significance of Howth before and in my travels around some of the other sites near here I have tended to agree.
I had a very short time up here as light was fading fast and I didn't want to be caught heading down the mountain in the dark. There is an indentation on the east side of the cairn that looks like it could have been a passage entrance, though I guess this is just wishful thinking. There are quite a few quartz boulders peppered about the cairn surface and below. The modern pillar stone atop the cairn was quite strange and could signify the limit of the army rifle range that is in the valley below. (On the day I went up I could hear firing, so be warned). Overall, a bit of a disappointment, especially after Seefin, but worth the extra slog nonetheless.
There are 3 hills around here with megalithic significance. I met some hill-walkers and they were on a tour of the 3: Seahan (648 metres), Seefingan (724 m) and Seefin (621m). If you had an afternoon and were feeling energetic, this could be an ideal way to work off some pounds. (If you start at Seahan you would need to take in Corrig mountain (618 m) on your way across to Seefingan.)
Leaving Seefingan as the sun was going down, the downhill march back across to Seefin was a relief after all the climbing. I spent about 20 minutes in and around the tomb. The easy and free access to the tomb is great. I haven't brought a torch with me the two times I've been up here but the revelations of the camera flash are always a surprise. Some of the colours of the stones in the passage are breathtakingly gorgeous. The rubble that covers the floor of the chamber is a shame (well, it's the roof collapse itself and maybe not that shameful after all). Standing above the hole in the roof I've been tempted to start my own little excavation to clear it out. Ought this place be renovated? Would that popularise it and destroy the precious ambience? So many questions.
The sun was really heading down now and I tried to get some good shots on the humble 2.1 ixus. There was a thin line of cloud a few degrees above the horizon line as she dropped inexorably down and this seemed to split the light pouring onto Seefin. The beauty of the stones with the low sunlight on them is something that I'd like to see again and again.
I'm curious about all the stones that surround the cairn as it looks like there may have been a circle here once like the one at Newgrange. In fact there are a pair of stones on the direct opposite side to the tomb entrance that seem to mirror the entrance stones themselves. Hmmmmm. All that remained after all this energy and thought was to head back down and try and check out what I had seen on the way up. About 150 metres to 200 metres below the tomb on the path that is beside the firing range is a large collection of stones that have many markings and appearances of having been placed there.
There's one in particular that has that thin layer of quartz down its side so beloved of the tomb builders. Maybe there's more megalithic goings on on Seefin than just the awesome portal tomb.