Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Lackaduv Wedge Tomb/Leaca Dubh Tuama Dingeach

"The sídh or gods that dwell in the earth"

The above is an excerpt from a 7th century biography on St Patrick, it refers to the Carns, heaps or mounds of stones that often have tombs inside like the one above. Sídh is the name given to the homes of the gods but eventually became synonymous with the gods themselves, these were the old gods, known also as the Tuatha De Danann. According to myth when the Gaels first came from Spain they fought these gods of Ireland in a huge battle at Tailtiú. But while the Gaels won, the old gods still had their magic and so used it to poison the land and so starving the Gael into a negotiated peace. In the ensuing treaty the country was divided in two, the upper half went to the Gael or man and the lower half went to the Gods. While christianity eventually changed the beliefs of the Irish the faith still lingered on and with time these old gods became more mystical creatures, what we know today as fairys.

Off the regional road  R582 from Macroom, there is a small flat slopping hill 303 metres high, this is where the above monument lies, it is the slope which gives the monument it's name, 'Lackaduv', coming from the Irish 'An Leaca Dhubh' meaning the black hillside. This monument is up the hill from another wedge tomb I previously drew, Scrahanard, in this region nearly every slope has a tomb on it, with several on the slopes facing this one. The views from here are truly impressive; to the west you get the start of the Derrysnasaggart mountains, to the east you can see  the Burren mountain jutting out of the mist at the base of the Boggeragh mountain range, to the south are the plains and glens below. These plains give the main settlements of the area their names, Macroom from Maigh Chromtha (plain of the crooked ford) and Clondrohid from Cluain Droichead (Plain or meadow of the bridge).

Stone is one of the oldest forms to exist on earth, ancient and immortal, its mindblowing to look at the land through the eyes of stone. Stone which has been witness to millions and millions of years. Perhaps it is a twinkling of this which lead the early farmers to make their monuments from this material. These monuments may represent their sense of place, their understanding of land and their relationship to it. Perhaps it is one closeness, that the megalithic builders were often the first farmers, the first that started to live away from the natural land towards a landscape of their creation. That this break from the land is what they were symbolising with their monuments, monuments built looking back at their previous existences. Perhaps this was still very fresh, so their connection to the land was much stronger. If they came from elsewhere they would certainly met the previous inhabitants of this land wondering around in the wilds hunting and fishing, if not then they were those same people adapting new techniques of living.Whatever the case maybe, it seems to me that these monuments represent a closeness to nature, often they are covered over with a cairn, burying them inside nature. Even if they are not, they are often built with the landscape in mind, making the landscape their cathedral or house of worshop, both of which are not surprising from a people not that far removed from nature.

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