Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Bweeng/Na Boinn, wedge tomb/tuama Dingeach

Not far from the tiny village of Bweeng, on the eastern hills of the Boggeragh mountain range is this wedge tomb. The tomb rests on the north slope of a little hill about 260 metres high, which has the river Glashaboy/An Ghlaise Bhuí just north of it, and the stream Cummeen/An Coimín to the south of it. Gazing from the tomb east you can see the glens softly undulating and small meadows stretching out between it and the Nagles hills in the east and looking north and west you are greeted with views of large lumps rising up which are Boggeraghs. According to Ó Donaill the name 'na Boinn' (which Bweeng comes from) is the plural of Bonn which is sole, so my guess is the name would translate as "the soles", perhaps suggesting the soles of the mountains which this hill marks the eastern side of or maybe that a part of this area is shaped like the sole of a foot.

 The Tomb is situated on a country road which if you were coming from the north is the last turning on the R619 before you come into the town of Bweeng. You can see it clearly from the country road, its essentially two fields up on a small dirt track beside a house on the left hand side. The tomb is quite huge actually, making me think perhaps its related to the nearish 'Labbacallee wedge tomb' which is further north near Glanworth. Unfortunately while the northern part of the tomb is still erect, the southern part has collapsed and been covered in grass, making it lopsided, but judging by what is there, it must have been truly impressive sight in its day. As said previously the views from this tomb both East, West and North are great but the views south are obstructed by the Hill it is on, so perhaps it is the other directions which are the focus of this tomb.

Perspective plays a big part in how we view the landscape we inhabit, a persons age, gender, professional or their social position all alter the way they view the landscape, as some have said, there is never one landscape but many. One must remember when viewing landscape we are continually changing it, by just looking we alter and re-interpret it, it is never just left alone, both of these points were as true back in prehistoric times as it is now. When we put something before us in nature, whatever is, like the jar in Wallace Stevens poem 'Anecdote of the Jar', it transforms the wilderness around it, even tames  it, it makes the vastness of nature compact and more easily understandable to us. Perhaps the same perspective was what the megalithic builders were doing, by placing a tomb in nature, they were taming it, transforming it. Just as a path or the main subject in a painting focuses the eye, so too does a megalithic monument. It is ideas like these which is one of the more interesting aspects of Megalithic culture, even though we can never truly divorce ourselves from our own time and culture, I believe these people have the most to teach us in the trying, as they are the most different, most alien from us. 

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