Monday, 24 February 2020

Four Knocks

Excavated in the early 1950's Four Knocks near Ardcath in County Meath is a neolithic passage tomb approximately 5000 years old. 
It is roughly 17 kilometres south of Newgrange and is a wonderful place to visit.

Four Knocks

Inside the tumulus are several examples of outstanding neolithic rock art with one piece of art in particular believed to represent the carving of a human face. 
This is the only known representation of a human face from that period in Ireland.

Four Knocks

Entrance to Four Knocks is free.
The tomb has a locked and sealed door but arrangements can be made to collect the key to the passage tomb in advance. Phone the White's residence which is located nearby and they will facilitate you and my thanks are due to them for that as well.

(Leave a €20 deposit until you bring the key back.)
 (+353 01-8354722 or +353 086-63555609 as of 2020.)

Four Knocks

I would recommend bringing a torch along as well so that you can have a good look at the rock art inside.

Four Knocks

The tomb consists of a short passage and a large central chamber which is divided into three burial recess's in a cruciform shape.

Four Knocks

The large central chamber is unusual for a passage tomb in Ireland merely by virtue of its sheer size and volume.
It is believed that perhaps the roof of the chamber was sealed with wood and hides rather than the usual cairns and mounds of rocks placed above corbelling and often used in passage tomb roofs. 
It has also been suggested that perhaps it never had a roof at all.

Four Knocks

Located nearby are several burial sites, barrows, and cists which demonstrates the area's continuous use into the bronze age and beyond. 
There is no access to these sites though it is enough to know they are nearby.
Four Knocks

Today the passage tomb roof is a concrete sarcophagus type structure which helps protect it from damage by the elements and weathering. 

Because the chamber is so large it is difficult to believe that it would have had a corbelled stone roof of the type which are normally seen in passage tombs and this along with markings suggesting a central wooden post in the chamber seem to be indicative of some other form of roof covering having been used at the time of its initial construction, if indeed it were roofed at all.

Four Knocks

Some of the pleasure in visiting a place like Four Knocks lies in the simple fact of the peace and tranquility to be found there.

It isn't on a big tour route and so I don't imagine there will be much of a crowd when you visit, if indeed anyone else at all. 
Four Knocks is the anglicized form of Na Fuarchnoic - The cold hills.
Four Knocks

Discovered at Four Knocks were both cremated and non cremated (inhumations) human remains and various votive funerary items including beads and pendants. The different methods of burial may suggest Four Knocks was in continuous use as a place of burial for an extended period.

There are several suggestions as to the relevance of the various rock art carvings and their possible relationship to various stars and astronomical bodies. 
 Suggestion is all they can be as it is nigh on impossible to definitively state their meanings or interpretations at the time of their carving 5000 years ago or more. 

Mind you it's nice to try to imagine just what a neolithic artist was thinking although he or she was carving whatever the boss told them to carve I should imagine. Artistic license hadn't been invented yet I shouldn't think..

What is in no doubt is that neolithic farmers were incredibly complex in their belief systems and no doubt used these systems and beliefs to bind and build Ireland's first comprehensive large scale settlements and farming communities. 

Little did they realise they were laying the groundwork for the Common Agricultural Policy of 1962 !  

Four Knocks

Four Knocks ........ 5000 years of history for free.

Co-ordinates : 
53°35'44.8"N 6°19'34.8"W
53.595780, -6.326345

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Some Laois photographs.

I have barely been out on the roads or offroad for that matter in Jan/Feb. Now it looks as though I've caught another chest infection.
 The last chest infection put me off the bike for almost 2 months but hopefully this will clear up a bit faster. People seem to be spluttering and coughing everywhere at the moment.

 So because I've been using an indoor trainer and a power metre instead of being outside in the real world I've done a "lazy mans load" again and I'll just drop a few photos from around Laois into this short post.

Keep the wheels turning. 

Ballaghmore Castle, Laois. There's a Sheela na Gig on the outside walls.

Giants Grave, Cadamstown, Offaly. Fallen megalithic burial monument. Not quite Laois but close enough to the Laois border.

Poets Cottage, Camross, Laois.

One of the many medieval and early christian crosses and slabs at Clonenagh, Mountrath, Laois.

Fiddlers Rock Standing Stone, Glenafelly, Slieve Bloom mountains... Close enough to Laois for inclusion.

Saint Marks Church of Ireland replete with beautiful Round Tower style bell tower, Borris in Ossory, Laois.

1840's and medieval Church's at Newtown Skirk, Laois.

Portnahinch, Laois. 1600-1700's Church ruin.

Henry Grattan, Irish Parliamentarian buried at Westminister Abbey, London. Included here as his home was Moyanna in Laois where he wanted to be buried originally.