She’s a Keeper!

Yes, she is. But the keep at Trim Castle is pretty cool too!

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We ate dinner at a randomly selected restaurant, and have finally decided that our initial assumption –that European restaurants wouldn’t serve as big of portions as we tend to find in American restaurants– just isn’t true. Here, Carolyn begins devouring an enormous dish of beef and Guinness stew, along with a huge plate of vegetables. So far, while we haven’t visited that many restaurants because we like to travel on the cheap and buy food at the grocery store and eat it at home, the ones we have visited have plied us with enough food to keep us fat & happy. This isn’t a weight-losing expedition boy howdy.

Today we put on our time travelers cloaks and visited some very, very old things. In fact, we visited the oldest manmade structure ever found on earth.

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The place is called Bru na Boinne, and dates back to before the Pyramids in Egypt, built some 5,000 years ago. It was amazing to stand inside this thing and see the layers of stones laid with amazing precision and engineering. They moved stones weighing over ten tons from 50 miles away or more. And then piled them on top of each other to create a room, that even after 5,000 years, hasn’t allowed a single drop of water to seep through.

It’s basically a huge mound on top of a cliff that overlooks the countryside about as far as you can see. The outside was rebuilt using the same stones and style in which it had originally been built, but inside, virtually nothing has been changed.

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This is the wall on the outside… layer upon layer of rocks that were originally hauled from miles and miles away.

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This is the entrance. Most of these prehistoric “passage tombs” have these big rocks in front of them, meaning the ancients had to scramble over the rock just to get it. The circular designs etched into the rocks are a mystery to everyone. In fact, no one even knows what these mounds were really used for.

The window above the door was built solely to allow the sun’s rays to shine into the room at the winter solstice. For five days surrounding the solstice, as the sun rises, it illuminates the room for about 15 minutes. Something right out of Indiana Jones.

 

The area around the mound consists of beautiful countryside. So peaceful and green.

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They wouldn’t allow you to take pictures inside, but here’s one from the internet. It consists of a very narrow passageway; at one point, you have to turn sideways to get through. And then you enter a small room, with three smaller alcoves surrounding it. One has a bowl-shaped rock in it, another a flat rock, another, not much of anything. No one really knows what these mounds were used for; they found a smattering of human bones here and there but they may not have been tombs. It’s simply a mystery… but again, to stand in the oldest structure man has ever found on this planet… that was something special!

From there, we drove to the town of Trim, which has a well-preserved castle with a Keep in the middle of it. We went on a tour throughout, presented by a lively Irish lass who made it very entertaining.

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This is the keep… our tour took us to the very top.

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And this is the house where Jonathan Swift lived, the author of Gulliver’s Travels. This was a view from atop the keep.

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And here is the slide show of the keep and grounds. We finished up the day with that hearty dinner, with more plans set for tomorrow!

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