friday meant another trip out around the burren with gordon! in the morning he lectured about a bunch of prehistoric sites and all sorts of people who used to live in ireland. in the afternoon we went out to visit a bunch of neolithic and mesolithic tombs. some (like poulnabrone) are well-known among the tourists, but most of them remain pretty far off the beaten path - quite literally. visiting most of them meant long trecks through cow pastures, climbing up hills and over stone walls, and very carefully traversing the grass-covered rocks lest someone slip in up to their knee and sprain an ankle (or worse!).
poulnabrone was first on the list, being closest to ballyvaughan. did you know that this tomb is older than the pyramids? it's been around since about 4200BC - crazy! the remains of about 30 people were excavated from underneath, the oldest being around 40 years old at the time of death, but most were in their mid-twenties. fittingly, 'poulnabrone' means 'hole of sorrows.'
gordon really loves pointing at things.
after poulnabrone we went to pounawack, which might not look like much more than a big pile of stones, but it was pretty exciting! we had to go up this really steep hill and cut through a bunch of fields to get there. and, of course, lots and lots of people buried underneath...
on the same hill not too far away was this little underground hovel. it was actually a lot bigger inside that i guess it would be, and it was pretty cool to climb around in there for a while. we could go into one entrance that gordon said would have been used as a sort of cooler room for food (an ancient fridge!) and squeeze through this tiiiiiny square opening into another, more open section.
here's another wedge tomb! gordon said that when this was found in the 1880's there was entire family living inside.
below is parknabinnia, yet another wedge tomb. originally this rectangular structure would have been completely hidden under a huge pile of stones radiating outwards into a circle. the stones were pillaged a long, long time ago by farmers for use in building walls, so now what remains of most wedge tombs is just this inner structure.