Sunrise at Listoghil

Listoghil is tomb 51 at the Carrowmore Megalithic complex. Mention in past histories list the number of monuments at 200. Now less than 50, these monuments are gathering agreement among archaeologists as the oldest stone monuments constructed on the island. I recently met a family from Texas out there as well as 4 Dutch people, wandering around on a Saturday. The place was closed so no information was available. I found this amazing and was delighted to talk about the monuments (as much as I knew). Without the little I knew they would have wandered about and not have felt an impact.

I have heard that the vast majority of the tombs are oriented, not on a sunrise, but on Listoghil. Listoghil itself has been dated as a thousand years younger than some of the other tombs. Takes a lot to figure out the facts, let alone the theories.

Lstoghil from the top edge of the reconstructed cairn

Lstoghil from the top edge of the reconstructed cairn

The original Listoghil tomb inside the new cairn

The original Listoghil tomb inside the new cairn

This should show the avenue into the reconstruced cairn.

This should show the avenue into the reconstructed cairn.

The last picture is typical. You wait for a good shot with a clear lineup and out of nowhere someone jumps in. Happens quite often. Anyway, Listoghil was a cairned monument that had suffered substantial robout (theft of stones). Someone saw fit to raise a modern cairn like structure around the monument in the noughtes. I have heard “chamber of horrors, caged animal and Disneyland archaeology”. It is up to the person who visits to judge. The avenue is along the astro alignment so the sunrise still shines into the tomb or monument. The alignment is on a cross quarter day. These are the four festival points, Beltaine, Imbolc, Samhain and Lughnasadh – February, May, August and November. Samhain was the alignment we went to – sunrise was at 7.45am. Samhain is the time of the dead – the original Halloween type of thing. It was very early and very cold. I heard one lady mention it was so early she had left Micks breakfast on page 43 of the cookbook so she could be at the monument and didn’t miss anything.

Seconds to go.

Seconds to go.

Waiting

Waiting

Steady stream gathering

Steady stream gathering

Go in or stay out?

Go in or stay out?

Cold, but good spirits

Cold, but good spirits

Guessed there was over 100 people there, just curious and eager to hear from an archaeologist who was going to talk people through it. Nothing like the drumming, candles and chanting at a previous astro event.

Sunrise

Sunrise

And sunrise…… you have to admire the building of those people all those years ago – perhaps 6/7 thousand years ago, depending who you believe or need to agree with. For me it was the people there – after all that time people still gathered for the sunrise. The group I went with were absolutely class and helped make the morning. Well would you feel a wee bit daft standing there on your own in a field with stone constructions? For me, the crowd and the sunrise was more than the science and the sunrise. Cloud rapidly covered the horizon, but it didn’t spoil it a bit. Siobhans flask of hot toddies and the craic with Rory, Alan, Siobhan and Sinead made it more memorable again.

Just a note, all pictures were taken before sunrise by my inexperienced hand. The light gather in each makes some seem brighter or darker. Siobhan kindly lent me her camera as I had left mine charging at home (so I wouldn’t run out of power). The camera was better than I was.

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6 Comments

Filed under Books and their home.

6 responses to “Sunrise at Listoghil

  1. Sunrise and sunset can be magical whenever and wherever they are viewed but I always love the thought that divided by space or time someone somewhere will have either stood in the same spot or watched the same moment you have just witnessed

    • 10000 times it has happened, at least. Listoghil was dated to 3000BC, but the sun comes back from the winter side for Imbolc in late February – the fertility festival I believe. So twice a year for 5000 years. Thank you for the comment, it was good to read and always good to see an interest.

  2. I see me in a couple of those pics!

  3. Archaeologist extraordinaire

    You fools should have left the god damned Listoghil tomb alone, you ignorant bastards. Why did you disturb it? Curses on you.

    • Thank you for your comment. I didn’t know any god who damned the monument. Nor did I know it was a tomb. Nor does anyone else for sure. I do know it was a fort for young boys in the 1950s to capture and shoot imagined enemies out of. With you on the ignorance there. For that matter I don’t even know your name – but your moniker needs to be earned. I would be impressed if you could provide me with the name of any archaeologist involved with what was done to Listoghil – as I know of none who were. The responsibility for those actions lie at the feet of the legal guardians of the monuments. I am as responsible for changes there as I was for the sunrise. I wish you well, but rant in ignorance elsewhere please.

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