Tomb of Alcad Aldai (on same page)” Meeting'

Tomb of Alcad Aldai (on same page). Illustrated London News 35 (24 September 1859): 305-06. Click on image to enlarge it.

“Among the most interesting monuments of prehistoric pagan times in Ireland are those found on and near the banks of the river Boyne, in the county of Meath, a few miles west of Drogheda. Here was the cemetery of some of the princes and chieftains of Erin at a period to which no certain date can be ascribed, but to which may be referred the half-mythical traditions of the Tuatha-dé-Danaan, the fair-haired race of strangers, valiant horsemen, singers, and harpers, and magicians, who are supposed to have conquered some part of the island, and to have established their king’s throne on the Hill of Tara. Of their protracted wars against the Femorians and the Firbolgs, whoever these invaders were: of the Fermorian King Balur, whi had one eye in the middle of his forehead and another in the back of his head, which could kill men by a glance; and of Nuada Airgeat Lamb, the king with a silver , made to replace his hand lost in the nbattle of Moyturn the lovers of romantic fables may read at their pleasure. It was probable that Meath was, in a very remote age, the abode of a warlike people, who gained a considerable ascendancy over the tribes of the adjacent parts of Ireland, and whose King may sometimes have been the head of a federal league to resist the incursions of the Danes and Norsemen.

“The sepulchral mounds, cairns, or barrows, in the neighbourhood of Dowth and Newgrange, associated with the names of King Dubhath and Achad Aldai (the name of “Dowth.” being a corruption of “Dubhath,” in the opinion of Celtic scholars) were examined by members of the Royal Irish Academy forty years ago. The Dowth mound is an immense pile of small boulder stones, in the interior of which are chambers and passages, constructed of very large blocks of stone rudely laid together, in the “dolmen” fashion of Brittany and of other Celtic examples; the first chamber, formed in the shape of a cross (though certainly not of Christian design), contained a broken stone coffin, with a few bronze or iron ornaments, and half-burnt human bones. A passage, 27 ft. long, conducts to a series of small crypts, and to a square chamber, the stones of which are sculptured with a variety of decorative, perhaps symbolical, Patterns and devices. Those shown in one of our Illustrations have engaged the study of antiquaries, with a view to ascertain their possible significance. They appear in the greatest richness and complexity on the huge stones of the interior of the great sepulchral monument at Newgrange: the carvings are of wonderfuldiversity—circles, spirals, zigzags, indentations, lozenges, and lines of dots, which some think to be a form of Ogham writing” (266)

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“Celtic Antquities of Ireland.” Illustrated London News 78 (5 March 1887): 265-66. Hathi Trust online version of a copy of the Illustrated London News in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 24 June 2021.

Last modified 26 June 2021