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Holy Hills of Ireland

8 9 skies iN the LaNdsCape holding the heavens The earliest megalithic monuments are possibly as early as 5,000 BC, at Carrowmore, Sligo, predating Irish agriculture. Two millennia later beside the river Boyne arose Br na Binne, the feasting hall of Binn, the White Cow goddess, who straddles earth and heaven, letting her Milky Way flow across the night sky while her river enriches the earth. This riverstar myth must have been a widely held Palaeolithic concept, for the Egyptian goddess Nut also arches the sky, with both the Milky Way and the Niles floods issuing from her, and other versions occur in India, China and the Americas, as is also the case with the Great Bear constellation myth. Seasonal events were clearly celebrated, as the monuments are often aligned towards dawns and sunsets of midsummer, midwinter and the equinoxes, and they appear to make a network of interrelated sites. A Knowth passage looks to Loughcrew, where others point to Tara in Meath, and Carrowmore and Carrowkeel in Sligo, while Taras also look north to Slieve Gullion and south to the Wicklow hills, whence came Br na Binnes glittering quartz. This Stone Age awe of the heavens also colours the myths. Crachan, Connachts assembly hill is named after Crochain Croidhearg, who fell from her mother the sun goddesss apron and lives in Oweynagat cave, which opens to midsummer dawn. Above Looking west at Tara towards Loughcrew. Below The entrance to New Grange, Br na Binne, as it was before excavation and reconstruction.
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