Essay on Pre-Christian Ireland: the Flood, the Newgrange and the Visit of Caesar
Dating back to the earliest remains of the human habitations in Ireland, it’s always important to mention that pre-Christian country is associated with early tribes, starting from the very Stone Age and ending up with the first Christian days. The strangest Irish pre-Christian tribe was the so-called Tuatha de Danann. It was the tribe spoken of as strong magicians, who were usually associated with Fairy Folk, or the Sidhe, typically recorded in the range of mystical tales available even nowadays. But whoever and wherever these pre-Christian Irish settlers were, they have definitely left unbelievable legacy of court cairns, astonishing megalithic tombs that can be found all over the country. They are particularly focused in the River Boyne valley.
One of the most incredible and interesting stories of pre-historic visitors to the country is the one that is related to the period of mere forty days before a well-known Great Flood. Some of the Annals include information about Ceasair’s visit to Ireland. The grand-daughter of biblical Noah was accompanied by fifty women and three men while her expedition to the country. The names of the men are also mentioned in the historical Annals – Ladhram, Bith and Fintain. It is known that Ladhram died in Ard-Ladhram and that is when the place got its name. It was the first death of the new-comers in the country.
Although the time of the pre-Christian tribes has gone, they left remains of grandiose monuments. A great example of the former glory – Newgrange – is a pre-Christian monument located in County Meath, in about one kilometer from the River Boyne. Built in the Neolithic period, the Newgrange is older than good old Stonehenge and what is more interesting, it is far older than famous pyramids in Egypt.
There are numerous debates regarding who built the Newgrange and with what purpose. A lot of archeologists truly believe that Newgrange has certain connections with religion, either as a spot of some sort of astronomical events or a place of worship. According to the researches performed by archeologist Michael J. O’Kelly, the monument mentioned above was related to the nearby Dowth and Knowth, as well as that the very building was the living expression of megalithic religion powerful force of aggrandizement.
The archeologist also believed that the monument, as well as a great number of the other passage tombs that were built on the country’s territory during the Neolithic era, served as some kind of evidence for the religion, where the dead was the centre of all beliefs. O’Kelly stated that the very ‘cult of the dead’ was just one of the typical aspects of European Neolithic religion; while the other monument displayed the other forms of religious beliefs that were not dead-oriented, but rather solar.