OK reader, we’re going to ask you to join us on a journey and imagine.
Imagine you had wings. Imagine feeling a friendly gust of wind wrap round you and carry you high into the fresh air. Imagine dipping, diving and swooping over the crumpled green quilt of County Meath countryside. Then you spy something…
Popping up out of that blanket of green like a mole’s backyard is the mysterious and ancient site of Knowth. Birds flying overhead around five thousand years ago would have spotted groups of busy druids bustling about here digging tombs and erecting stones to create the bucolic memorial that lies below you now. You circle for a moment, surveying the scene of the great mound and her 18 smaller grassy-knolled offspring.
But there’s no time to dally, we have more to see! Grab the next breeze and skirt the river Boyne, swinging round over Dowth – the Fairy Mound of Darkness where ancient graffiti is illuminated by the sun’s winter rays.
On we fly, veering southwest on a gust of wind to where a grass and white stone oddity will pop out of the landscape like an unpicked mushroom. Swoop a little closer and you’ll notice that’s no mushroom: that’s Newgrange – the grand Dame of Neolithic structures, where cloaked and bearded druids engineered the world’s first eco-friendly lightshow!
Nip by here on the shortest day of the year and watch the big bold sun shine its rays through the intrinsically structured system of passages that were created to bathe the centre chamber in resplendent light. Not bad engineering for chaps working around 3,000BC, eh?
Now, while lighting has progressed leaps and bounds since then, sadly us humans can still only fly with the aid of machinery. So all we can do for now is covet the aerial views that set themselves out before Ruby the Peregrin Falcon, as she sweeps in from the sky to land unerringly on the leather-clad hand of her master Brian McCann.
The charming Newgrange falconer can introduce you to a host of catwalk models from the winged world: cute and cuddly Bart, the (female) barn owl; majestic Odin, the Golden Eagle; and Zena the Harrier Falcon – and don’t they all just love taking in the sights!
Hey, maybe in another five thousand years us humans will have learnt how to fly without the aid of machines. But for now, although we can’t get a bird’s eye view quite like Ruby’s, it’s still a spectacular journey, don’t you think?
Views are kind of our thing here on the island of Ireland. You’ll find that the images speak for themselves
Our east coast is quite the historical treasure trove so be prepared to step back in time!