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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Misty Megaliths in Cavan Burren's Forest

There was just no knowing how this day was going to be


Bards In The Woods at Cavan's Burren megalithic forest park.
Now with new signage


New roadways ... this used to be mud


like this


Now, ET to watch over us


Some kind of automated gate,
probably operated with a smart phone 100s of km away


and wondering if people would arrive, and where do we go now as it is all so different, even compared to about 4 weeks ago when I was last here very briefly.

There had been a surprising amount of interest in this event, which I thought would be one of our events of the year, especially for curiosity value. Weather forescast was very yo-yo. On arrival a mist was falling.

Two cars arrived with people, and news that other people were waiting for us at the new visitor's centre. The road to this centre was very new too.


Empty car park, apart from us, but this is far better than the tiny car park that used to serve this forest.


Later, this car park was almost full, but I did not get pics of that.

Well here we are, and the new plaque tells us we are at 'Cavan Burren Park'


So we step inside, and a sign welcomes us ...


and I'm drawn straight to the dolmen in a spaceship


a close up of this ...


and perhaps the best overall view ...


As phone calls and texts are flying in from other car loads of people we hang about this unmanned visitors centre, interpretive centre and see what's here.

such as this pic of the Calf House Dolmen


the Giant having a very strange Leap


and the immaculate Iron Age homes,
now in the woods as stone hut circles remains.


Looks like they kept very well manicured lawns in those days.

There's even a 'build your own dolmen kit'


So when 19 adults, 4 or 5 dogs and no children had arrived, we set off up the hill into the mist


I was asked why there are no trees here. Bards In The No Woods.

Much of this area was a commercial Sitka Spruce plantation. These have been clear felled and cleared now. Where this path is now was dense forestry with no path no long ago. Future planting is going to be of native trees and a focus on leisure and tourism way ahead of commercial forestry.

In this area, Juniper trees are being planted in response to archeaologists discovering that Juniper was quite a common tree here at the time these megalithic structures were built here.

Now we are almost at our first ancient site, this afternoon.


which is ...


Being at the highest point of this entire Forest Park the views here are usually quite stunning beyond this site, but here is the structure as it is today/


Here's one scene from an earlier visit without mists, and near sunset too


and one scene of when forest surrounded here


One concern is the Round Cairn, can you see it beyond the dolmen stones here, that pile of stones with grass over?


... has now gone !!!

Health and safety reasons I suppose.

This was the least visited ancient site in the forest to be visited. Now it is the nearest to the visitor's centre, so will be the most visited.

Here we shared several poems from the various poets among us such as
Bee and Sinead. I read Ur The Heather from Ogma's Tale Of The Trees
and at the end here is everyone singing Wild Mountain Thyme,
even while taking snaps and sending texts.


On the way down from there, and we are at a viewpoint :-)


Going straight to the Calf House Dolmen was a magnet,
but Bee was rightfully directing us to other nearby less obvious
fascinating sites that most visitors will miss.

This first is showing us some of the ancient art on stones in a ring here.


Does this look like a wolf with mouth open here :-)


Christmas tree in a rock here


There's a Boulder Burial place here and a spring, a well, where I shared Coll The Hazel and every dog one by one jumped in for its own baptism.


Ok, Calf House Dolmen now.


I noticed that most visitors here walk to the Tullygobban dolmen, then down to this dolmen, and walk back to the interpretative centre, and that's their visit. So much more is missed.

Jan read us a story from here, YouTube version following soon.


At this point the group split into two.

Bee led those who wanted a leisurely walk to places near the Interpretaive centre and I led the others on the more gruelling adventure walk.

You can guess which one the dogs chose ...


and some humans to


and this is what the path becomes


so some dance a ritual dance for joy when we get to this dolmen


and others try to align to it


but I miss the trees that were once here


at this quite famous Giant's Grave


and here's a summer pic from a couple of years ago


side view today, remember the spaceship?


Ancient art cup marks here, but the white leeching
seems to be taking over fast here


A closer up view of a couple of them


Now to explore the Giant's Leap below this dolmen, wedge tomb, which was once a very tricky place to come to, but now made easier with a stepped path. I think this is one of the loveliest areas of this forest park.

The zig zag path looking upwards,


There are various caves down here


At the bottom, up the other side again ... and we can join in the picnic !!!


Tony Cuckson has been entertaining with his songs


and the food is good, cake very popular


salads too


Perhaps the least scenic picnic place we have ever used but it was out of the midges, and also under cover which various folks found to be very handy. Plus there are bathrooms/toilets here too.


After the feast, many people decided to leave

but some of us hardy ones continued to what is my own favourite site here.

There used to be a sign to it here ...


but all signs to where we are going have completely vanished, so this is now a 'secret' ancient site.

and here it is


getting closer


Once well signposted as a 'cairn dolmen


and to get even closer


I reflect on some good time visits here, as I have been here many times.

with some people from the other end of the planet


and others from the other side of the forest here


It was evening time now, and the midges were very hungry.

The mist was now gone, even some sun coming out,
but we had a wonderful afternoon with the best company
and the best turnout for Bards In The Woods this year.

Let the joy and popularity of this spread.

2 comments :

  1. It was my first bard in the woods experience,but it certainly won't be the last...Lough key forest park,can't wait.

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks Denise, glad you could be there. Lough Key Forest will be a different experience but indeed a very good craic :-)

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