Friday, 15 July 2016

Rathcroghan and Tulsk

The team had an amazing day at Rathcroghan and Oweynagat (Cave of the Cats) this year at Tulsk, despite the cold and rain!

Hiking up the ceremonial mounds, and learning all about the geophysics that were involved to flesh out the story of the landscape, gave us a greater appreciation for our own work in the neighboring town of Ballintober. It was even more impressive connecting the archaeology to the story of the Tá½±in saga. Connecting these separate parts into a narrative about the culture, history, and land is a main part of this field school and we were all grateful for the opportunity to visit and learn more about this part of Irish history.

The Cave of the Cats was a highlight for our students, because how often do we get to climb into a sacred cave? It was also a treat for returning staff, who enjoyed it last season. You almost seemed to get baptized in the cave’s mud and are almost a new person. Imagining how peoples of the past made their way down, and what they saw, is an amazing exercise in trying to understand about our ancestors. Students wondered if they could come back and meditate for an hour or so in the cave, since it was so quiet, peaceful, and calming.

Our group also was able to have an amazing lunch at the Tulsk visitor center. We were treated to hot soup, sandwiches, and crisps (chips to us Americans!). A highlight for this writer was sitting in the video screening room in the dark listening to the narrative while eating lunch. It was very much like a campfire trip all warm and cozy while the rain came down outside.

Students also had great fun in the gift shop, many of which picked up gifts for people back home, as well as stocking up on books for their own research interests for the project and other areas.
We would like to thank everyone at the Tulsk Visitor Center for their hospitality in making this field trip such a success this year. Thank you also to our directors for planning this trip for us!

Joanna MS

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