After the show (which was well-done) we walked out onto the hill.
Tara is a lot flatter than I had imagined it would be.
Even so, the view from the hill is quite remarkable.
Unfortunately, the ring-shaped mounds don't really come across well in pictures, unless taken from the air.
Here's the Stone of Kings, a lot smaller than I thought it would be.
The long parallel mounds are known as "The Banquet Hall", although they were most likely a ceremonial entrance avenue.
The view from the other side.
After that, we got on the bus and proceeded towards Newgrange.
The remains of a Cistercian monastary.
This castle, in the town of Trim, was used as "York" in the movie Braveheart.
Some folks have complained about the modern tourist center, but I didn't think it was that bad. You'll notice that there is turf on the root - the center is quite invisible from the other side.
Here's the inside. There's a replica of the passage, which I can say was not as spectacular as the real thing. (There's a rumor around here that you can't actually go into Newgrange itself, but I can report that this is not true.)
The visitor center is actually about a mile from the site. You have to take the small mini-buses to get to there. Here are some photos on the way to the bus.
Here are some shots of Newgrange itself. No photos allowed inside, although you would need a serious flash to get a decent shot anyway.
Here's a texture for you. Call this one "Newgrange"!
Here's the entrance. This is not the way it originally looked (in fact, the entire exterior wall is a reconstruction done about 100 years ago, since the original wall only lasted a few centuries.)
This small structure was in the back, I don't know what it was.
A more distant shot.
On the way back, we visited the shop of a local woodcarver, Claidhbh Ó Gibne (Clive O'Gibney). Now, this is an interesting story. Clive had made a coracle for the Newgrange visitor center, and had opened up a small shop on the road to the center, hoping to get the occasional visitor on their way to the site. However, our driver, John Bolton, seemed to take a fiendish delight in dumping whole busloads of tourists on the poor man and nearly giving him a heart attack (The was only the second time he'd done it.) Needless to say, Clive was overwhelmed but pleased - at one point he dropped his chisel. The woodworking was very beautiful, and several people bought small pieces.
Clive mentioned that he would soon have a web site - in the mean time, you can email him.