A Visit to the National Museum

2 Oct

The Reconstructed Passage Tomb

3400-2800 BC

Each culture has their own way of burying and honoring the dead, and Ireland is no different. With its conflicted past, Ireland has its own history of burial rituals. When I came across the Reconstructed Passage Tomb, I was intrigued because it was so simple in design, but held a greater purpose. It was not simply a pile of rocks, as a first glance at the structure would suggest. The tombs were built to hold and honor the cremated remains of the dead. The plaque next to the exhibit explained that each tomb usually had a burial chamber that was reached by walking through the connected passage. Upon further research (http://www.knowth.com/newgrange.htm), I learned that these tombs are scattered all over Ireland. Each tomb is unique in design and reflects the values held by the ancient Irish. I think that the exhibit in the museum represented the idea of the tombs and the time period that they were most commonly built during. However, I do not think that the beauty of the tombs was accurately depicted. Most of the actual tombs are much more intricate in design and have unique features that represent the individual(s) and the families of those who are buried there.

The exhibit most like the tombs was the “Bog Bodies” display, which showed the human sacrifices and rituals that often took place during the 400-200 BC era. These rituals took place to honor the tribal kings and to mark the tribe’s territory. Although, both are used to honor people, the tomb is used to honor the dead themselves and the bog sacrifices were used to honor the living.

The National Museum was an eye-opening experience that gave visitors a glimpse into the past of Irish life and culture.

-Melissa Daly

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