Maeve’s Cairn

3 Oct

September 19th, I took a trip to Sligo. I remember the long bus ride, staring out the window and thinking the surrounding area is beautiful and lush. The hills were speckled with white dots which turned out to be sheep  and there were cows of every color. The grass was a beautiful lime green and it reminded me of my home back in Portland Oregon.

Once I had arrived, I unloaded my luggage from the bus and stepped into nirvana.

As the days passed, I encountered many new experiences. I learned that Sligo actually means “Shelly River” and is the second largest city in western Ireland. While we were there, I  participated in many activities. The morning of the second day I was awakened with yoga and then hiked up to Knocknarea. I now know that when the Irish say we are taking a walk, they really mean a significant hike. Once I had reached the top of the mountain, our tour guide began to spout a stream of intriguing facts about the stones in front of us. At a glance, it  just looked like a pile of big rocks, but as our tour guide spoke I discovered that it was a cairn. In fact, it was the largest unopened cairn in Ireland that was called “ Meascán Méadhbha –Maeve’s Cairn”. Maeve’s Cairn is nearly 200 feet long and 40 feet high. It is one of the few left standing on top of Knocknarea as a result of excavations in the 19th century that severely damaged the other smaller ones. In Celtic mythology, Queen Maeve was recognized as the Warrior of Connacht.  Unfortunately, she had a reputation for being very unkind. As a result of committing many misdeeds she was buried in Sligo, far from the royal capital of Connacht. Some believe that she was buried in Sligo to keep her spirit away from the people she once ruled.

Jade McKanna



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