Celtic Culture

 

 

Celtic Landmarks

In Ireland

Learning more about Celtic culture and heritage can be very fulfilling. One of the best ways to find out more about your ancestors is through a study of the most important Celtic landmarks. All across

Ireland, these special structures serve to remind new generations of the struggles, victories, spirituality, and symbolism of the Celtic people.

Megalithic Passage Tomb At Newgrange

The megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange is a shining example of ritual, symbolism, and reverence for nature – all of these themes are also explored in the best Celtic art and literature. This important Newgrange attraction draws over 200,000 visitors per year, and its
surface area covers a full acre!

Surrounded by kerbstones that highlight a stunning, white-quartz facade, the interior of this vast, unique structure houses an amazing secret! A passageway leads to a special chamber – at the moment of each Winter Solstice, a cutout in the roof is flooded with light, illuminating the chamber.

If you are planning a visit to the passage tomb, be sure to watch for the distinctive Celtic spirals that decorate the kerbstones. These gentle, curving circles are an important symbol in Celtic culture…they symbolize eternity. Each turn of the spiral is meant to illustrate the journey through life, death, and spiritual rebirth. Today, the spiral often appears on Celtic rings and Celtic jewelry.

Celtic Crosses

Celtic Crosses are also an important part of Celtic culture, and they appear all over the Emerald Isle – there are also examples of these crosses in Scotland and Wales. True Celtic crosses will always have ringed centers, which are believed to be remnants of Pagan Sun worship.

Over time, as Ireland converted from Paganism to Christ, these important crosses evolved to become strong and recognizable symbols of “the one true faith” (Christianity). These crosses began to appear in the Sixth Century, during the Insular Art period.

Often decorated with ornate Celtic knot work (also known as interlace), or zoomorphic (animal) symbols, Celtic crosses continue to honor the dead, and to honor God – they stand in churchyards, mark the summit of mountaintops, and reinforce faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each point of a Celtic Cross is believed to symbolize the four directions – east, west, north and south.

Some beautiful examples of these carefully wrought crosses can be found at Monasterboice, where the ancient ruins of a Christian community are found. Monasterboice is located in County Louth, Ireland.

Beehive Huts

These unusual little huts are made of dry stone, and they are also known by the Gaelic name, Clochan. Round and constructed entirely of stone, these unique dwellings feature corbelled (domed) roofs, thick walls, and very small interiors. Believed to be a remnant of the Bronze Age, beehive huts have become very appealing to tourists visiting Ireland. In fact, the local farmers may ask for a little fee before they let you onto their land to explore these Celtic landmarks.

Today, the Dingle Peninsula is a wonderful place to explore these small, mysterious beehive huts. Noone knows exactly what they used for, and it can be a pleasure to wander in and imagine the lives of those who inhabited these dwellings. As well, these huts are often located in lovely, pastoral surroundings that offer a little peace and tranquility, as well as a veritable glimpse back in time…

These landmarks are just a few of the treasures you will find in Ireland. Exploring the country will leave you dazzled by history that seems to live and breathe all around you. From historic landmarks, to music, to poetry, churches and castles…Ireland is a wondrous mix of yesterday and today…

 

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