The Sacred Sites

What would it have been like, I wonder, to be standing at the back of the cold dark tomb on top of the hill in Newgrange, waiting for dawn on the shortest day of the year, to see the shaft of sunlight pierce the rockbox at the entrance and slide like a snake of light straight down to where you were standing?


What would it have been like, I wonder, to be standing on the Hill of Tara as the fires burned hot in the night and all of the mighty Kings of Ireland gathered around the Stone of Destiny to listen for the name of the new High King?


What would it have like, I wonder, to be the High King Laoghire standing on the Hill of Tara just before the lighting of the New Year's fire, the first fire allowed on that spring equinox day when all other fires were forbidden, looking out over the whole of Ireland?


And then to see, way over on the Hill of Slane, the fire lit by a cleric named Patrick, a Paschal fire in defiance of the old gods and the old ways, announcing a new kingdom of a new God, a High King of all of the gods, a new sheriff in town?


And then, to hear that cleric, that man Patrick, bring that new God to the wild people of Ireland, explaining with a shamrock that triune God?


Sacred sites are these, tributes to the old gods and the new, Christian and Druid and Pagan, light and darkness, kings and saints. What were they like, I wonder, when they were young?