Loughcrew Passage Tombs presented a new perspective for me on passage tombs as two years ago I saw Knowth in the Newgrange area. The Knowth passage tomb was massive and an awesome sight. Since this was an OPW managed site, and a highly touristed area, there is a mandatory and necessary hands off policy.
This sight is on private property but still managed by OPW staff in terms of maintenance. The interaction with Loughcrew is far more personal as visitors are able to enter the tomb and feel the carved stones made by prehistoric people. Although I had a fair amount of trepidation upon entering a passage tomb because of its sacredness and mystical use by previous inhabitants of the area. It was not clear during out visit if this passage tomb was actually used as a burial or mainly for marking the spring equinox as many other cairns, or stone mounds built to establish a monument or significant location, in the area are known for.
As always, the Irish landscape is breathtaking and calming all at the same time. Other than Kauaʻi, there is no other place that I've traversed that provides the same gob smack of raw, natural beauty. The landscape not only reveals how uninhabited Ireland is but also what perhaps Hawai'i looked like over 200 years ago. Born and raised on 'Oahu, the concept of wide open spaces does not come easily to me. When I visit the countryside of Ireland or the communities outside of Lihue, I am immediately soothed by how openness (and lack of development) can change one's perspective and sense of presence in a place.
I'm taking this class again to increase my knowledge and connections to Ireland. As a teacher, I need to be a student from time to time in order to better understand the student experience. This allows me to understand my students and grow my teaching prowess.