Newry Mourne and Down District Council and the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership as part of their Winter Solstice Festival is hosting a series of enlightening lectures on the significant events which have shaped the landscape and culture of the area. We are lucky to have secured a range of prestigious local and national speakers to share their enthusiasm on a variety of topics.
Starting the programme of workshops will be Dr. Kirstin Lemon from Geological Survey of Northern Ireland on the 28th November in Tí Chulainn at 7.30pm. Kirstin will speak about the Ring of Gullion area and the formation of the landscape tens of millions of years ago.
The Ring of Gullion is a unique geological landform, unparalleled elsewhere in Ireland or the UK and was the first ring dyke in the world to be geologically mapped. It is one of the ‘Top 100 Geosites of UK & Ireland’. The ring of low, rugged hills forms a ‘rampart’ around the heather-clad Slieve Gullion mountain. Dr. Lemon is an animated speaker who explains this complex subject in easy-to-understand language.
Next up are well known local community historians Una Walsh and Seamus Murphy, who will be regaling us with stories and anecdotes of life in the 15th and 16th Century, the time of the O’Neills and Lord Mountjoy. They will explain how certain strategic events in the Ring of Gullion changed the entire fate of Ulster. Their talk starts at 8 pm on the 30th November in Dromintee GAC Club. This discussion is bound to be popular so book early to be sure of a seat!.
Lastly, we are very lucky to have Dr Frank Prendergast speaking in Cross Square Hotel on 7th December at 7.30pm. He is one of the leading experts in the country on the prehistoric phenomenon of Winter Solstices and the passage tomb architecture. He will be shining a light on the complex significance of the route of the sun on the shortest day and its impact on ancient grave design. This December marks fifty years since M. J. O’ Kelly first investigated the winter solstice at Newgrange.
Solsticial alignments also light up Lough Crew and Thomastown in Co Meath and Townly Hall passage tomb in Co Louth. And Dr Predergast will weave fabulous linkages between these sites with evidence drawn from as far a field as Knockroe in Co Kilkenny to tell the tale of a sophisticated and mathematically advanced civilisation that in some cases predates the pyramids.
Dr Prendergast latest article was published in Archaeology Ireland and the publishers Wordwell Ltd will be with us on the night with copies for sale. Archaeology Ireland is a quarterly publication and aimed at a broad readership. It is authoritative, up-to date and provides in-depth information and comment on what’s new, exciting and important in the world of Irish archaeology.
Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said
“We are fortunate for the Ring of Gullion Winter Solstice Festival to be able to attract such a fabulous range of local and national speakers. This highlights the significance of this area with regards to the history, architecture and geology of Ireland”.