A Visit to Proleek Dolmen

Romance of Ruins

I have an update to my post “Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home” where we explored the site of the boyhood home of my grandfather, Peter McCardle, on great grandfather James McCardle’s Proleek farm. April 2018 an email arrived from the brother of the owner of the house across the road.  He recognized the property from the blog photography and reached out to introduce himself and share information. His own genealogical research suggested we shared a great aunt.  We now work together to define this connection.

Our tour of Ireland was bookended by a visit to the farm site and, located little more than a kilometer away, a 5,000+ year old portal tomb, the last site Pam and I visited. We parked at the hotel / golf course built around the monuments.  There is no fee to visit the site, number 476 on the list of Republic of Ireland National Monuments (Irish: Séadchomhartha Náisiúnta), protected at the level of guardianship by the National Monuments Act of 1930.  The townland is named after the dolmen.  The anglicized “Proleek” is derived from the Irish for “bruising rock”, as in a millstone. The grave is attributed in folklore to the resting place of the Scotch Giant, Para Buidhe More Mahac Seoidin, who came to challenge Fin Mac Coole.  

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Ballymascanlon House Hotel is on the R173, on the left heading from the M1 towards Jenkinstown.  Path to the monument is marked here and there and requires attention.  It helps to understand the general location of the monument on the property.  The parking lot and hotel are on the southern end, the monument is on the north end.

The path leads through the hotel grounds….

….and golf course…

…and you first encounter the megalithic Gallery Grave of a type named “wedge shaped.”

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The 22 foot long tomb gallery supported stories of a giant burial. Pam poses for a sense of scale.

These are the only ancient monuments in Ireland were a stray golf ball may be encountered.

A short way ahead is the dolmen, or portal tomb. The informational placard is in English and Gaelic.  There is an illustration of the stones covered with earth with a stone façade.

Some describe the formation as a giant mushroom with warts. The posting feature image is of the same aspect as the next photograph, with me for scale.

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We are surrounded on three sides by the golf course.  The “entrance” to the tomb, through the two upright portal stones, faces northwest toward Slieve Gullion, a mountain with its own Neolithic burial site next to a lake on the summit.  The mountain and the flat land, such as Proleek township, feature in the story of how the Irish hero Cú Chulainn came by his name.  To learn more, click this link for “On the Tain Way” the first of my posting that includes some stories of the hero.

The fifth hole.

We had a beautiful day, so I took time to capture all aspects.  The hedge is the northern property border.

The “warts” are stones. There is a local saying that success in placing three stones on top will give a wish or lead to marriage within the year.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Slievenaglog Slideshow

A May Morning, Early

Every photograph from my recent posting were accepted by Getty IStock. Click this link to visit the photographs on IStock.

Here is a slideshow of my Slievenaglog photography. To visit from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Curious Horses

A photographer and his audience

One May early morning two white horses come down from a sloping pasture on Slievenaglogh to view an interloper taking photographs. Slievenaglogh Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

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Slievenaglogh Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

This I used the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. It is two shots, the first in horizontal, the second in vertical mode.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

50 vs 24 mm focal length

A Cooley Peninsula Valley on a May Morning

On the northeast slope of Slievenaglogh peak (Irish: Sliabh na gCloch) on the road from Mullaghattin Townland to Riverstown. This day I swapped lenses and took in the same general direction for each. This is the first and last of a series using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens and I pulled in the shots from the Canon 24mm f1.4 L II USM lens, published in previous posts.

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Here we look northeast from the Slievenaglogh Townland over the valley between Slievenaglogh and Slieve Foy peaks. Slieve Foy is the far ridge lost in clouds.

This is the first and last of a series using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.

The view includes Little River, Castletown River, Ballycoly and Glenmore Townlands. Adjacent is a sheep pasture with a farm ruin behind the yellow flowered gorse (Whin bush, scientific name Ulex).

Early morning, late May 2014.

Here is a slideshow of the 50mm and 24mm images of this post.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Frame

green pastures framed by Whin Bush and Hawthorn windbreak

The road runs high on the shoulder of Slievenaglog peak, the 200 mm lens peers into the next townland over, Ballycoly (or Ballygoley), the valley floor broad, pastured.

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This is the seventh and last of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Here is a recap of recent posts with the 200 and 24 mm lens. Can you tell the difference?

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Abandoned II

So much depended on this wagon

Quickly moving sheep pass the hay wagon on May morning, early. A great start to this week.

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This mountainside pasture is grazed by a flock of sheep alongside a long unused farm wagon. Slievenaglogh Townland, Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, Ireland.

This is the fifth of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Here is a recap of recent posts with the 200 and 24 mm lens. Can you tell the difference?

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Balwen? Shetland?

Or neither?

This breed may be a Balwen Welsh Mountain sheep, as it fits the description. When the ewe caught sight of me, she hightailed it for cover, the lambs followed.

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The Balwen is bred for meat and that is the rule in this area, the lambs are sold.

The description is of a black color with a white blaze on the face, four white “socks” and white on the tail. This individual is missing a white tale, so might be a Shetland and even more so as the others of the herd are white (Shetlands are a variety of colors), Shetland is common and the other rare.

These are on the hillside of Slievenaglogh Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

This is the fourth of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Abandoned

So much depended on this wagon

A hay wagon, unused since the twentieth century.

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No longer needed, this mountainside pasture is grazed by a flock of sheep. Slievenaglogh Townland, Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, Ireland.

This is the third of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

On the slopes of Slievenaglogh

One white horse

Horse pasture on northeast slope of Slievenaglogh peak (Irish: Sliabh na gCloch) on the road from Mullaghattin Townland to Riverstown.

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Foreground is yellow flowered gorse (whin bush, scientific name Ulex). Early morning, late May 2014.

This is the second of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Farmhouse Ruin, Slievenaglogh

Two views

Built with care of fieldstone, windows now empty of glass, rotted roof and fallen, interior wall with chimney warmed rooms on two floors.

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This substantial abandoned farm cottage among fields now sheep pasture on the slopes of Slievenaglogh Townland of the Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, Ireland.

Surrounded by white flowering hawthorn, yellow Whin bushes foreground.

These are the first of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Click for another interesting post and story from County Louth.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills