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Connemara and Newgrange - Ireland

Original memories by Anaa C. - Words by Ilenia Gatti

Caption:”Who lives in Ullapool ? My journey begins from the study of maps, dreaming about extraordinary countries, hidden behind funny toponyms”
There’s never a real separation between one journey and another. Especially if it’s the wind to guide you. Ireland 1997: A marvellous land, particularly for the rocky coasts, the islands pounded by the wind and the vast peat bog of Connemara. However, the real journey is when you meet the genius loci, the spirit of the place, or when you unveil the nymphs’ secret. This is what happened to us around the huge megalithic site of Newgrange. We arrive at mid-afternoon, too late for visits and therefore we book a room in a B&B. On the walls of the room have been hung some 1700 engravings showing sites of burial mounds from the Stone Age. Miss Malone, the aged landlady, was still too occupied to dedicate herself to dinner-making, and she suggested that we pay a visit to a prehistoric site nearby. We take the car and head towards a hill. We get out of the car, begin a solitary path and climb towards the top. To our sight, a landscape remembering Constable opens up. Nothing has changed from that nineteenth-century panorama. There was one particular that subtly reminded of the English painter: those contrails of rain, in the backlight, accompanied by full black clouds. We climb up. The black clouds move forward. We arrive at the top and glimpse, beneath a mound, an altar made of rocks. I take a picture. The wind blows. Black clouds get progressively closer. It starts raining. We glimpse on our left some of those room-hallway type of tombs uncovered. They look like undrained teeth, tuned upwards, emerged from a giant jaw.
We hide at the entrance of the mound, closed by a gate, but well repaired. It’s pouring rain. On our left, from one of the undrained mouths comes out a big rainbow with a quick progression: wonder of the perspective. Lower, still from one of the mouths, another rainbow. We are there, amazed, in awe. The two arcs have very intense colours and they pulsate. The film of the camera (back in the day, I was only allowed to take 36 photos) was over. The spirit of the place doesn’t allowed that its secrets are unveiled. Then, all of a sudden, the rain stops. The first rainbow is sucked in by the mouth and then the second as well. The wind dusts the clouds away and the fair sky comes back. We’re struck and grateful for this moment of absolute truth. The next day we head to Newgrange. Big parking space with a million of cars. The covered gangway leads to the ticket desk and visitor centre. We catch a glimpse of the base of the mould, re-constructed in white quartz and black granite, which allows the legibility and the consequent accessibility to the big public. We look at each other and without saying a word, we leave.