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Arkives Press

San Francisco





a Stone Hunter’s Field GuiDE

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The Stones of Ancient Ireland

Copyright © 1998 and 2009

Hank Harrison

All rights reserved. Exclusive world rights licensed to Archives Press. Printed in

the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced

in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief

quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Design Hank Harrison

Layout and graphics Triona Watson @ BookProcessor.

Special Illustrations copyright Jack Roberts by permission.

Manufactured in the United States of America

Union Made

Printed on recycled, acid free paper

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

Harrison, G. H. (1940 – )

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

Includes bibliographical references and index

  1. Archaeology 2. Anthropology 3. Astronomy
  2. Celtic Mythology 5. Irish Travel
  3. Harrison, Hank II. Title

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 91-071190

ISBN: Cloth 0-918501-40-7

Trade Paper 0-918501-41-5

Warburg Institute Categories

This Book is 100% recyclable.

Cover Illustration: Cairn L at Loughcrew at the

exact moment of Autumnal Equinox sunset.


Set in Warnock Pro with LITHOs heads

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The author wishes to thank the following people and places for their unstint-

ing support in the preparation of this book:: Chris and Barbera Warnock, Don

Skirving and Beth Grossman, Dawn Levy, Maude Elizabeth Johnson, Lloyd

Saxton, Omar Del Carlo, Nelson Algren, Elaine Markson, Tom Constanten,

Marylin and Patty Kitchell, Rodney Albin, Peter Albin, Peter Rowan, Ichiro

Kodaka, Elizabeth Leader, Janette Jackson, Shirley Abicair, Jim and Lynn Gillam,

Dan Aeyelts, Crystal Aeyelts, Christopher Rudmann, Helene Kopejean, David

Leiberman, Bill Franklin, Wolfgang Bielefeld, David and Carolyn Eyes, Ted Eyes,

Dan and Yolanda Mcleod and all the folks at the Georgia Straight, Kay Hoffman,

Dan Rossett, Tony Bove and Cheryl Rhodes, Ekhardt and Persis Gerdes, Anata

Riddle, Abbey Johnston, Joffra Boschart, Diana Vandeburg, Phil Lesh, John

Michell, Jerry Garcia, Bob Hunter, Alan Triste, Joan O’Sullivan, Karen Melquist-

High, Gerry Ganter, Jo Hickman, Futzie Nutzle, Henry Humble, Spinny Walker,

Harry Ely, LaVerne Leroy, Dan Poynter, Danny Moses Earth Island and Sierra

Club Books, Randy Flemming, Charles Winton, Mike Winton, Bill Hearst, and

all the people at PGW, Dave Hinds and Celestial Arts, Randy Beek and all the

folks at BookPeople, David Wilk and all the folks at Inland Books, Hakim-Provo

Thompson and New Leaf, Montalvo Center,



Dame Frances Yates

Nelson Algren & Kurt Cobain


Frances Bean Cobain

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Foreword …………………………………………………………………………..


The First Scientists ………………………………………………………..


A History in Stone …………………………………………………………..


Magic & Architecture ……………………………………………………


Newgrange ………………………………………………………………………..


Celtic Warrior …………………………………………………………………


Knowth ………………………………………………………………………………


Star Script …………………………………………………………………………


Grave Robbers & Savants ……………………………………………….


Dowth ………………………………………………………………………………..


The Stone of the Seven Suns …………………………………………


Witch Mountain ………………………………………………………………


Legends of the West ……………………………………………………….



Page 7

The Analemma ………………………………………………………………….


Time & Timelessness …………………………………………………………


The Final Harmonic ………………………………………………………..


Appendix A …………………………………………………………………………


Index ……………………………………………………………………………………


Bibliography …………………………………………………………………….


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Above: A satellite view of Dowth (Dubh) at Spring Equinox sunrise. Dowth, meaning

darkness, is the eastern most mound in the Boyne complex and one of the mounds

represented by the famed triple spiral icon. This mound captures several lightbeams and

is situated in an exceedingly auspicious location for a ritual pilgrimage. It also contains a

number of highly decorated stones and is probably far older than Newgrange. More than

5500 years ago, pilgrims trekked and paddled up the river from the Irish sea, debarked

and camped across the river on the south bank of the Boyne. On solstice and equinox

dates, the pilgrims made their way across the river, up the hill and Dowth for ceremonies.

This mound was about 100 feet higher as recently as the 18th century, and featured a

tea Pavilion on flat top. Sadly, it was partially torn down by road builders. Even so, the

mound is so large, it could not be completely destroyed and it stands, to this day, mostly

unexcavated. Several of the huge buried stones around its perimeter have never been

photographed or agreeably deciphered.

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In Ireland, on 21 December each year, about

twenty miles North of the Dublin Airport — a

beam of light projects into a stone encircled

mound called Newgrange. The beam moves slowly

through a slender passage and into a cavernous

chamber in the center of the structure. The beam, as

commonly reported, forms in the chamber at sunrise,

but in fact it appears only after the sun is high enough

in the sky to clear a false horizon formed by a ridge to

the South.This is an ingenious and unique plan that

shows a vast understanding of navigation, astronomy

and celestial reckoning.

Once in the chamber the light beam falls to

the floor, comes to a point and illuminates a basin

stone. The beam then proceeds to the back wall of

the North chamber where it illumi nates the famed

triple spiral carving which has become an Irish na-

tional symbol. The light runs up the walls driven by

the earth’s rotation. As it moves it strikes numerous

other markings. Seventeen minutes after it enters

the mound the beam slides out. But its job is not

complete. At around four o’clock in the afternoon,

the beam appears again at a nearby mound called

Dowth and the miracle continues. This phenomenon

is not drawn from science-fiction, hundreds of sober

people make the pilgrimage every year to witness

the beam. It has been documented and accepted by

the Irish government. Why is this such a big deal?

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The Stones of Ancient Ireland


Who cares if a light beam enters a pile of stones? It

wouldn’t be a big deal if the stones had been erected a few

hundred years ago, but the construction of these mounds

began six-thousand years ago and they still keep time.

More importantly, the people who built the light beam

temples of Ireland may have been heliocentric. They seem

to have understood that the sun was at the center of the

planetary system, and they clearly developed a form of

mathematics to track these celestial phenomenon. We are

only now beginning to understand, what they discovered

and we still have only tiny hints about how they did it.

This sense of heliocentrism may have been their

biggest breakthrough. It is entirely possible that the

buildup of observatories in the Neolithic period was due

to a raging quest to demonstrate new discoveries. The

mound builders were the keepers of an ancient wisdom,

a genetic code locked in legendary lore. This legend base

probably took on a mystical sheen, but was constructively

scientific at its roots.

New evidence points to the realization that the

mounds of the Atlantic Neolithic era were constructed

to translate Paleolithic oral tradition, based on insights

perhaps as old as homo erectus, into terms that could be

carved and carried on for generations to come.

By now you may be asking, What has that got to do

Above: Staleen

Cottage, Ros na Rig,

Donore, County

Meath. The Boyne

river flows in the

background. This

seventeenth century

cottage acted as

the author’s base of

operations for two

years. The Georgian

door and shutters can

be opened to let the

lightbeam for Dowth

sunset pass through.

In 2008 an entire

Neolithic village was

excavated east of the

hedge and the white

dots out of focus on the

river are the resident


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x i

Above: Newgrange and its position in the Boyne Valley. The blue line marks

the path of the sun beam from the southeast to the northwest, as the earth

orbits around the sun cast beam. The blue marker on top of the mound marks

the location of a missing standing stone which cast an oppositional shadow.

On Winter Solstice morning each year, sunlight enters the front of the mound

through a narrow slit—known as “The Roofbox”—forming a beam. At the same

time a long moving shadow theoretically moves to the rear of the mound and

strikes a design etched on an opposing carved stone. The two beam forms,

operating in elegant harmony, indicate the exact length of the solstice event. The

white line represents the transit of Venus as it passes across the roofbox opening.

The event length is ultimately determined by the arrival and exit of the God and


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The Stones of Ancient Ireland


Opposite Page:

“The god and goddess, now

merged, appear as one before

the multitude.”…

Appolonius of Tyana

Satelite view of finsihed

rebuilding of Knowth. The

blue line follows the Sun line

from the top of the Duleek-

Donor hill to New Grange

and ends in the rear mound

chamber at Knowth. Tourists

are told that the beam begins

to form in the roofbox at

New Grange, but recent

investigations show that it

begins at a man-made notch

and platform on the crest of

the hill across the Boyne River

on private land. This critical

alignment factor has never

been reported in academic

journals or the press. The line

between the Southeastern

notch and Newgrange

is marked with several

megaliths and mounds as

well as small stones from

several recent generations.

From this, and numerous

interviews, I conclude the

beam arrangement has

been a local secret for many

centuries and that it was

not “discovered” solely by

Professor O’Kelly. The line:

“Bury me at Ros na Rig with

my face toward the sun” now

makes perfect sense. Those

who would work for the

preservation of antiquities

should be aware that the area

is undergoing a great deal of

housing development. Slane

castle stands 1 mile to the


with modern citizens of the planet Earth? The answer is


If you don’t care about your history or your environ-

ment you probably won’t care about these ancient places.

But if you are a sensitive person, in tune with the environ-

ment, and, if you care, even a little, about where you came

from—both as an individual and as a human being—you

might want to know about the stones of Ancient Europe,

and Ireland specifically.

In a poetic sense, as we shall see, each carved stone

is a technical manual for its own functionality. The idea

that the cairns, rings and mounds scattered all over

Western Europe were star computers used for navigation,

crop rotation, animal husbandry, and the tracking of

migratory animals (such as geese and salmon) seems

logical, even obvious to most modern observers, but for

centuries of Irish church goers, the aboriginal builders

were savages, the mounds were built as tombs and the

artistic symbols, carved into the stones, were senseless

doodles. This diffident and sadly persitent attitude puts

the mounds, their beams and their carvings in jeopardy.

This is all the more alarming when we realize that the

people who designed the great temples of Ireland used

no metal tools. The spirals and zigzags were carved with

flint chisels. The huge stones were erected with wooden

platforms and team labor, possibly even oxen.

In the following pages the reader will encounter beam

dials, shadow clocks and an entire vocabulary of strange

icons used in the construction of some of the oldest stone

buildings still standing anywhere on earth, But, to the

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Above: Knowth Winter Solstice sun line, continued from Newgrange.

Destruction by archaeology

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The Stones of Ancient Ireland


people who developed these icons, the exact placement of

a stone was as important as its markings. The carvings on

the stones give us spe cific details on the measurements,

timing of events, and the activities of the cosmos at this

particular latitude and longitude, but the architecture,

also sends us a message—least we forget these buildings

were probably designed for ceremonies and rituals. The

entire thrust of this book is to convey and interpret that

more subtle, architectural message and to attempt to

reconstruct, at least tentatively, the ceremonies.

The true Megaliths of Ireland (Greek, Mega = large,

lith = stone) were erected by flint using people who had

virtually no use for metal. Any culture which had not

progressed out of the ‘Stone Age,’ a phrase still commonly

used in a pejorative sense, was considered backward by

anthropologists until the 1970s, but in Ireland we see

the reverse. By the time bronze and iron tools were in

common use the light beam temples were in a collapsed

state, respected, but not maintained, even though they

still track numerous cosmic events with great accuracy.

The Newgrange beam alone would be amazing, but

when we learn that dozens of similar mounds and stone

circles, scattered all over the Atlantic rim, have been casting

shadows and beams over stone carvings every year for more

than six millennia, we must stand in awe. Obviously we

are looking directly into the furnace of an ancient, and as

yet unexplored, cosmology, an idea of creation supported

by a fully developed alphanumeric system. It is inspiring

to think that, like Black Holes in deepest space, we may

finally be looking at the beginning of things. In this case

we may be looking at the true building blocks of Western

Civilization—a language and religion based on a shining

light emanating from the least understood, and possibly

the most enlightened, reaches of human history.

The Megalithic Mind

The central chamber at Newgrange is dome shaped,

reinforced by, overlapping flagstones, one of the first

of its kind anywhere on earth. The Midwinter beam

phenomenon begins around 09:45 (Greenwich Mean

Time) and ends about twenty minutes later. This beam

was discovered in the eighteenth century, but not well

documented until 1966. When Newgrange was officially

opened to the public in the early 1970s a number of

researchers realized that the real treasure of the Irish

mounds is their art and architecture. Although little

material wealth was found, ongoing excavations were

Opposite Page:

Newgrange has

deteriorated more since it

was excavated in 1968 than

it has in the more than

five-thousand years since

it was built. Here Professor

Michael O’Kelly inspects his


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x v

Note the groove on stone foreground. This groove was originally flat and part of

a brilliant drainage system which brought filtered water into the interior of the

mound to be captured in large cachement basins. This purification process was

probably part of an ancient lightbeam and bread baking ritual of which O’Kelly had

no knowledge. The grain was apparently ground in a sacred quern and rolled flat in

the west chamber, mixed with water from the large basin in the east chamber, baked

over hot stones in the North chamber and exposed to the Winter Solstice lightbeam.

The bread was then distributed to the waiting congregation. As at Eleusis and other

shrines of a later epoch, ergotamine and mushrooms (both immediately available

near the mound even today) were probably used in the recipe.

The iron reenforcement bars have rusted and are destroying the mound.

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The Stones of Ancient Ireland


exposing a veritable Louvre of Stone Age art. Traditional

archaeologists thought the carvings are decorative,

but we now know they are forms of writing based on


I’ve been researching the ancient stones and circles,

since 1965, especially in conjunc tion with the Gothic

cathedrals, the Holy Grail ritual and the Glastonbury

mysteries, but after seeing the stones at Newgrange in

1978 I knew I would need to move to Ireland for an ex-

tensive sabbatical.

In 1979 I rented a large slate roofed house directly

across the river from the Boyne monuments. The location

of the twelve room house, known euphemistically as

Staleen Cottage, enabled research at close hand in any

weather. The old toll takers house became an observatory in

itself. It was ideally suited for light beam research because

it came furnished with a full set of Georgian shutters

which I quickly adjusted to act as apertures. With these

I could form my own lightbeams and watch them move

across the floor exactly as they did at the mounds across

the river.

Night sky observations were also ideal from this house.

The night glow from Dublin doesn’t extend to the Boyne

Valley. In one hour of one night during the August meteor

shower I counted more than one hundred ‘shooting stars’

that appeared almost close enough to touch. When Venus

passes the mouth of Newgrange on a moonless night it

is bright enough to dimly illuminate the cauldron stone

in the inner chamber. On clear nights my daughter and

I could see the starry sky as the old astronomers must

have viewed it.

So where do we stand? Obviously there’s a great mystery

going on at Newgrange and the other temple mounds

throughout Atlantic Europe, but we may never unravel

it if we don’t change the way we look at ancient sacred

sites. When Newgrange was first fully exca vated, in the

late 1960s the public wasn’t interested, unless of course

the place could be made out as a flying saucer landing site.

Explanations for the light beam were not forthcoming,

other than to acknowledge its existence. In a few cases

certain scientists, for rea sons known only to themselves,

denied the existence of the beam apparatus altogether. But

a new ethical sense of technology and science is growing

on the horizon. Recalibrated radiocarbon dates from the

fourth millen nium in Ireland, viz. 4200 B.C.E. have been

recorded for a work camp in the Boyne complex.

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The Megalithic


6000 Years ago

Above: The Irish mound culture, specifically the mounds along the Boyne

River, seem to have originated as a building technology in Brittany and

Portugal The mounds in the area of Western France are carbon-dated to at

least 4200 BPE while the Irish mounds are decidedly younger. The seagoing

people around the Gulf of Morbihan based their civilization on a maritime

economy with oyster harvesting as an early form of agriculture. Oyster shell

middens have been found in Ireland as far inland as the top of Loughcrew.

The mounds located at Arzon, (see map) for example. feature Winter Solstice

beams and standing stone gnomons that keep time with the seasons. The

huge menhir at Locmariacour could be seen from many miles at sea and

the carvings at Gavr innis are almost identical to those found in the Boyne


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The Stones of Ancient Ireland


Archaeology can no longer be used for propaganda in Ireland or anywhere else.

The crisis in Ulster is healing. The Republic of Ireland is now a state in the United

European Community, the old Punt notes are gone, replaced by Euros, and most of

the new tourists to Ireland will not tolerate a church bias or an IRA party line. The

megalithic veil is off and ultimately scientific eyes will see the stones and mounds for

what they are—calendars, sun and moon dials, star computers, almanacs, places of

worship, and the jumping off spot for the worship of dead, but not, forgotten ancestors.

More importantly future generatons will see that they are not simple tombs.

Ireland is a small country, but she has. for many centuries, made a cultural impact

on the populations of Europe, Australia and North America and on world events. The

customs of a lost civilization remain gloriously on display along her shores and river

banks when they have been all but erased elsewhere. She is the preserve and archive

for Celtic studies not yet even conceived. Ireland leads the smaller countries of Europe

into the twenty-first century and yet this hypermodernity is reeking havoc with the

ancient stones. The archaeological sites are the keys to unlocking the most ancient

secrets of the Emerald Isle, so it seems important that we look afresh at the megaliths,

her oldest treasures. By combining modern anthropology, astroarchaeology, and

space age preservation techniques we may be able to reconstruct the old life-style and

save the antiquities from falsified interpretations by rearward facing academics. In so

doing, we may point the way to a new understanding of protoceltic cul tures in Western


Above: Newgrange as it looked before excavations began.

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E arly humans used the shadows of trees to tell the

passage of time. No shadow indicated noon.

the length of a shadow told the season of the year — short

shadows told when to hunt, long shadows indicated when to

migrate. As we evolved so did our ability to interpret the nature

of light, its shadows and beams and its curious ability to change

colors. This fascination with light may well be the pulse of human

evolution and the first real demonstration of scientific thinking. It

took thousands of years of human meditation and research before

someone learned how to contain light, how to shift it and build

stone temples that could capture and amrk it and make the passage

of the seasons into marks cut into trees, leather and stones.

Through the last Ice Age, which ended somewhat abruptly

around 10,000 bc, our species carried elaborately fashoned, power

sticks, and batons made of ivory and bone. Somne of these objects

were hunting and fishing implements, others were ceremonial

calendars. These were handed down in families as sacred objects.

As we evolved further we made refined horological observations

and recalibrated the carvings on the batons to allow more precise

readings. For the first time in human consciousness we could look

into the future and make predictions.

By the time Newgrange was finsihed, approximately 3200

bpe, the carvings on the batons had evolved into symbols of

divine power, each sacred “word” associated, at the tribal level,

with light and dark, thunder, lightning the rainbow, and life

itself. Eventually, as we settled, notches in wood and bone grew

into large stone diagrams. The diurnal rhythms of everyday life

reflected the motions of the sun and moon. All fire was sacred

fire. All hearths went cold one day each year and the fire was

rekindled from a sacred flame sparked by the sun’s concentrated

rays on Winter Solstice.1

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The Stones of Ancient Ireland

2 0

The Shadow Dial

At Newgrange and the mounds that proceeded it, the carved

baton grew into a more complex technology. Euclid knew

how to construct a similar stick and taught the entire pag-

eant of Western Civilization how to use it for navigation

and building. He called his shadow caster a “Gnomon,”

pronounced ‘NO MON’, but no one is certain just where

Euclid dug up the idea. Tradition tells us he derived his

astronomy from the Babylonians who derived theirs from

the unrecorded annals of prehistory, but now, in the light

of new discoveries, we may have an alternative source for

our sacred geometry. The Babylonians may have developed

a calendar about 3500 years ago, but the mound builders

reached the same insight 2000 years earlier. If there is a

connection at all it went from West to East. This may sound

revolutionary, but it becomes obvious the more you explore

the megaliths, especially the French and Irish stones.

Sometime between the people of the Ice Ages and the

Greeks the gnomon was formed from a stone and embedded

in the ground, for permanent use. I assume this happened

about the time humans began to settle into villages. This was

done because large numbers of people needed to consult the

stones on a daily basis . But the idea of the portable baton

never died. The magic wand, the Crosier of Papal power,

Aaron’s Rod and King Arthur’s Excalibur are still with us

as symbolic reminders of our evolutionary trek.

We must therefore look carefully at our ancestors who

replaced the wandering stick with the heavy stone, because

this single act may have revolutionized human conscious-

ness. Once the stone was planted true democracy began

to flourish. Each generation had access to the exact same

information, for hundreds of generations. According to a

number of authorities access to knowledge is the heartbeat

of any democracy.

Gnomon or clock stones called “standing stones” began

to appear in Western Europe about 7000 years ago. But as

time went on the single stone became part of more complex

stone monuments. As society became more complex so did

the clock. This expansion of time consciousness correlates

neatly with an archaeological time frame known as the New

Stone Age or Neolithic Age, (Greek, neo = new, lithos =


The generally accepted image of the people of the Neo-

lithic as barbarians is misleading and highly prejudicial. The

romantics paint an empty picture full of adventure while the

severe of mind persist in thinking of any era prior to W.W.II

Above: The Blanchard

Bone, an early portable

computer, circa 32,000

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The First Scientists

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Above: Blanchard

bone reverse

showing moon

computer as loop


Detail below.

as barbaric. Many scholars, who should be better informed,

see the stone masons of that era as rough survivalists eking

out a living on meager grub while huddling together

in a hut or constantly looking for shelter.

Their only other activities are thought to be

rituals of fertility accompanied by human

sacrifice in order to placate seasonal dei-

ties. Interpretations of their remains have

been clouded by a general supposition that

all Neolithic activities had some kind of

magico-religious motive intelligible only

to a paternalistic priest class and otherwise


We now realize, the opposite is true.

The stone builders were as intelligent as us.

As a matter of fact they were ‘us.’ The most

recent DNA evidence shows that they possessed

alert and inquisitive minds capable of making and

recording empirical observations. It was neither difficult

nor unnatural for them to take an interest in cosmic events

and in the nature of light itself.

The Beam Computer

One hundred and thirty-five thousand years ago a large

population of hunter-gatherers, generally of short stature,

with various shades of skin, began to move closer to the

Atlantic ocean from North Africa and points in Central

Europe. A few travelers also arrived from North America

Over the many Ice Ages the large boned Neanderthal

types lived side-by side with these smaller people, who are

often called Cro-Magnon, so that, by the time the preg-

nant mare was painted on the ceiling at Lascaux — about

35,000 years ago, a fully integrated type, indistinguishable

from modern humans, (US) emerged. This assumption is

genetically controversial and is still being debated, but

the site maps and the most modern computer science

makes it certain that both Neanderthal and Cromagnon

lived in Europe at the same time, until the glaciers

receeded. Both populations were adept at all forms

of hunting and trapping, but less typically, Croma-

gnon and the artisanss of the caves in Franbce and

Spain, developed a highly refined sense of curiosity or

more specifically an intuitive sense of true scientific

understanding. From their constant observation and

recording of data, especially about matters of astronomy,

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The Stones of Ancient Ireland

2 2

they learned how to calculate the phases of the moon, the

orbit of Venus, the rising of Sirius, lunar and solar eclipse

cycles and much more. They were also capable of inventing

their own star constellations, some of which we still use

— the Great and Lesser Bear, Casseopea and her consort

Cepheus and Pegasus the horse come to mind.

These early scientists led a paradoxical life. They were

able to predict the exact moment of Winter, but the harsh

realities of nature forced them to hunt, fish and gather food

everyday. An illness we now consider only bothersome, such

as a common cold or a bout of dysentery, often proved fatal.

But this is only a paradox from our point of view. To the

people of the caves and forests knowing the cycles of the

reindeer, elk, pony and salmon meant something beyond

mere life and death. To Homo sapiens novus (new man) death

and life were parts of the same continuum and harmony in

all things was the ultimate goal.

The hunter-astronomers of the dawn of humanity spent

their nights watching the stars and correlating celestial

events with animal behavior. They spent a great deal of

time painting animal totems, hand signs, symbols and

counting techniques on cave walls undoubtedly to act

as teaching aides in their initiation rituals. Most rituals

were conducted at times set forth by celestial activities and

usually included the group observation of a given celestial


Using the patterns and cycles of the stars, planets, sun

Below: A similar

dial structure

located at Cairn

X1 Patrickstown,


The clock stone at

Knowth (East kerb).

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The First Scientists

2 3

and moon as a rational backdrop, the cave painters began to

amass a systematic database which they recorded as notches

in their sacred batons. Now we realize what the notches really

mean, but as recently as the mid-twentieth century, this idea

would have been preposterous. The notch matrix helped

them build a memory system linked to the stars in legend

and song. This database grew into iconography and a form

of writing emerged. This could not have occured withoutthe

use of complex speech and language or at least an elaborate

hand signal inventory. It also implies the existence of a well

developed system of number and count…the basis for all


Cave and stone temple art, like the art of the cathedral,

is hypnotic. It is instructional and available for anyone with

the fortitude to venture deep into the cavern. The art at

Above: A phallic

megalith and a

Victorian church

compete for souls

at an ancient



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The Stones of Ancient Ireland

2 4

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The First Scientists

2 5

rather, a large body of story and legend, symbol and oracle,

ritual and magical ceremony and above all as tronomy. It is

not cult art. This art, with its horse, fish, bison and human

hands rendered by hundreds of anonymous artists, represents

an Atlantic cosmology, an early explanation of the creation

of the universe.

The Lascaux cosmology confirms the belief that a mother

Goddess working with the male diety or God of lightening

and light con trolled natural events. This Goddess, in the

form of a pregnant woman, pregnant mare or spawning

salmon, brought forth all life. Furthermore, this Goddess

cos mology parallels, in a poetic sense, what we now call

the Compressed Seed hypothesis, the theory of continual

creation. The Everything Theory 3

Nine thousand years ago, as the glaciers melted at the

end of the Würm Epoch, a garden biosphere grew beyond

simple food supply in Western Europe. The cork oak forests

in Spain spread for hundreds of miles in all directions. The

Dordogne, in France, adjacent to many of the cave dwellings

and ritual sites, must have been idyllic. Ireland was an island

paradise, if you like your islands cold and windy. Hot geysers

bubbled up from the mud on the west coast and caves were

formed as the glacier melted down into the limestone.

Rivers also swelled from glacial runoff, new tributaries cut

across the landscape. Fish, wild fruit and seed grains were

plentiful. Migratory routes to the sea along the rivers grew

into trade routes. Amber and jet and jade ax heads, as well

as utilitarian tools and commodities like salt and herbs, were

traded among migrating populations as were legends and


Shrouded in mystery until recently, these migrating

men and women were the fathers and mothers of the first

true civilization in Western Europe. Their diaspora lasted

about three thousand years between the final paintings at

Lascaux and the first Mesolithic hearths in Ireland about

7000 years ago, but with them traveled the wisdom of the

shadow sticks and the knowledge of the Goddess.

The ritual placement of specially prepared stones aligned

to specific celestial bodies and incorporated into permanent

dwellings began about 7000 years ago, but we must ask,

“Are the markings on the stones in Ireland directly linked

to the Ice Age cave painters?”

Page 26

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

2 6

Left: The Great Cross

and Round Tower at

Monasterboice, near

Drogheda in County


Dark Age priests

burned their ladders

to protect illuminated

manuscripts from the

heathen Vikings.

Some of the great

crosses are made from

the same limestone

material found at

the temple mounds

and may have been

carved directly from

those ancient stones to

preserve the continuity

between pagan and

Christian beliefs.

Opposite Page:

Notebook page

showing sites explored

by the author, Martin

Brennan and Jack

Roberts. The large

area to the West and

Southwest is currently

under study by


Lascaux, for example, isn’t simple animism, it is, The answer

is a resounding Yes! The markings on the stones in Ireland,

France and Spain, as well as on artifacts found in Sweden

and England did not come from Egypt or Mesopotamia,

but probably grew, as a separate system, from a long tenure

of astronomical observations conducted by an isolated

Atlantic rim population, a population which probably had

no contact with the East or Africa until after the glaciers

had fully receded and until Bronze Age travelers from

Central Europe arrived seeking ore deposists.

These aboriginal people linked the universe and their

religion by an unwritten code, at least it wasn’t written in

Greek or Latin. This does not mean they were primitive

or uncommunicative. Their knowledge of the universe was

memorized and passed down from generation to generation

by signs, hand signals, gestures, whistles, body language

and semaphore. Writing, in the Mediterranean sense, was

not necessary. The signs and symbols they used to depict the

events of heaven and earth in stone, the astral markings we

shall investigate later in this book, may well constitute a form

of writing. The earliest form of writng yet discovered.

The hunter-astronomers of Western Europe, once forced

to huddle away from the ice and snow, began to move toward

the river mouths and pasture land around 12,000 years ago.

This massive and slow moving diaspora included groups

who settled in England and Ireland. As they resettled a new

cultural style — more scientific, less superstitious — began

Page 27

The First Scientists

2 7

Page 28

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

2 8

to form, but nothing of the old ways was lost or forgotten.

The legends of the ancestors traveled along, like time ghosts

(zeitgeists). The Celts even retained this concept in their

most esoteric initiation as the Dagda, the zeitgeist who

follows along. Anyone familiar with Celtic lore will have

heard of the cauldron of the Dagda and anyone who visits

the deep country in Ireland will see through time into

a fantasy land. This newly reforested island, once covered

with gnarled trees, dripping brooks and huge standing

stones, hides the quest for tribal democracy and individual

freedoms so crucial to the laws of the Goddess, the sacred

oak and the Druids.4

The sacred landscape in Ireland

features hundreds of cairns and larger

mounds decorated with huge carved

stones, each depicting an equinox

or solstice, or are designed to track

the moon and the sun or stars

in some fashion, but the most

spectacular mounds yet unearthed

lie just North of Dublin in the Boyne

Valley. There we find three major

mounds and dozens of satellite mounds

in a spectacular setting. The most famous

of these is Newgrange, because Newgrange

has been open to the public for almost a century, but two

other mounds, Dowth the tallest and Knowth the most

complex, can easily be seen from Newgrange. A second

series of mounds can be found at Loughcrew, about thirty

miles inland from the Boyne Valley and, if those aren’t

sufficient Ireland boasts more undiscovered Neolithic stone

alignments than any place on earth.

The dating of the carved stones is very controversial.

The latest inter pretations of corrected radiocarbon dates

place Knowth at 3950 b.c. ± 200 and Newgrange around

3300 b.c. In other words Newgrange, at least 5000 years

old, straddles the old Stone Age and the earliest Bronze

Age, while Knowth and a third mound known as Dowth,

were probably built around 6000 years ago. Photolumi-

nescence readings of ceramic chards from work sites, and

dates taken from pollen spores found beneath the largest

stones supports the fourth millennium hypothesis.

Aristotle’s Foot

Be they tombs or computers , the mysterious henge monu-

ments and tumuli of the Neolithic era are obviously linked

by astronomy and precise geographic positioning. Some

Page 29

The First Scientists

2 9

Below and Opposite:

Intersecting circles on

these stones at Knowth

denote the relationships

between cycles of

celestial events.

researchers even think that dowsing with a hazel rod was

used to find an ideal location before construction began,

but however they were sited we can not deny that each

major monument is situated with a commanding view of

at least one horizon and, from this, we can assume they

were used to mark solar, steller and lunar events at that

horizon. But in many cases the mounds themselves form

an horizon for other mounds situated nearby. From this

we can assume multiple horizons were used to observe

multiple celestial events, and that contrary to old school

thinking, the mounds were linked and designed to interact

with one another like an, electronic or neural network. One

could assume further that in order to pass-on the observa-

tion to another generation or family member, some form

of standard measurement must have been used.

Our standard measurements are derived from centuries

old British units, but these, in turn, were supposedly derived

from Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek developments. Now

we may have to look to our own western traditions to trace

the roots of our common measurements. Let’s start with

the foot.

We know that the megalithic temples were built long

before the Roman roads or the Pyramids, so we must

assume the Neolithic builders had standard measures of

their own, perhaps measurements derived from Paleolithic

hunters. What were these measurements? And how were

they derived?

The megaliths weren’t just dumped in a circle and spread

around willy-nilly. Recent discoveries hint that, like their

British and French counterparts, the megalithic temples

of Ireland may be linked by a common standard based on

human anatomy. There

are many disagreements

between scholars as to

what these measurements

represent, but most would

agree that some aspects

of the human body were

used because the system

is clearly linked to sacred

ceremonies. We should also

remember that 6000 years

ago, most tribal groups

were heterogeneous, and

looked pretty much the

same in terms of height and

Page 30

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

3 0

girth. Thus the sites are laid out in a standardized manner,

and, according to a growing number of researchers, the

sacred aspect — the common denominator in most of the

locations— is a sense of proportion derived from observing

celestial activity and measuring the average human form.

According to Brennan, the long measures between sites

(the distances we would express in miles and kilometers)

correlates with the short measures between stones (our

yards and meters) and the even shorter measures between

carvings on the same stone (our inches and centimeters).

These shorter distances ,in turn seem to correlate with the

length of the human arm, finger, hand and foot. In other

words each standard is a subset of the larger distance above

it and each standard can be combined in various ways to

create a design, a house or a temple, which in turn points

to a sacred ideal.

Unfortunately Brennan’s research was condemned

without trial by a kangaroo court of local academics who

were protecting their own turf. They claimed Brennan

lacked quantitative proofs but, in fact, Brennan did have

quantitative evidence, reams of it. The main rub, as it came

to pass, was the fact that Brennan wrote for an alternative

and New Age audience. Brennan’s main opposition was, as it

turned out, violently envious. Unfortunately almost no one,

with the exception of myself and Jack Roberts, operating

within a close circle of Brennan’s friends, has bothered to

chase down his hypothesis. Guess what? Most of Brennan’s

insights still stand. When you see the stones like Brennan

saw them, as marquees — as sign posts to the old world

— an ‘intuitive’ bal ance emerges. The precise proportional

distances between Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange, for

example, cannot be ignored, assuming the official survey

maps are accurate.

Although we can not pin point the measurements until

a comprehensive computer based survey can be carried out,

anyone who spends time investigating the megaliths senses

that the megalith carvers were tracking the sun, moon, stars

and planets and that they must have had a standard canon

of measurement dictated by the relationship between the

size of the planet, the relative location of the observer on

the planet, the angle and distance of the heavenly body ob-

served and the average size of the hand or foot. Since there

are minor variations in measurement between English and

Irish sites and since there are degrees of difference between

early Neolithic and Bronze Age sites, there must have been

more than one measurement over time, but in the long run,

Page 31

The First Scientists

3 1

these measurements were based on two components, one

heavenly and one earthly. In other words, the Neolithic

measuring system wasn’t simply celestial, it contained tool

making and commercial applications. These measurements,

along with language and song, provide the social cement

that bonds a society into a working civilization. We may

also assume that architectural and commercial measure-

ments, are, of necessity, continuations of each other. A foot

is made up of twelve inches, a yard is composed of three


If such measures exist they must probably also extend

to the equivalent of a mile and a multiple of miles and

downward to something like an inch or even millimeters.

Brennan, drawing from the ancient sun dial builders,

called these microscopic intervals ‘verniers’ while the larger

measures he called Alpha and Beta measures. Brennan’s

tiny ????? measure is 1/24 of an English “Foot.” or .75%

of an American standard inch. His ???? measure is based

Above: The relative

locations of Megalithic

sites prior to the

arrival of Indo-

Europeans. The

proximal geodesic

clusters of Megalithic

monuments correlates

highly with the Genetic

migration of a genetic

variation known as

the R1b haplotype, a

root chromosome type

that seems to be born

by anyone with Celtic


Page 32

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

3 2

Left: The man who

saved the Megaliths.

Alexander Thom in

Brittany. A respected

Engineer from

Scotland, Thom

survived harsh

criticism to prove a

standard measurment

existed for most of

the sites he studied.

Thom and his son

have measured most

major megalithic sites

in Western Europe

and proved the

existance of standard


He postulated a

Megalithic Yard as

early as 1957.

on a foot of 13.28 inches.

We can look for these measures with modern computers

and probably, with a little tweaking, we can find them

without leaving our desktops, but if we reject the standard

measurement hypothesis without testing it at all, we have

committed a cardinal error in scientific method, we have

let skepticism turn to cynicism.

Over the past four decades Alexander Thom and his

son Archibald, both highly respected engineers, spent most

of their spare time walking the old track ways conducting

surveys of the various rings and mounds. In the process

they have amassed a body of convincing data and not a few

adver saries, yet none of their antagonists have come up with

opposing theories. 5

According to Thom the distances between the temples

and the distances used in their actual construction follow

subtle rules of measurement based on geodesic proportions,

such as the circumference of the pole or the earth’s equator

or a mathematical relationship with the moon. The Thoms

call their most important measurement the “Megalithic

Yard” or MY, a Neolithic standard measure of 2.722 feet,

slightly shorter than the American yard. This is roughly

equivalent to three human feet or the distance between a

Page 33

The First Scientists

3 3

weaver’s hand and nose with arm outstretched.

Brennan worked in Ireland Mexico, japan and Ireland.

Thom hardly worked in Ireland at all, but the two theories

are more harmonic than dissonant and a few seminars could

easily clear up the debate. Critics can not logically assert

that both theories are invalid and that no measurement

exists at all simply because the two men found slightly

different standards in different locales 6

ARough Estimate

The flat-land thinkers, when the thnk at all, assume

the rough stone temples of the megalithic cultures were

measured locally with no link to an archaic or standard

measurement system. To the technocratic mind, diurnal

mea sures like “Noon, Sunrise and Sundown, are derived

from an elaborate corporate consensus. From our “betters”

we receive such magnanimous, and I dare say, “arbitrary”,

measuring units as the “inch,” the Imperial gallon and the

British Thermal Unit, (BTU). However, when a peasant

decides he or she wants to measure some thing, the time of

day or a yard of cloth for example, he or she does not run

over to the university to make a per fect cut, instead they

consult a stick that is based on an ancestral measurement

or they pull out a length from a bolt in a gesture of body

language that can best be described as “intuitive.” Aristo-

Above: The genetic

haplotype R1b, common

to all people with Celtic

and Basque ancestry,

correlates highly with the

construction of Mega-

lithic rings and temple

complexes in Western

Europe. This diaspora

took place in the early

Neolithic era in Spain

and Brittany and mi-

grated north by land and

sea routes, bringing the

construction of the Star

Temples to Ireland. This

included the knowledge of

celestial worship and oth-

er aboriginal shamanic

practices accumulated

over several millennia.

Page 34

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

3 4

telians are loathe to accept this, but it has been going on since Homo Sapiens first placed

a bet or made a deal. Rough estimates, form, after all, the roots of all economies because

they are quick, while more precise figures require far more calculating skill .

The ideal intuitive measurement, can be called the “Peasant’s Foot.” This theoretical

measurement is a memorized ethical standard, a rough estimate, agreed upon by all par-

ties to the deal. The Peasant’s Foot is an observed “phenomenological” measurement, not

a technological standard. A foot, to a peasant, is a bare foot with mud gushing through

the toes on the floor of a rude hut; but it is, still and all, the foot of the average person

in the community, a valid legal measure. In nature everything remains in scale, so why

should one species dominate another by standardizing unnatural measures, weights and

scales which support gluttony? Is it not better to conform to cosmic measurments, cycles

and forces than to delude ourselves into thinking we are somehow superior to nature?

Above: A Stone Circle or “harrespill,” at Okabe, one of thousands located in

the Basque Pyrenees. These sites were founded as celestial, lunar and solar

observatories starting in the late Ice Age. These stone computers evolved into

permanent temples until the late Bronze Age. The genetic make-up of the builders

correlates highly with that of Cro-Magnon.

Page 35

The First Scientists

3 5

Above: A perfectly shaped and heavily worked dolman with a massive convex

capstone at Anta Santa Marta, near Evora in Portugal. This structure was designed

to reflect sun and moon light onto the flat undersurface via reflections and special

angles. The convex side facing upward is also specifically crafted to perform

dedicated functions, although we are not yet sure what those functions are. This

structure antedates most of the Irish mounds but seems to correlate with the time

line for Dowth and or Knowth, circa 3800 BPE. Generally the manpower needed

to construct this massive site would exceed hundreds of workers and since the area

was never heavily populated, one can speculate that the builders used domesticated

oxen and/or ponies to do some of the work.

Page 36

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

3 6

The Aristotelian Foot is an unnatural measurment posing as something grand. The

Greek foot was one part in 360,000 of a degree of equatorial longitude according to the

assumption that the Earth is divided (arbitrarily) into 365.5 degrees in the circle of the

equator. This is supposed to be one degree for each day, but it isn’t exact. Neither is the

Peasant’s Foot.

The problem with relying totally on the astronomical measurement scheme is that it

wasn’t always used by the peasants who did most of the work on the stones, and it isn’t

much more accurate than the peasant’s method anyway. Democracy of a primitive sort,

was the norm throughout Ireland until the Bronze Age; so we must look to the measure-

ments of human limbs and other body parts as the first “real” standards. The tem ple

builders did use measuring sticks and ropes, but they also used their feet and hands, and

their well trained eyes, as rough equivalents.

As commerce became more sophisticated the precision of standard measures and

weights grew. The straight Neolithic track ways, sometimes called ‘ley lines’ and ‘straight

tracks’, were measured out with great precision. The sky was used as a navigational map,

but the distances trav eled were probably based on the ability of cattle to travel in “legs” or

leagues, between water and pasture. For centuries this knowledge remained the province

of the cattle drover or husbandman. But, as populations expanded permanent settlements

replaced the nomadic life-style and an early form of agribusiness sprang up.

At the height of their influence, around 3500 BPE., The Star Temples, and later the

cathedrals, yielded stan dard knowledge to the public in great pro fusion. Every geometric

shape, every spiral and every legend stood on public display. Day-to-day commerce was

based on measuring a horse by hands, and a close race by a nose, a practice still in force


If we wonder just how much influence the Stone Age has on us today, we need only

look to “The British Stone” a weight of approximately fourteen American pounds. Like-

wise, in the Oklahoma land rush, tracts of land were given to those who could ride fast

and far. The man or woman who used horses effectively got the largest and best tract of

land. In an other example, padre Junipero Serra imagined the California Mission sys tem

as a rosary, an idea he derived on his pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James Compostelle

in Spain. The California mission system was set up by the stars, but it was also a practical

system, each mission, a bead on the rosary, each bead— one days ride from the next.


1 Ross, Charles. Solar Burn, University of Utah Press. 1976. Salt Lake City, pp 1-64.

2 Marschack, Alexander. The Roots of Civilization. 1972. We know Paleolithic people

kept track of

the sun, moon and various planets because they left behind hand-held calculators which count astronomical

events against a backdrop of con stellations. These early ‘laptop’ computers, of which many examples have been

found, were commonly made of wood, but only bone and stone versions have survived.

3 The Paleolithic peoples of France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Ireland and Britain were not far from real-

izing, in their own intuitive way, what we now refer to as “chaos theory.”

4 Thom, Alexander and Thom, Archibald . “A New Study Of All Lunar Sight Lines,”

Archaeoastronomy JHA Supplement 2, S78-S89. 1980.

5 Thom, Alexander: Megalithic Lunar Observatories, Oxford University Press, 1971.

6 Brennan. Martin The Stars and the Stones. Thames & Hudson, 1982.

Page 37


Prehistory in Europe is traditionally divided into

four parts. These are not strict definitions, human

history is rarely abrupt, I cite them here only because

they are so commonly used and because to truly understand

the megaliths one must understand how old they are.Since

this book is partially a guide for New Age explorers the

reader should bear in mind that almost any date you see in

an academictextis wrong, especially for Ireland, because in

the 1970s variousbreakthroughs in tree ring dating forced

the scale backward, but the academics refuse to budge

from their conservative dates. Generally, it is agreed that

Newgrange was built around 3300 BPE and that both

Knowth and Dowth are older by about 500 years. In order

to understand the significance of these dates you will have

to understand the traditional historical divisions used in


The Old Stone Age

The theoretical timeframe known as the Paleolithic or “Stone

Age” covers Western Europe from the first walking tool

users to the ascent of true Homo Sapiens and is itself gener-

ally subdivided into three sections as follows: The Lower

Paleolithic— encompassing our ear liest ancestors, about one

million years ago. The Middle Paleolithic— including most

of Cro-Magnon evolution — starting about forty thousand

years ago, and the Final Paleolithic encompassing the last

glacial epoch which ended abruptly around 12,000 bpe.

The Upper Paleolithic represents the first era of modern

humans in Western Europe. Here we dis cover widespread

Page 38

3 8

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

Above: Spiral ,

aproximately 12”

in diameter. circa

4000 BPE. found

between Knowth and

Newgrange. This

stone tool is in a

private collection in


Opposite: Overhead

view of the same

stone showing lands

and grooves. This

may have been a

survey instrument

similar to a

theodilite or sighting


standardization of tools, art tech niques and astronomy, we

also see the first use of geometric patterns in art. Denizens

of that longwintery era looked and walked like us. We have

been brain washed about their savage appearance. Some

were tall, some short. Some were red headed, some dark.

Bones of every description have been found, but some have

been badly cataloged while other data is jealously guarded.

Even so, a factual picture is emerging. The human beings

we once thought of as ugly, m o n k e y – l i k e a n d primi-

tive, would not, if properly clad, be out of place in a New

York sub way. In other words, they are us.

The populations of Europe at the end of the Final

Paleolithic, although sparse, were robust and interactive.

Advanced tools and increas ingly elaborate cave art

identify their habita tion sites. Counting tools with definite

astronomic features were employed as calculators to predict

salmon and red deer migrations. Although the great cave

paintings at Lascaux are from this era, smaller geo metric

symbols and celestial decorations, like zigzags, spi rals, dots

and ring marks were found on everyday objects. 1

The Middle Stone Age

Next, in school book order, comes a complex pre historic

layer called the Mesolithic or “ Middle Stone Age” created

by the final with drawal of the glaciers. This took place in

different ways at different locales, but generally we can place

Page 39

3 9

A History in Stone

a fully developed Mesolithic culture in Ireland around 6000 BPE. or at least 8000 years

ago. Like their cave dwelling ancestors, the Mesolithic people lived a hunter-gatherer

life-style radiating out from river side encampments rather than caves. 2

Some tribes in Western Europe may have evolved quickly from the cave to agricul ture,

without a well-defined transition pe riod, while others may have remained hunter-gatherers

into the Roman occupation of Western Europe. Around Greenland and North America

Mesolithic people moved with the now extinct Great Auk. They also tracked Orca, geese

and other migratory animals. These highly adapted people usually lived on raised beaches

between a fresh water river and a sheltered cove. Their cousins in Europe did the same,

using a toggle harpoon for fish and a drop line to sound the bottom. They also erected

standing stones for place markers and developed a stone lentil arch as a door support.

The oldest ‘Red Paint’ site in Labrador dates back 7500 years. In Bohuslän, Sweden a

date of 5300 BPE. is well established and a similar date has been derived by analyzing

charcoal from a stone hearth in Sligo, Ireland, the Neolithic birthplace of the Irish court

cairn builders. 3

Although it is not established that the Red Paint people of Labrador are related to

the Megalith builders of Ireland, Sweden, Brittany and Holland, it is well established that

both groups used similar navigation methods and astronomy and may have shared trade

routes. This would naturally create a very slow genetic and technological diffusion even

though the groups were probably isolates.

Page 40

4 0

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

Above: Lunar

calculators on bone

baton from Spain.

Middle Neolithic.

Opposite: Carved stone

neck ornaments, known

as “schist plaques,”

shown approximately

actual size. The designs

on these objects correlate

with the designs carved

on the stones in Ireland.

The wedge and zigzag

pattern are associated

with the Goddess cult

and may be linked to the

constellation Cassiopeia.

In many cases the tools, especially chisels

and net weights are identical on both sides of

the Atlantic. Methods of burial and symbolic

carvings are also similar. Stone line inhumation

cysts coated with red ochre pigment are recorded

around the North Atlantic. Zigzag patterns found

on Red Paint ceremonial bones compare favorably

with the chevrons found on stones in Brittany and

Ireland. 4

By 5000 bpe., on the island of Jura, conical

round huts evolved into wood and stone houses.

These were covered with skins and thatch. Around

the same time in Portugal and in Sligo, kitchens were

built from stone slabs incorporated into the walls of

similar round houses. Most importantly many carved

Megaliths began to appear in isolated alignments.

Each Atlantic maritime village possessed its own

cairn or stone ring that acted as a sun and moon

dial and as a node within a complex com munications


The New Stone Age


We see an even wider degree of settlement all over the

Atlantic rim, one thousand years after the settlements of

Jura, Bohuslän and Sligo. This wider settlement phase marks

the beginning of the Neolithic Era or New Stone Age. The

sheer majesty of monuments such as Newgrange in Ireland’s

Boyne Valley and Gavrinis, on an island in Brittany, hints

that the Neolithic builders were caught-up in a culture-wide

quest for enlightenment through ceremonial architec ture,

and that this quest, once achieved, led to a further quest

for self knowledge and indi vidual enlight enment.

The temple builders developed a spec tacular architectural

model that allowed rit ual astron omy to enter the life of every

citizen, every day. Obviously the Neolithic architects were

attempting to design a temple precinct that would join the

shamanic ancestral past with the more scientific developments

of their own era. They believed that a monument like

Newgrange would merge the music and legends of the sea

and hunt with the rhythms of the field and pasture. In short

they were encasing the Atlantic Paleolithic creation myth,

expressed as geometry and number, in permanent stone.

This genesis can also be detected in the posi tioning of

the stones and in the progress of architec tural themes. In

the passage temples we see the reconstruction of the cave

environment, but we also see a catalog of abstract art that

Page 41

4 1

A History in Stone

many experts feel reflect the oral traditions of the Paleolithic

shaman translated for Neolithic audiences.

If we probe further we may see that Neolithic life was

easy compared to the rigors of the Ice Age. By the time

Newgrange was finished the purely geo metric icon sup-

plants the animistic totem. Domestic animals, including

oxen, the horse, goats, ducks and sheep are kept close by

in pens, while live fish, mollusks, limpets and other sea

creatures are dried, as in jerky, or kept in nearby traps and

ponds. Precise knowledge of the cycles of both domestic

and wild animals is required.

Once the legends of the hunt and the measurements

of nature are cast in stone, the tribe gains the ability to

antici pate cyclic events identically over many generations.

Anxiety is reduced because every one in the culture can see

into the future with a degree of accuracy only dreamt of by

the ancestors. Still, the hunting rituals are commemo rated

in legend. The sky bear becomes a real king. The night

Goddess becomes the queen of many cows. The star sagas

and heroic treks of the ancestors continue in oral tradition

and are memorized by association with the stars and the

stones. The old legends merge with the many nations. The

science of num ber and the pre dictability of events takes

precedence over sympathetic magic, but the shaman and

sibyl are still necessary as healers and medicine makers,

midwives, musicians and storytellers.

Above and Below: Schist

plaques from Portugal reflect

the identical symbols found at

Newgrange in Ireland and at

Locmariaquer, in Bretagne. All

of the plaques collected have

astronomical significane. The

horizon line is shown clearly in

the example above. The entire

shape and decor of the plaque

below indicates solar and lunar


Above: This curved plaque relates how

light, when touched by the diety, can

be bent around corners as it occurs at

Gavrinis in Brittany, at Maes Howe

in Scotland, and at any of the beam

dial monuments scattered all over the

ancient megalithic world.

Page 42

4 2

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

Could This Be A Primordial God?

There is no such thing as a thunder bolt. Thunder is invisible. But lightning

and thunder almost always occur in sequence. Zeus is often depicted with a

“thunder bolt.” Bolg was described as the “Lightning Maker.” Since lightning

itself makes no noise we can see that Zeus was probably originally a lightning

bolt god almost identical to Bolg even though 2000 years separate their

devotions. These magical dynamics represents the invisible world made


The invisible nature of light, lightning, and the obvious pagan correlation

with lightning and thunder as power sources, makes it possible to assume that

the mound builders saw the light beam (which they had created by building

the mound) as a personal manifestation of the heroic light god Bolg, the Irish

Zeus, and that those privileged to witness the beam were observing the actual

and symbolic impregnation of the earth mother by the forces of the cosmos.

At Newgrange this impregnation process comes to an apotheosis when the

light beam strikes and traces the triple spiral in the North interior chamber.

Until now, no one has made this association clear, but the hammer stones and

lightning bolt symbols found at Knowth and in Scotland, coupled with the

triple spiral and zigzag marks etched into stones in prominent places, seem to

support this view..

Page 43

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A History in Stone


1 Marschack, Alexander. Exploring the Mind of Ice-Age Man, 1975.

2 Woodman, P.C. Scientific American. 1981

3 Fitzhugh, William. Residence Pattern Development in the Labrador Maritime Archaic. In: Archeology of

Newfoundland and Labrador. 1983. p. 6-47.

4 Herity, M. Irish Passage Graves. Dublin. 1974. p. 124.

Neolithic archer

stalking elk on the

plains of Mel, Meath.

Note ‘X’ pattern on


Chalcolithic & Bronze Age

The cultural transition between stone and metal was not simple. Instead it took the

form of a profound evolutionary wave. The age of metal begins in Western Europe

around 5200 years ago, approximtely the time Newgrange was completed. Metal

implements, and the knowldge of how to make them, arriving with migrants from

Eastern Europe and across the Alps, began to replace stone tools, first with copper,

then with bronze, and it was at this juncture that the old glacial and maritime cultures,

rather than dying off, somehow managed to integrate with the new agriculturalists.

Through this proximity, the larger, westward drifting populations, eventually learned

to respect the legends of the stars, animal totems and related astronomy traceable to

the Ice Age. Thus, some aspects of the old tribal structure and clan dynamics lived on

in pocket cultures, until they were thoroughly intermingled. This process, which took

at least 2000 years, formed, what we now refer to as the Celtic Nations.

Page 44


Since the artifact formation of Western Europe’s

aboriginal civilization is so poorly understood, and

since the progress of technology in the last stages

of the Ice Age directly influences the megalithic culture

of Ireland, it is important to repeat the progress of events

whenever possible.

Originally the cave was the essential homing point for civil

life. Temporary huts were built on hunting forays, but the

cave was the home of the earth mother and the bear god.

Some caves were so sacred they were treated as cathedrals,

special places for worship and destinations for pilgrimages.

As the ice sheets melted, about 15,000 years ago, vast fertile

fields, fruit trees, and softwood forests sprang up inviting

the clans to journey further from the caves and explore the

greening plains and fertile coastlines.

Around 12,000 years ago the clans of the protomesolithic

began to perfect their animal husbandry skills. The wolf, now

domesticated as a family dog, traveled with the migratory

humans. With the dog for protection and companionship

and the cat for vermin control our ancestors were so suc-

cessful at breeding and providing food that a population

explosion took place. Next the horse and the Oxen were

domesticated. Hundreds of archaeological digs show a

consistant migratory and domstication pattern. The band or

family group moving to a fertile area, would use slash and

burn agriculture until the land was depleted. They would

then revert to hunting and fishing as they moved on. They

learned that domestic animals would stay home if grain and

feed were provided so they began to plant barley and other

Page 45

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

4 4

grains in cycles. They also began to use the same territory

over again as the rested their fields and rotated their crops.

The most common pattern was to let the animals graze the

depleted land to fertilize it while hawthorn and other vines

took over. Then, as needed the land would be reclaimed and

barley, emmer and other cereal grains would be planted.

This system provided beer, bread, honey and an unending

supply of mush. This diet was supplanted with wild berries,

hazelnuts, gull eggs, fish and deer meat usually preserved

as jerky. As they cleared the forests they built family linked

farmsteads. They also began experimenting with permanent

stone dwellings and with lightbeams and sundials built into

mounds known as cairns.


Dolmen, translated as “table stones” French: quoit, Welsh:

cromlech, are usually fond as simple stone arches composed

of three or four Megaliths capped with a massive boulder

or flat rock. The capstone feature appears in Maine, along

Penobscot Bay, and again at Stonehenge and in the corbelled

ceilings of the Star Temples of Brittany and Ireland. Some

seem to be more elaborate and labor intensive than others,

designed with as many as twenty-four upright stones called

orthostats, obvi ously leading the way to, or borrowing from

the cairn idea. Others used as few as two orthostats, the

Below Left:

Poul na Brone Dol-

men on the Burrin,

County Galway. The

dolmen, little more

than arch structures,

probably arrived early

in the Neolithic build-

ing sequence because

they are usually un-

carved and are often

seen standing alone

in remote areas, as if

they were waymarkers.

There may have been

some burial function,

but generally they func-

tion as shelters and

navigational sites.

In Labrador similar

small orthostats and

arches, dated to 7000

B.C.E., have turned up

in the context of the

Red Paint people, who

may have sailed back

and forth to Europe

following totem ani-

mals. In other words,

although the mounds

and dolmen seem to

date in the Neolithic

era, the astronomy and

technology necessary

to build them seems to

have accumulated from

the Middle Paleolithic.

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Magic & Architecture

Above: Gavr Innis a small islet On the south coast of Brittany, features a mound with

fabulously carved stones in a tunnel leading to an inner chamber. This mound allows

a light beam to enter on Winter Solstice. For this and other reasons, Gavr Innis is

possibly one prototyype for the carved mounds in Ireland. The massive carved stones

that line the passage and inner chamber, pictured above, show marked similarities to

the technology at Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth in the Boyne Valley. This 6000 year

old dial system, located within rowing distance to the shores of the Gulf of Morbihan,

clocks the Midwinter Sunrise and a number of other celestial events. It is also one

of the most interesting and richly carved sites in the world and was probably an

initiation center dedicated to tides and the moon. Although the carvings here seem

similar to those in the Boyne Valley there are distinct differences and eccentricities.

This particular place seems to be able to track dozens of different beams created by

bending light around a corner rather than sending it through a slit aperture. The stone

at center left seems to have candles in the middle. The two dark spots are actually

smooth recesses suitable to hold tallow. A similar candle was kept lit for eight hours.

Whereas Newgrange was designed to allow light on very limited days of the year, this

site seems to have been designed to capture some form of light all year round. The Gavr

Innis chamber may have also been used as a school for teaching navigation and tidal

flux to mariners.

Page 47

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

4 6

Above: A Court

Cairn in Tipperary

overlooking a lake.

Poles were used to hang

meat, dry clothing

and maintain shadow

directions. In Winter a

roof of skins was used

to seal the structure.

The cairns in Ireland

are among the oldest

stone buildings in the

world. Some writers

think they originated

with Amerindian

migrants since similar

mounds, dating from

the fifth millennium,

have been located in

Newfoundland and in

Maine. BUt more recent

research indcates that

these stgructgures have

been used around the

Atlantic rim, especially

in Brittany inthe Gulf of

Morbihan since the end

of the Ice Age.

whole leaning against a hillside for support. Structures using

only three sup port uprights are sometimes called trilithons

or tripod structures.

Dolmen are common in Ireland, you may see one in a

field as you drive down the main highway. They seem to

mark the fuzzy line between the Mesolithic wanderers (the

dawn people) and the Neolithic set tlement folk (the passage

temple builders), but similar structures were built in the

Bronze Age so it appears the idea was common for a very

long period. They may be associated with death rituals and

were probably used as exposure platforms in the excarna-

tion process, but they are also astronomy platforms as it

was probably believed the human soul could only achieve

oneness by returning to nature on a specific alignment at

a specific time. 1

Dolmen are common in Brittany, Ireland, Wales and

Scotland and often mark trade routes. They seem to be

more significant along specific straight tracks and roads

that connect habitation sites to track ways.

Very little work has been done on the astronomy of

dolmen even though these mysterious structures are often

part of larger precincts dedicated to as tronomical observa-

tions and seafaring navigation. The observer could sit inside

and meditate or simply observe the pas sage of a planet or

the sun or moon. Fires could have been set alight within a

Page 48

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Magic & Architecture

Below: A

reconstruction of

a Court Cairn in

West Cork.

dolmen to create a lighthouse effect when viewed from the


Some Bronze Age mounds incorporate tripod struc tures,

a few are associated with pit and beaker burials leading one

to think that a dolmen may be the inner structure of a burial

mound that has been eroded or raided by ancient treasure

hunters, but many early dolmen were sacred centers, with no

surrounding mound and no grave whatsoever. One expert

speculates that they were road side rest stops for weary cattle

drovers. Most dolmen are located within a short walk of a

fresh water source and are often associated with wells..


The cave inside the cairn became a memory chamber for the

legends, and science of the old ones, the ancestors. The con-

struction of these permanent stone buildings roughly marks

a new period in human development that archaeologists call

the Neolithic or New Stone Age. An aerial photograph of

the Neolithic settlement on the plateau of Carrowkeel in

Ireland, reveals a classic scene. Here a fabulous round cairn,

with a perfect passage and court yard, is seen flanked on

all sides by huts and corrals, kitchens and apartments. Use

of the cairn in everyday life allowed the clan longhouse to

grow into a true village, perhaps even a village with unre-

lated citizens. In any case the pile of stones in the middle

or on the outskirts of the enclave was the religious center,

an assembly point, a place of worship and a place of civic

focus. This may someday be explained by the possibility

that a cultural merger between Amerindian peo ples and

Page 49

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

4 8

Below: Unrecorded

carved megalith near

Kells, called the Cross

Keys stone by local

farmers. This stone

aligns with the great

Cross in the cemetary at

Kells, often referred to

on maps as Cennounos

Mor. This is a classic

example of a map

stone which shows both

astral and eartthly

orientations. Some of

the markings represent

energy lines in the fields

around the area.


European Aboriginal peo ples took place shortly after the

end of the last Ice Age.

Cairns, especially court cairns, are the first cyclopean stone

temples constructed anywhere and are excellent in dications

of an early date for settled reli gious practices in the Atlantic

interactive sphere. Early cairns date to about 5500 b.c. in

Portugal at Evora, Irish dates are roughly similar while

Labrador cairns may be slightly older. 2

Many cairns contained basin stones or ritual ceramic

bowls and many show a distinct trilithon door frame feature,

either as a ritual structure, in the interior of the mound,

as in Labrador, or as an actual architectural member to

give height and strength to a chamber.

Cairn chambers are often cross-shaped, (cruciform) and

most of them incorporate beam-dialing. The main Carrow-

keel site in Sligo is built in the shape of the “Goddess” as

are the temples at Tarxien on Malta. The difference being

that the Carrowkeel cairn is at least one thousand years

older than the Maltese temple. It appears that a creation

myth based on natural science lies behind the construction

of these structures — a theory of how the universe began

expressed in architecture.

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Magic & Architecture

Carved Megaliths

Many of the cairns in Ireland show evidence of symbolic

carvings. These marks are based on astronomy, but the

markings are also a Hypertext or meta-language that,

when fully understood, may prove to be the oldest written

language ever discovered.

Deeply etched and elaborately carved stones, carrying

obvious symbolism, begin at the first phase of the Neolithic,

at the exact point where the cairn grew into a larger more

com plex temple. The best examples of Irish cairn art, in

this transitional phase, can be found at Loughcrew on a

small mountain top near Oldcastle, County Meath, about

fifty miles Northwest of Dublin and in direct line with the

Boyne Valley monuments. Large fires lit at Tara and Dowth

could easily be seen forty miles away on a clear night.

The Loughcrew hilltop— (Slieve na Caillighe) in Irish; literally

translated to ‘ Witch Mountain’— is an observatory stand-

ing on average about eight hundred feet above sea level.

On a clear day most of Ireland can be observed from this

spot. The Loughcrew carvings are similar in style to those

found in Portugal and France, in Britain and Southern

Ireland and many experts feel there is a d i r e c t c u l t u r a l


Loughcrew is dotted with dozens of very old cairns

and stand ing stones. Modern astronomers have

described it as an astronomy center with many telescopes

located to catch the apparent rise and set of the sun and the

activities of the moon and Venus. One recumbent alter called

“The Hags Chair,” weighing in at over five tons is a true

marvel. It is not only carved with spirals, but a decorative

Above: A stone lentil

at Fourknocks, County

Dublin. This stone was

probably moved to the

small mound on the

hillside at Fourknocks

from the Boyne Valley.

The entrance overlooks

the valley toward the

Boyne. Martin Brennan

speculates it may have

been a burial location

for the chief architects

who built Newgrange,

a way of telling future

generations how long it

took to build the final

mound. The carving

and stone composition

is almost identical to

that of Newgrange.

The chevron or zigzag

pattern indicates diurnal

rhythms. There are four

niches within Fourknocks.

Brennan’s unpublished

theory may have some

credence since it probably

took four generations to

build Newgrange.

Page 51

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

5 0

edge has been sanded all around. To this day debate rages

as to what the stone represents, but clearly it is part of a

courtyard with the cairn in the background.

The climb up and the picnics and tours to each of the

twenty or so sighting points will take at least a day, but the

most amazing observations take place at night. If the observ-

ers body is positioned into one of the many sighting cairns

the totality of the void, the black of space and the twinkle

of the planets as they wan der by their marker stones, can

be exhilarating. To see the night sky as the ancients saw it

can be the experience of a lifetime.

At Loughcrew the clear night skies allow an unbeliev-

able view of the moon in its phases. The constellations and

planets are also easy to spot. On a new moon night one

gets the feeling the stars are close enough to touch. On a

clear Spring morning the visitor is treated to a view of the

Atlantic to the West and the Irish Sea to the East, simply

by turning around. In October, bonfires can be seen blazing

across the countryside and at Winter Solstice, the sunbeam

Left: Equinox

stone. Cairn T at


This beautiful stone

was vandalized by

the rough handling

of the first surveyors.

During the famine

migrations to

America local

residents took small

pieces with them as

good luck charms.

Page 52

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Magic & Architecture

Above: Drumbeg

Circle in West

County Cork.

This photograph

was taken at

Winter solstice

using solar filter

to emphasize light

and shadows.

Although none

of the stones at

Drombeg are

carved, this

ancient circle

continues to

calculate Solstice

and Equinox


throughout the


enters a number of cairns. At this height, a signal system

could have been set up to convey messages across Ireland

and to fishing craft at sea. No false horizons were necessary

on the Witches Mountain as they are at Newgrange in the

valley below.

Cairn T, the major attraction at Loughcrew, was once

thought to be the tomb of the legendary bard, Ollamh Fodla.

Although the bardic habitation of the place is from the Iron

Age, if not entirely mythical, it remains a site of enormous

importance to astronomy and archaeology. It is also a place

of breathtak ing beauty.

Star Temples

The passage temple, or passage mound also known by the

outdated phrase ‘passage tomb,’ is the third and final devel-

opment in pre-bronze Atlantic architecture and is, without

doubt, the most controversial. I have developed the phrase

Star Temples t descibe them more fully.

Passage temples are really just extensions of the cairn

technology, but clearly the builders were experimenting with

lightbeams, shadow casters, internal height and long throw

distances for the beams. They obviously needed to stand up

in the chambers to conduct ceremonies so they expanded

the cairns by adding corbelling and internal buttressing. In

the final phase they learned to control drainage by building

up layers of gravel, peat and sod.

Cairns, featuring short passages and semicircular court-

yards, are usually situated to act as isolated local temples.

The larger Star Temples feature long passages and multiple

inner chambers. A few of these take sharp angles, such as

the passage in the mound on the Island of Gavrinis off the

Quiberron Peninsula in Brittany. Both forms present the

Page 53

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

5 2

modern observer with the impression that some kind of elaborate ceremony and gather-

ing took place here.

Cairns and passage temples display beam dials and shadow clocks, and both cer tainly

display elemental signs of ritual as tronomy, but the passage temple can incorporate mul-

tiple cairns— Dowth has at least two and Knowth has about six. Without question the

passage temple, and most specifically the Boyne monuments, represent the high point

in the evolution of Neolithic architecture.


1 Borlase, W. The Dolmens of Ireland (3 vol.) London 1897.

2 Fitzhugh, William “An Archaic Indian Cemetery in Newfoundland.” In New World Archaeology:

Readings from Scientific American. 1974.

Above: Knowth East Entrance showing Spring Equinox light entering in spite of

attempts on the part of the archaeologists to block the formation of a second and

third lightbeam in the Boyne Valley.

Page 54

5 3


The large monuments in Ireland’s Boyne

Valley are three of the oldest intact stone buildings

anywhere on earth, and they stand at the center of one of

the greatest controversies in archaeological history. They

are also among the oldest temples anywhere on earth,

exceeding similar structures in the Levant and Asia by

thousands of years. They are older than the Pyramids by

a millennium and they are significantly older than Stone-

henge III In fact, legend tells us that the astronomy we

find at Stonehenge was applied in Ireland first.

Here then lies a complex mystery. The simple cairns

and mounds we find scaattered all over Western Europe

are easily dismiised as human dwellings and tombs,

but the larger structures are so complex, so strange and

beautiful that many writers have been drawn to assume

they are the work of extra terrestrials. Admittedly this

technology did not originate in Ireland, but it did come

from somehwere on earth, a peaceful place inhabited by

curious human beings, the first scientists.

Today we can find large stone mounds only in the

extremes of Western Europe, in reote locations near rivers

along the Atlantic tidal basin. Carved and incised stones

surrounding huge mounds can be found in, Scotland,

Britain, Ireland, Spain and Brittany., and almost nowhere

else. Much is known of the mounds themselves, but who

were the artists and architects who built them and why

were they constructed on such a grand scale? Were they

tombs, or where they schools for celestial navigation?

Page 55

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

5 4

To see the world through the eyes of an ancient stone

mason one must study an entire network of mounds be-

yond the Boyne Valley, throughout Ireland, in Portugal,

France and around the Atlantic rim, even those in the New

World. But a number of rigid precon ceptions have inhib-

ited our understand ing of these ancient struc tures.

It is now common knowledge that the sun’s rays illu-

minate the inner chamber of the mound called Newgrange

on the morning of Winter Solstice, but hardly anyone has

attempted to explain ‘why’ this phenomenon occurs. Yes,

the lightbeam has spiritual symbolism, but was it also the

main feature of an early computer system programmed

to track the cosmos?

The ancient Irish mound builders willed us a rich

legacy. Many of the Irish mounds exhibit an almost

unbelievabel degree of technology, but, of necessity, any

further exploration, must focus on Newgrange because

it is the only fully excavated mound open to the public.


As one gazes to the Northwest one can see the Hill of Slane

— famed as the place where Saint Patrick converted the

pagan kings. The fabled Saint did not have far to go. Tara

is five miles away from the Hill of Slane and the Brug na

Boinne is less than two. So from here, on this land drip-

ping with history, a spectator can see most of the places

central to Irish culture for thousands of years.

Above: Pen & Ink

sketch of The Boyne

Valley complex

showing interactive

patterns between the

three major mounds.

The archaeologists

in charge claim

the mounds are

independent of one

another and have no

interactive qualities.

In fact the entire

complex is designed

as one huge temple

complex built to

observe celestial

events over a period

exceeding 800 years.

Page 56


5 5


Newgrange captures a sunbeam, everyone agrees on that because millions of

spectators have seen it. But how it works and what it means falls into the category

of intellectual chaos. More recently most scientists agree that the beam enters

the mound for the purpose of forming a temporal dial of some kind and as such,

the beam operates in some horologic, or calendar function. Not as popular, is the

proven fact that other sunbeams, and moon beams, exist in hundreds of mounds

and temple precincts all over Ireland and Western Europe and that in some cases

these beam dials interact with one another. Not as widely publicized, but easily

demonstrated, are the light beam dials marking the equinox sunrise and sunset

at Knowth and Dowth while several other sites as far away as West Cork (Drum-

beg) and Locmariaquer in Brittany. (Les Table Marchants) feature a formed light

beam to mark specific feast days.

Although Newgrange possesses one of the longest passage beams on

earth, many other locations, operating on the same technology, capture lunar and

solar beams of varying length and for differing purposes.

Since Newgrange represents the most popular beam it will serve to ex-

plain how and why this technology was invented more than 7000 years ago. In

addition, anyone with a pair of scissors and some glue can duplicate these beam

dials in their own backyard.

For eight days, four days on either side of the actual Winter Solstice

event, a sunray has a chance to form inside of Newgrange. This usually takes 17

minutes to complete. However the ray does not form exclusively as it enters the

roof box, it begins to form almost one (1) mile away across the river as the earth

rotates past the sun at the crest of the hill across the Boyne river. This selected

sunray begins to occlude before it crosses the river, strikes several stones and

markers on its journey to the entrance of Newgrange. Each of these way points

tend to collimate, limit or shape the light, mixing bright sun with shadows so that

the light is already selected and limited, or rather, “Conditioned” before it strikes

the southeast face of the mound. As it grows in intensity it enters the mound, not

simply through the roof box, which is marked with eight (8) x patterns, but also

through the entrance way beneath the roof box. It then continues to collimate and

merge as the passage itself shapes the beam into a point.

This pointer is seen to move into the inner chamber of the mound where

it then touches on critical markings etched into the stones along he passage and

in the three niches around the inside of the mound. This light show goes on

for approximately seventeen (17) minutes until the beam finally enters the east

chamber, reflects into the larger basin stone, which, when full of liquid, reflects

the carvings on the stone overhead so they can be read in reverse. Finally, after

revealing the true secret of the mound, the light beam moves out of the passage

and disappears, only to return the following year. The eight (8) x marks on the

roof box, represent the eight potential days of Solstice, depending on weather,

and also the eight collimating and aperture points that form and direct the beam

as the earth orbits the sun.

Page 57

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

5 6

Above and Inset:

Newgrange at Winter Solstice, approximately

9:15 AM. The iron bar across the roof box

casts its shadow though the upper beam. The

two beams merge alongside the undulating

walls of the passage as the floor rises.

Significant markings appear at the exact

point of the merger and a series of ribs are

carved into the stone. This suggests that

wooden planks were inserted to “squeeze” the

beam to maintain its intensity. The aperture

could have been round or oval or triangular

as the operators experimented with the beam

shape. Also, the aperture boards could have

been moved to correct for misalignments and

to help focus the beam. Moreover, the rib

boards could have been used to hold crystals

to create a prism effect.

Page 58


5 7

The River Boyne was known to the Phoenician ge-

ographer Marinus of Tyre around 200 B.C.. In Latin the

river was called Buvinda. In old Irish this would translate

to Boänd, the white cow goddess, wife of Bolga. A late

redaction of the Old Irish brings us to Boinne and finally

the anglicized Boyne. 1

This shining 5500 year old temple on the banks of the

Boyne, can be reached with as little effort as one would

put into an idyllic bicycle ride from the Dublin airport.

No great expedition need be mounted, but Newgrange

is not simplistic like so many other tourists attractions

in Ireland. The name itself is a mystery.

In Gaelic Grian Uaigh means ‘cave of the sun.’ from

Uaimh(oov and n’ oov) cave. The name of Navan, a nearby

town, is derived from the same root. This became a loan

word into English and sounds like the Anglo-Norman

feudal word ‘Grange’ meaning a grain storage place or

grain farm. This term is a synonym for ‘farm building’ or

any building used to store grain to be assessed as taxes

to the baron or overseer or as tithes to a church, but in

this case the name may have been applied long before

the Norman’s arrived and, like many traditions it stuck

allowing Newgrange, as a place, name to remain as a

triple historical pun in local folkloric tradi tion.

Early commentaries used the name, spelled in two

words as, ‘New Grange,’ but we do not know how far

back in antiquity this reference was intended. For other

reasons the two word name does not make sense because

the most widely used name for the precinct around the

mound was Brug na Boinne, an Irish term dating from

the seventh century, still in use today. The early monks,

who wrote about the area, failed to single out any one of

the mounds by name because they were pagan places, but

no one knew just how magnificent it was until Newgrange

was recon structed in the early 1970s. 2

In the Iron Age, and we must assume long before

— because the mounds collapsed in the Bronze Age, the

area was thought to be inhabited by spirits. This folk tradi-

tion, the basis of the Fairy Faith, was never stamped out

by Christians, early or late, and most of the stone circles

in Ireland were placed off-limits to all but the most pious


As far as historians are con cerned the name

Newgrange, as one word, is a medieval construct. This

version is derived from the word granary because, it was

Page 59

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

5 8

known locally that the mound was used to store grain in

one of its incarna tions, possibly under the monks at Mel-

lifont Abbey, since the medieval Latin variant is grainica

from Latin granum — grain. Fatuous expla nations like

this may not be the entire story though because Grainne

(pronounced Graan-ya) is the Irish name for the White

Goddess, the sun Goddess and the Goddess of the grain

harvest. She appears in Arthurian legend as Ygrain Queen

of Cornwall, wife of Uther Pendragon and mother of King

Arthur. So, like many place names in Ireland, the name of

the mound could be a complex Bardic pun, meaning the

cave of the White Goddess, a term designed to provide a

great deal of work for any writer or map maker foolhardy

enough to attempt its decipherment.

That grain was part of the ceremony at Newgrange can

not be in question. The soil in the fertile fields in front of

Newgrange, between the mound and the river itself, is tested

every year and remains among the best in Europe. Grain

must have played an important role in the ritual. Here

the religion of the old stones and the mysteries of Eleusis

seem almost identical. The river is crossed, the pilgrims

walk through grain fields, the Goddess disappears into

a dark cave where she is initiated in a flash of light and

returned. Since the earliest dates from Eleusis are at least

one thousand years younger than the most recent date for

the Boyne civilization it seems rational to conclude that

the Greek mysteries may have been influenced from the

extreme west.

When Newgrange was built it was the center of all

cere monial life in Ireland. Tara may have been the po-

litical center, but the bend in the Boyne was the spiritual

center. Late Bronze Age Irish royalty lived and reigned at

Tara, but they worshipped at the Boyne River monuments

at least until the Celts formed large tribes and separate

forms of government ranging from monarchy to represen-

tative democracy. This can be traced in the Brehon Laws.

Evidence of worship in the old ways is common, even in

modern Ireland.

Based on their language the Continental Celts are said

to have Indoeuropean roots, but the Gaels did not build

the star temples. In fact the mounds were well collpased

by the time the Continetal Gauls arrived in Ireland, but

a vital force, still breathing in the languages of modern

Ireland drives the legend mass — the songs, dances and

folklore of Ireland. This vitality pushes the old mounds

Page 60


5 9

Right: Caretakers

at Newgrange, Mr.

Hickey, seen in the

center, wearing a

cap, lost his arm

in an industrial

accident and was

made caretaker

shortly thereafter.


These photos were taken by the archaeologist George Coffey between 1880

and 1912. The upper photo shows the entrance as it stood for many centuries.

Sometime after Mr. Hickey took over the entrance was excavated so that certain

individuals could crawl into the tumulus. At that same time a gate was added

and the entrance stone was cleaned of moss and lichen. The wooden camera

tripod to the left in the upper photo is an interesting touch. Obviously this was

the first official clearance of the Newgrange entrance and, although the roofbox

is not in view, we can assume that the lower beam was observed by Coffey in

keeping with local history. In other words, the beam was known to the public at

least sixty years before Professor O’Kelly began his excavation. Legend relates

that Mr. Hickey’s fee for a guided tour was a pint of rye whisky.

Left: Mrs.

Hickey and her

daughter Dixie

at the entrance

to Newgrange,

  1. 1912.
Page 61

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

6 0

forward as each new generation ponders their meaning,

and as long as the mounds exist we will be reminded of

the old ones and their magic. It now seems likely that the

Gaels inherited a great deal from the children of Mel and

the people of the fabled god Bolga. (Greek Zeus-Nordic Thor

viz., Thunderer-Thunder Bolt-Lightening Bolt.) Common

sense tells us the mounds were built by people who evolved

into the Celts after merging with hundreds of different

tribes. Mythogenesis from West to East indicates that this

Bolg, associated with both the sound of thunder and the

sight of lightening, carried to Dis Pater in Gaul and was

still worshipped into Roman times, possibly mutating into

Mithras as the Roman legions adopted the various pagan

western gods. It is therefore highly possible that, with each

merger, the knowledge of the mounds disseminated freely

from family to family until late in the Christian era, but

was never completely interdicted in Ireland.


Ninety-seven large kerbstones form the edge of Newgrange.

Twelve of these stones are covered with some of the most

beautiful carvings ever unearthed from the ancient world

Above: Shadow casting

stone in the Great

Circle on the apron

of Newgrange. These

stones were placed in

permanent positions

more then 500 years

after the inauguration

of Newgrange, possibly

by the builders of

Woodhenge, Avebury

and Stonehenge. They

may have learned their

mound building skills

in the Boyne Valley

and translated this

technology back to

England in the form

of Silbury Hill and

Glastonbury Tor.

Note the change in

shading on the wall.


Page 62


6 1

in any era. Most of the other stones are plain, but all are

designed to fit a specific slot in the kerb sequence. This

distancing is critical and ingenious because the beam must

align perfectly on the entrance stone. To get ninety-seven

large kerbstones to fit precisely, so that at least three of

them could line up with astronomical events for 5000

years is beyond the credibility of most observers, but

that’s what’s so wonderful about Newgrange — it looks

like a Bauhaus structure, maybe something designed by

Buckminster Fuller, but it’s as precise as a pyramid.

The entrance stone across the Southeast portal dis-

plays two swirling spiral designs indicating the possibility

that two separate beams enter here. These two spirals are

separated by a deep vertical groove indicating the exact

width and line of the original beam. A kerbstone, located

exactly opposite the entrance stone to the ‘rear’ of the

mound to the Northwest) continues the line through a

heavily carved stone. Obviously the two grooves were

meant to track something, such as a shdow, that passed

over the mound in a straight line.

Another carved stone incorporating spirals and

triangles, can be found on the Northeast flank of

Newgrange. This stone is carved with a twenty-nine day

lunar calendar which will count the lunar month without

reference to the mound itself, although there are many

reasons to think its calculations were part of the mound

ritual and observation regimen.

The twelve large rough hewn stones on the perimeter

Above: The sundial

stone at the east

entrance to Knowth. The

cup mark at the center

is a socket for a wood or

bone gnomon or shadow

casting stick. This stone

is related to the east

passage sunbeam which

measures the Spring

Equinox and acts in

parallel to the beam at


Page 63

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

6 2

Page 64


6 3

of Newgrange are known as the Great Circle. These are dated from the late Neolithic,

almost the Bronze Age circa 2500 b.p.e. and are much younger than the mound itself

by at least 500 years. So, a rough gap of at least 1000 years exists between the con-

struction of Newgrange and the final placement of these great stones. Furthermore

the Great Stone circle is based on an entirely different form of astronomy, a Summer

Solstice orientation rather than Winter solstice and possibly even a different pole star,

even a twelve sided, zodiac year rather than the octagonal lunar year. And we pretty

much know where they came from.

The stones in the Great Circle are almost clones of the rough hewn stones found

at Stonehenge and Avebury in England and Carnac in Brittany. This means that the

people who came later to Newgrange were probably from England or Brittany. In other

words a later generation of astronomers occupied Newgrange and added a ring of their

own design to the already functioning mound.

The stones of the Great Circle also align with other mounds in the Boyne Valley

complex, so whoever placed them — and however different their astronomy — the

architects of the Great Circle knew how the original mound worked. This is evident

because they aligned the outer stones with the lightbeam and used them to cast shad-

ows on certain specific stones in the original kerb. Stone #1 of the Great Circle stands

in alignment with the entrance stone and also aligns along a hypothetical meridian,

with the beautifully carved stone at the rear of the mound on the Northwest side.

Here we see at least two and possibly four or more stages of evolution in architecture

all played out at Newgrange, but in spite of the architectural differences the various

stages work in harmony. This implies that the architects knew about and venerated the

older cultures. They may have even been genetically related to them. Unfortunately,

the idea that these mounds represent multiple occupations over vast periods is not a

Plan of Newgrange showing

the chamber, the passage

and the almost heart

shaped kerb line.

Page 65

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

6 4

popular theme and rubs against current interpretations.

Since professor O’Kelly was never one to rock the boat,

he simply omitted a few salient facts about the dates from

cooking pits found beneath the outer stones. The cooking

pits were dated by recalibrated Bristle cone pine com-

parison to 2200 B.C.. ± 100. This means that the stones

of the Great Circle were erected almost 1000 years after

Newgrange collapsed. In other words it was still in use

as a shdow dial after its primary collapse.

Layering and progressive occupation by various

cul tures are common elements of most dig sites from

Mesopotamia to Koster Farm in Missouri. From a

statistical viewpoint it would be anomalous if these sites

were occupied by one, and only one, culture. To assume

that subsequent layers may have existed, but that the later

occupants had no knowledge of the earlier inhabitants is

ridiculous since the mounds, and their calendar functions,

have always been obvious to anyone who walks by even

in their collapsed state. At Dowth Roman votive coins

have been found from the legions stationed in Wales, so

even tourists from the Roman legions knew about the

sanctity of the monuments. 3

So we are now faced with analyzing not just who did

what in ancient Ireland, but what they did and how their

technology functioned. The best way to discover just

how advanced these people were, and perhaps why they

built such complex stone theaters, is to reconstruct the

lightbeam at Newgrange.


Lightbeams are easy to find, once you start looking for

them. We now know that hundreds of lightbeam mounds

exist in Ireland, England Wales and Brittany and that the

lightbeam technology that built Newgrange extended

from Spain to the North of Scotland, but oddly enough

no two beam setups are identical. Some are short, some

are long, some mark solstices some mark equinox and

cross-quarter days, some are almost dull and faded due

to occluding shrubbery, others are buried and many have

been destroyed by vandals. More importantly some of

them dial moonbeams and others track stars, planets

and, of course, the earth’s rotation in alignment with the

sun. Luckily the beam at Newgrange — the most studied

megalithic lightbeam in the world — the most fascinat-

ing and the most complex, still works. Once you see the

operational technology at Newgrange you will begin to

Page Opposite: The

photo sequence shows

the lightbeam entering

Newgrange throughout

the week of the Winter

Solstice. In 3200 b.c.,

the solstice event was

so important it needed

to be monitored for as

many days as possible,

mainly because one

can never count on

the Irish weather or

the whims of Great

Bolg, the thunder and

lightening god who

seems to have migrated

to Greece as Zeus and

to Mexico as Tloch.

Setting the mound

up in wood would be a

risky business. Nobody

moves 200 tons of

stones into place unless

they want it to survive

the next winter. That

is why the builders

of Newgrange, wisely

observed the heavens

all year long.

Page 66


6 5

Bottom: Newgrange

lower beam, from

inside. Winter Solstice,


Center: Newgrange

outside looking

northwest. Beam splits

into two sections then

merges further up the


Top: Newgrange

outside as beam forms

on Winter Solstice.

Page 67

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

6 6

understand the other sites.

If we could peel the top from Newgrange we would

see a heart shaped, circle defined by the kerbstones. The

passage mouth is guarded by a beautifully carved stone

with a number of spirals on it. This is called the “Entrance

Stone.” Directly in-line with the Entrance Stone, in the

rear of the mound, lies another beautifully carved stone

with intricate patterns of amazing depth and complexity.

This easily could be called the “Exit Stone” but as of this

writing it is known only as # NG-K54. This Northwest

facing stone is rarely seen as it is off limits to tourists.

Above the entrance stone the mound itself holds a

roofbox which forms the first part of the beam. This is

a flat stone setup on smaller stones to form an aperture

box. This stone has a trimmed front edge which is carved

with eight interlaced boxes each with an x pattern across

the center. This pattern has been variously interpreted as

eight quatrefoils and as a series of thirty-one chevrons or

“V” shapes. All of these numbers are important.

The number eight, in general, refers to the eight festival

days of the ancient Atlantic year — the Equinoxes, the

Solstices and the four cross quarter days. It may also refer,

in this specific context, to the number of days the beam

came in during the ancient Winter Solstice season.

Let us now take a closer look at the Newgrange beam,

but try to understand that the stones create the beams.

The dials will operate with or without the carvings. The

only reason the carvings exist at all is to mark exact

event points and to help teach the system. In the purest

sense the carvings are a form of writing, an architectural


With the grassy mound peeled away we would see at

least five important carved stones lined up to intersect the

lightbeam. These either deflect, reflect, shape, or occlude

the beam in some way. Like a modern laser or heliostat

all of the lens and apertures combined would work to

collimate the beam — to make it more coherent. The last

stone in the passage, which is also the “Atlas Stone” and the

first stone of the chamber, possesses a series of ribs which

sharpen the beam on various days, as the process does

go on for about eight days. This stone may have been the

first laid out when construction began. At this point the

lightbeam strikes various markings on upright stones and

seems to “read them.” What the original builders meant

by this is speculative since errors must have cropped up

due to reconstruction of the mound and settling over the

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6 7

The Winter Solstice beam. Overhead view.

The position of the basin stone is theoretical, but

highly probable. The curves in the passage create

a long waveform which converts normal daylight

into a coherent beam when projected through

various horizontal and vertical apertures.

These structures can collimate or split the beam

into different shapes and colors. This technical

marvel is one of the most ingenious designs

found anywhere in the ancient world.

One would be remiss not to mention the

additional probability that the beam may have

been passed through a quartz lens to create

a spectral color display. Bolg, the rainbow

maker, is present in the chamber as the pilgrim

observers the sanctified beam passing through

the visible spectrum. As the drama continues

the true purpose of the beam and the mound is

revealed, but the observer is reminded that this

can only happen under controlled conditions in

the womb of the great mother.

Right: Fully

collimated beam

as seen on Solstice


Left: Normal daylight

and electrical lights as

seen by visitors year



Cutaway of

passage as

the upright

stones and


impinge on

the forming



Page 69

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

6 8

centuries, i.e., the current floor in the inner chamber is at

least fifteen centimeters higher than before reconstruction

— but generally the markings denote astronomy related


The light first moves over the horizon across the

river. This does not occur at dawn, but rather at about

09:45. The town of Duleek on the other side of the hill is

completely bathed in morning light by the time the sun

clears the hilltop, at Ros na Rig, (pronounced Rossnaree)

in front of Newgrange. In a fundamental sense the ridge

line across the river represents the first occlusive device

in this particular beam. Notches and certain other man

made attributes have been observed in a direct Southeast

line along the ridge, but there is no doubt the ridge line

acts as the earth’s horizon in this particular theodolite

or “terrascope,” to coin a phrase. Look carefully and you

will see the line between Ros na Ree and Newgrange. This

is probably one of the most mystical spots on earth.

The background glow of the sky is bright on a clear day,

but no direct sunlight hits the mound. The beam begins

to form when the first few degrees of the suns disk pop

slightly above the horizon . The light from this small arc

begins to illuminate Standing Stone #1 in The Great Circle

outside of the Entrance Stone itself. This is not critical for

the beam event, but shows that the people who built the

Above and

Opposite: Jack

Robert’s renderings

of the entrance to

Newgrange and it’s

carved Roof Box. The

eight chevron patterns

are numerically

critical. The beam

enters the roofbox for

eight days. Note the

slab door to the right

behind the entrance

stone. This slab can

be opened or closed to

any degree across the

lower opening.

Page 70


6 9

Great Circle, 500 years after the dedication of Newgrange,

understood the lightbeam phenomenon. This stone does

add one interesting statement to the overall technology.

Stone #1 covers the Entrance Stone in a shadow dur-

ing the event. If Stone #1 were wrapped in wicker and

perhaps took the form of a taller, more slender, gnomon

it would cast a very precise finger shadow on the Entrance


The growing beam now moves to about twenty-five

percent of the suns disc above the horizon. The white

quartz begins to glow yellow and orange and remains

aglow for the entire length of the event — approximately

twenty minutes.

The face of the Entrance Stone grows brighter as the

suns rays angle down from the increasing horizon angle.

The disk is now fifty percent exposed and is obviously at

its widest profile relative to the horizon. Here the depth

of field is very flat and details seem blurry. As the earth

rotates, the suns angle moves up to enter the passage

opening and the light begins to slide between two roof

slabs set up to create an opening called the “Roofbox.”

The stone below the roofbox is etched with a number

of masons marks which were probably used to align the

stone before the capstone was permanently fixed. Here

the passage is moving to create a coherent light source

almost like a modern laser. Astonishing as this seems the

beam splitter is fundamental to most functional lasers in

use today.

Now we have two beams in the process of focusing to

a point somewhere down the passage. The upper beam

has been cut by a rectangular aperture in a horizontal

axis, the lower beam has been cut into a much taller,

but quickly shortening vertical axis. The deployment of

a split beam is not uncommon in megalithic technology.

Roofbox stone at

Newgrange. (detail)

Jack Roberts

Page 71

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

7 0

A moonbeam, Cairn T, Loughcrew also splits into two

sections and the roofbox concept can be seen in various

forms at Knowth and Dowth.

Now both beams are dull orange in color and both

are softer to a camera light meter. The beams remain

separate, capable of deeper penetration, but the upper

beam is now very narrow and is already penetrating into

the end recess of the main chamber. This is the home of

the famed triple spiral. The lower beam however is still

edging up the floor of the passage.

Both beams strike marks on stones as the earth moves.

A special stone designated R12, because it is the twelfth

stone on the right side of the passage, is dressed with

three rib-like marks and some indentations. These are

time alignment marks and have to do with the variations

in the days of the event. These are also masons alignment

marks so that the beam can be set up again if the mound

were to collapse. They may also be placement marks for

a wooden or bone shutter.

The upper beam never comes near the marks on R12,

but it does intersect with a stack of zigzags on stone R18.

It is here that the two beams glow so close to each other

that they potentiate or “help” each other along. We can

now see that the earth (its false horizon aligned with the

passage) is moving. The beam does not move along the

passage it just appears to move. The entire observatory

is rotating triaxially to remain in line with the sun. Here

we see the two basal motions of our planet, it spins rela-

tive to a false horizon and it orbits relative to the sun. It

doesn’t take long to realize that this could not have been

set up unless the builders already knew that the sun was

a fixed object.

The ribbed stone squares the upper beam so that it

can penetrate into the inner chamber. The lower beam

then traverses a gradient in the passage and negotiates

another slight curve, which again shapes it. The beams

begin to merge before the floor gradient begins, around

stone number R4, not at L19 as suggested by Brennan,

but the mechanics and optics of Newgrange are only now

being scrutinized. Clearly the markings on L19 and L22

relate to the beam’s alignment and calibration.

I can not be sure what the mound builders had in

mind, but I am sure I observed a spectrum of light, not

two beams, nor a single beam with two phases, but a

combined, fully collimated, coherent lightbeam something

unique in the ancient world. In the original ceremony, the

Page 72


7 1

lower door could have been shut admitting only the upper

light or, conversely, the roofbox could have been plugged

admitting only the lower light. No one knows just what

the difference would be, or even if a certain ritual was

performed for different beams at different times. Perhaps

the dual purpose of the beam had to do with assurances

against bad weather, but whatever the reason we know

the beam functions along a laser survey line which neatly

divides the mound into two hemispheres, like the earth

itself. We also know that the inner chamber at Newgrange

is sur rounded by three smaller chambers called recesses,

each containing a basin stone. These, when viewed from

above, create a perfect cross similar to the Celtic crosses

seen all over Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With my own

eyes and with a number of witnesses I saw the sweeping

beam inscribe a cross of light in the inner chamber at

Newgrange. Is this not similar to a Christian ritual?


Now let us look back down the passage toward the

entrance, as if we were seated on the floor of the main

chamber, roughly in the position once occupied by the

smaller basin stone. From this spot we see a small bright

isosceles triangle glowing in the distance. The glow does

not change and our focus becomes almost dream like.

The beam is moving towards us at a rate of about one

meter per minute. This motion is a linear translation of

the earth’s rotation. The brightest portion of the beam

hits us right between the eyes, the dull portion sweeps

across the floor in front of us.

Obviously the inner chamber marks out a sacred

space. Perhaps the ground beneath this space was divine

even before the mound was built. The center is the point

of origin and the point of return, but it is also the point of

stasis. When the sunbeam enters the chamber in Winter

the plan is complete and the triple spiral is ani mated.

It should now be clear to anyone seated in the center

of the chamber that the sun is fixed and that the earth is

moving. Here then we see the real instructional mystery

behind almost all Neolithic beam technology. The idea

wasn’t just to passively keep track of the clocks of the

cosmos so that the bones of the dead would be saturated

with sacred light, no, the idea was to use this chamber

to actively initiate Neolithic pilgrims into the deepest of

all mysteries — the fact that the sun stands still in the

center of the solar system. One might even suggest that

Page 73

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

7 2

lower door could have been shut admitting only the upper

light or, conversely, the roofbox could have been plugged

admitting only the lower light. No one knows just what

the difference would be, or even if a certain ritual was

performed for different beams at different times. Perhaps

the dual purpose of the beam had to do with assurances

against bad weather, but whatever the reason we know

the beam functions along a laser survey line which neatly

divides the mound into two hemispheres, like the earth

itself. We also know that the inner chamber at Newgrange

is sur rounded by three smaller chambers called recesses,

each containing a basin stone. These, when viewed from

above, create a perfect cross similar to the Celtic crosses

seen all over Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With my own

eyes and with a number of witnesses I saw the sweeping

beam inscribe a cross of light in the inner chamber at

Newgrange. Is this not similar to a Christian ritual?


Now let us look back down the passage toward the

entrance, as if we were seated on the floor of the main

chamber, roughly in the position once occupied by the

smaller basin stone. From this spot we see a small bright

Above: Aerial view of

Newgrange c. 1968.

The mound was not

reconstructed correctly.

Please note the lynchet

marks and socket holes

on the flat top area.

O’Kelley erroneously

reconstructed it into

a dome eventhough

he had thgis photo

survey at his disposal.

Some researchers think

the mound featured

a wooden platform

something like Silbury

Hill in England. The

platform would have

provided a perfect

observation site and

an ideal location for a

sundial or gnomon stone.

Page 74


7 3

isosceles triangle glowing in the distance. The glow does

not change and our focus becomes almost dream like.

The beam is moving towards us at a rate of about one

meter per minute. This motion is a linear translation of

the earth’s rotation. The brightest portion of the beam

hits us right between the eyes, the dull portion sweeps

across the floor in front of us.

Obviously the inner chamber marks out a sacred

space. Perhaps the ground beneath this space was divine

even before the mound was built. The center is the point

of origin and the point of return, but it is also the point of

stasis. When the sunbeam enters the chamber in Winter

Right: The main

chamber at Newgrange

looking North as

photographed by Coffey

about the time of the

Easter Rebellion, 1916.

The mounds were often

used by the Finnians

to store guns and


This photo supports

the belief that the

smaller basin stone

(the beam quern or

solar cauldron) was

located in the center of

the chamber prior to

O’Kelly’s excavation.

Page 75

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

7 4

the plan is complete and the triple spiral is ani mated.

It should now be clear to anyone seated in the center

of the chamber that the sun is fixed and that the earth is

moving. Here then we see the real instructional mystery

behind almost all Neolithic beam technology. The idea

wasn’t just to passively keep track of the clocks of the

cosmos so that the bones of the dead would be saturated

with sacred light, no, the idea was to use this chamber

to actively initiate Neolithic pilgrims into the deepest of

all mysteries — the fact that the sun stands still in the

center of the solar system. One might even suggest that

the mound was primarily designed to teach heliocentrism

in its most easily discernible and visceral form.

Copernicus explained this in a mathematical sense

more than four centuries ago, but until you can actually

see the beam acting as evidence of the earth’s move-

ment against the fixed sun, you will remain geocentric,

and,basically, ignorant. This is the difference between two

and three dimensional thought — the difference between

black and white and color, between stereo and monaural

sound. We think we are enlightened because we hear

music, until a new technology comes along and allows

us to hear that same music in full surround stereo. We

Above: Newgrange,

capstone over passage

cracked during

reconstruction. Zigzags

and chevron or diamond

patterns indicate the

flow of days as reckoned

by the rising and setting

of the sun. This pattern

may also be associated

with the seasonal rising

of Cassiopeia.

This capstone appears

almost identical to the

one located at Fourknocks

overlooking the Boyne

Valley about 12 miles

to the south in County


Page 76


7 5

think we are going fast in the family sedan on a country

road until we ride a Turbo motorcycle on the freeway.

The lightbeam at Newgrange, and the other beams in the

megalithic sphere are teaching us that we must now see

the sun as the center of the solar system everyday and in

reality, not as some theoretical possibility that only effects


Just before the upper beam enters the main chamber

it strikes an upright pillar stone designated R21, meaning

it is the twenty-first stone on the right side of the passage.

This stone may have been the first stone erected and could

easily be referred to as “The Axis Stone.” Now we see that

the beam has touched stones on both sides of the passage

and is now busy “illuminating ” or inscribing the walls.

At Newgrange the upper and lower beam meet three

feet above ground level at the point of the first collima-

tion curve. Not coincidentally the gradual up-ramp also

begins at this point. The beam forms first as the sun

enters through the lower doorway. From there it makes

its way towards the central passage where it parallels and

finally merges with the upper beam as it shines through

Below: View of the Boyne

River Valley looking west

from Newgrange toward

Tara and Knowth. An

astronomer standing

on top of the mound

can also see Dowth

to the east. Note the

ritual circle in front of

entrance stones. The

dotted line represents

the suns path on Winter

Solstice. These passage

temples appear to be

direct developments of

the Mesolithic court

cairns. This implies that

an unbroken chain of

belief came down to the

mound builders from

the earliest times.

Page 77

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

7 6

its roofbox aperature.

I have observed the beam formation at Newgrange on

a number of occasions and I assure you the beam arrives

through two distinct pathways. In the Winter of 1983, I

placed a series of prisms and reflectors in the beam on

Winter Solstice. A highly polished leaded quartz crystal

placed in the center of the main chamber about six inches

above the present floor level burst into prisms of light when

struck by the orange-yellow beam. When the beam struck

this device I began to spray mist from a water bottle to

simulate steam. As expected the main beam refracted

into colored rays. The effect was only momentary, but I

realized, at that point that these ancient mounds were

designed to do this. They may have been tombs, but they

were tombs full of light. The builders knew about prisms,

lenses, apperatures and refractive technology. Why else

Above: Newgrange

before reconstruction

as seen from across the

River Boyne.

Page 78


7 7

would they use so much quartz, hauled from so many

miles away?

The symbolic number “8” pops up again. Is this the

meaning of the eight squares across the leading edge of

the roofbox? Was I watching the exact moment of Sol-

stice, the event most celebrated by the mound builders?

The basin stone must have had a similar effect when

filled with polished quartz stones or coated with shin-

ing quartz powder. Perhaps the basin wasn’t used for

anything more than a seat for a human being who held

a lens as the beam entered — this may sound odd, but

stranger things have been suggested. Perhaps the build-

ers thought the beam had curative powers. Perhaps a fire

was created by concentrating the beam on a magnyfiying

lens. One theory postulates that a woman was positioned

in that exact location so that the beam would penetrate

her, or conversely that the beam would bathe the nativity

of a newbron child in a supernal light, thus making the

fertility ritual complete.

After the beam crosses the basin stone it continues to

the tenth stone inside the chamber. From there it works

its way to the triple spiral through a complex series of

maneuvers. Many people think the triple spiral is located

at the back of the North or “End” chamber, directly in line

with the beam as it enters, but this is not so. The famed

triple spiral is actually incised on the posterior face of the

eastern stone (the rightmost support stone) of the end

Above: Browneshill

Dolmen, County

Carlow. The capstone

is the largest in

Ireland and weighs

approximately 100

tons. A huge chunk

of glacial stone

was quarried and

dragged to the site.

No tomb or burial

was found. Structures

like this demonstrate

how various

experiments were

tried. The builders

of Newgrange were

not space people.

They tried and failed

hundreds of times.

Newgrange is only

one record of their


Page 79

The Stones of Ancient Ireland

7 8


Orpen, Goddar 1894. p. 115-128.

Joyce, P.W. Wonders of Ireland. p131

Irish Place Names, Fred Hanna Ltd. Dublin

Newgrange is now calibrated to 3500 b.c. ± 200. The Great Circle stones date 2200-1890 b.c. thus

a period of almost 1500 years might have elapsed between the construction of the mound and the

erection of the stone circle and yet both building groups understood the functions of the mound.

This can only mean that information was passed on from one society to the other, even beyond the

clan or tribe.

Santillana, G. Hamlet’s Mill.

The beam phenomenon is terrestrial and geodesic. The beam begins to form above

the real horizon using the ridge line across the Boyne to the Southeast near Donore

village. Several marker stones have been located that would indicate the alignment

was originally made at that point. If this is correct then there are eight actual points

of collimation in the formation of the beam, two outside the tumulus and five inside.

In this hypothesis both the roof box and the door portal act as beam splitters. In other

words, the beam is rough formed before it ever gets to the mounds entrance itself. This

is astonishing technology for a tribe of Neolithic farmers. One can almost forgive the

ludites who think this came from extraterrestrials, but it didn’t—it was built by our


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