There is a cave at Cruachan. Its small dark mouth yawns at your feet beneath a shroud of hawthorn bushes, and is never lit up by the sun. You can slide your way in, if you dare. The only way is supine on your belly, sinuous as a snake in the thick blackness, or on your back, enclosed so closely that the rock wall brushes your skin as you pass, the weight of the earth pressing on your consciousness, on your lungs, filling you with the fear of rockfalls, of demonic creatures which burst through from the Otherworld, of the terrible Goddess of strife and death we call the Morrigan, of the dread that once inside, you will become trapped, unable to ever return to the surface.
Dún Dealgan means ‘the stronghold of Dalgan’ in Irish. According to legend, long before it became the home of Ulster’s hero, Cuchulainn, it was originally the site of a fortress constructed by a Fir Bolg chieftain by the name of Delga.
The mighty Proleek Dolmen is a portal tomb which dates from around 3000BC, and which lies in the heart of Cuchullain country. However, this iconic monument is associated with another hero of Irish mythology, the giant, Fionn mac Cumhail. The ‘Giant’s Table’ is another name for the dolmen, which actually comes from a Breton word ‘tolmen’ which means ‘stone table’.
According to legend, there were once five great roads which led to the Hill of Tara. The Annals of the Four Masters claim they magically appeared on the night of King Conaire’s birth. Just a story, or is their any evidence that Ireland really was criss-crossed by these five arterial lines of communication?
EMAIN MACHA, also known by the name of Navan Fort, is real and still standing today, and like the Hill of Tara, and Cruachan, is open to the general public to access, free of charge.