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.
In ancient Ireland, our ancestors found significance and meaning in everything, not just people and animals but in such things as the seasons, the wind, dreams, and so on. It’s hardly surprising, then, that certain numbers took on sacred meaning too. The number 5 crops up quite a lot in Irish mythology, but why? And what does it mean?