Last Thursday the students of Coláiste Chú Chulainn set off on a bright, brisk, Wintery morning to visit several sites of both historical and artistic significance in southern Louth and Meath.
Our first port of call was the historic ruins of Monasterboice, an early Christian settlement founded in the 5th century just north of Drogheda. The students were afforded the chance to get up close and personal with the fantastic high cross of Muirdeach, which features biblical carvingsof both the Oldand New Testamentsof the Bible and is regarded as the finest high cross in the whole of Ireland.
Our next stop was the Battle of the Boyne visitor centre, where students learned about the largest ground battle ever to take place on Irish soil between King William’s ‘Williamite’ army and King James’ ‘Jacobites’ in the year 1690. Students watched a laser show depicting where and how the battle took place, as well as a short live action film showing the horrors of the battle. The artifacts on show included canons and muskets used at the time and correspondence from both camps.
And lastly, after a little bit of rest and relaxation we made our way towards the Neolithic tombs at Newgrange. Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange there is a opening called a roof-box. This baffling orifice held a great surprise for those who unearthed it. Its purpose is to allow sunlight to penetrate the chamber on the shortest days of the year, around December 21, the winter solstice. One of students had been lucky enough to witness this event last December having won a place in the tomb by entering the Newgrange art competition.
A fantastic day was had by all, and hopefully with a bit of luck this will become an annual expedition!