I woke up about 6, had some yogurt and fruit and coffee with some fellow lottery winners, a couple from California, and walked to the visitors center at 7. It was the first time I’d been out that early, so I can’t say whether the fact that there were stars on the horizon was unusual, but it certainly felt propitious.
At the visitors center, I spotted a woman sitting alone, and uncharacteristically asked if I could join her. Coincidentally, she turned out to be Mia, a Belgian native who works as art historian in Dublin and is occasionally a guide for Mary Gibbons, whose tour Trisha and I took in the spring and whom I’d invited to be my solstice guest. Even more coincidentally, Mia was a lottery winner herself. We were joined by Mia’s solstice guest, Pat, a high school Irish teacher who on weekends drives a tour bus for Mary. Mary arrived just as we were about to board a bus up to the site, having nearly overslept.
The weather was holding as we took the bus up the hill.
And walked up the hill to the tumulus, where Druids and others were gathered:
The orthostats on the right are part of a fragmented ring of nine stones that were placed around the tumulus a thousand years after the tomb was built.
The weather continued to hold over the Boyne, though the clouds on the left were getting that look that clouds get just before they obscure a rising sun.
But as you already know, we were about to hit the jackpot:
Here’s another angle. Sorry about the focus problem:
Here’s Mary Gibbons, a woman who talks for a living and who could say only: “Extraordinary,” over and over.
Here’s Mary outside, followed by Pat. Inside, I had to ask Pat for a tissue, since we were both in tears. He gave me a whole packet, which I needed.
Mia (l.) and Leontia Lenahan, supervisor of Newgrange guides and our guide in the chamber today.
“Druids” at kerbstone 52 (O’Kelly: “…rivals the entrance stone in the quality of its ornament….):