on August 31, 1999
In the 1960's Michael O'Kelly and his team of student archaeologists restored the megalithic structure known as Newgrange. This book presents his findings and speculation on the ancient tumulus, and written and pictorial accounts of the reconstruction works itself.
Although the existence of the structure was known since Charles Campbell discovered it in 1699, its premier significance as a repository of ancient art, architecture and symbolism was never fully realised until Prof. O'Kelly and his team set about their work. The phenomenon of the roofbox, which for 7 minutes at dawn on the days of the winter solstice fills the central chamber with light, is incredible. I have visited the site more than 30 times, and had the privilege of a solstice viewing in 1994. I cannot recall a more fundamentally spiritual experience in my life.
This book has it all. The non-academic reader (I am one such!) may find certain sections a little turgid, but there are plenty of discussions on the mythology and symbolism to compensate for all the facts and figures if the latter don't suit. The illustrations are superb (photos, maps,pen/ink); the footnotes comprehensive, the objective analysis is compelling and the whole project just so worthwhile.
The reader can also enjoy placing their own interpretations on the significance of the carvings, objet d'art and the Solstice phenomenon, and be just as valid as anyone else. After all, the original builders left this earth 6500 years ago and didn't leave a users manual!!
Enjoy. 5 Stars (and the sun and moon as well!)