January 10, 2004
Last night we went to the historic Abbey Theatre to see the play Aristocrats. The play was well performed, and the actors' portrayals of the characters lightened the somewhat dark tone of the play. One of the characters had a distinctive "HAHAAA!" laugh that everyone picked up on and proceeded to emulate later.
Today's excursion was really exciting for me. It was the first time that we got to see the true beauty of the Irish countryside, and it was spectacular. We traveled out to Newgrange to see a passage tomb, made a stop at Monaster Boice, and then went on to Kilmainham Gaol.
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At Newgrange we saw the Boyne Valley, where the battle of the Boyne took place between King James II and William of Orange. But the highlight was the tomb. The magnificent 5,000-year-old structure was a marvel. The structure consisted of a long passageway that opened up under a mound forming a tomb. I was amazed at how sophisticated the building was for its period of construction. It's situated so that the sun of the winter solstice will light up the chamber inside for 17 minutes of the day. And a drainage system was purposefully carved out so that water wouldn't dampen the burial chamber.
On route to the gaol (or as we say jail), John took a detour by Monaster Boice. This was a graveyard set upon an old monastery. The tower can still be seen in the center. The old Celtic cross headstones were a sight to see. I was fascinated and intrigued by the hand-carved stone. One head stone had a carving of Adam and Eve in the garden with Eve giving Adam the applevery interesting.