Book Picture Graves and Gold in Ireland

We were in Carney, a small village north of Sligo and out towards the Lissadell House and west of Drumcliffe North where W. B. Yeats is buried. After an interesting day where we toured the area we settled on this restaurant for dinner but before we were served we were invited to spend time in the pub.

There was a group of young men from a rugby club celebrating at the bar. They were quite excited about their victory that afternoon so we moved into the area of the snugs which are reserved for couples and older individuals. Directly across from us was an elderly couple quietly sipping their drinks. Their drinks were much advanced over our pints of Guinness. They smiled and we returned their smiles. After a few awkward bits of conversation it became more comfortable. Soon they were talking about their life in Ireland which we found very interesting.

They asked if we were on holiday and we agreed we were. The wife said they had never been on holiday because her husband never wanted to leave the farm which meant he never wanted to leave his chickens. They depended on him. He had to be there to feed and water them and collect the eggs. This brought on a lovely discussion of Voltaire's Candide and the idea of being content within oneself. No need for outside stimulation if you were in fact satisfied with yourself.

They listened politely while we explained how much fun we were having in Ireland. I told them how much I enjoyed the old menhirs (a menhir is a large upright standing stone and may be found singly as monoliths, or as part of a group of similar stones), cromlechs, dolmens, wedge tombs, various types of graves and other antiquities.

A bright gleam came to their eyes and they told us that just recently they were plowing one of their fields when they turned up a Beaker culture urn (ca. 2800 1900 BC, is the term for a widely scattered cultural phenomenon of prehistoric Western Europe starting in the late Neolithic running into the early Bronze Age. The term was coined by John Abercromby, based on their distinctive pottery drinking vessels). This led to a discussion of metal detectors and they said they must get one.

Underneath the urn they found a gold ring. This was exciting to hear. They said they pocketed the gold and called the university in Dublin to report the find but didn't mention the gold. The government came out and put up a yellow tape barrier to prevent access to the area. They complained that the artifacts would be removed to Dublin and put in a box somewhere and never see the light of day again. If they had mentioned the gold that would have been confiscated as well. He had to plow around this area and was not sure when he'd gain the use of his land again. They reasoned that since the gold ring was below the pottery and not actually inside, it could be considered a totally different find. I liked their logic. The experience left them on the look out for another buried treasure. The conversation was getting more and more interesting when the waitress came to tell us our table was ready in the restaurant.

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All images contained herein are for viewing only and under the exclusive copyright of the artist. Phil Terry 1997-2012