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17 October 2017
Illuminating discovery at megalithic tomb in Kerry

A hillwalker in west Kerry (Ireland) has made a stunning discovery which connects a 4,000-year-old tomb with the equinox. The megalithic tomb, known as the Giant's Grave, is situated in the valley of Loch an Dúin on the eastern side of the Conor Pass. The tomb has been carved with ancient rock art, including a cup and circle at the head of the monument.
     For the past 14 years Daithí Ó Conaill, a retired school principal, has visited the site during the winter and summer solstice hoping to make a connection between the tomb and the sun. He has now discovered that the wedge tomb is actually aligned to the setting sun of the equinox, which last occurred on Friday 22 September.
     As the sun sets directly into a 'V' shaped valley in the distant Brandon mountain range, a shaft of light enters the wedge tomb, illuminating the chamber and the rock art at the head of the tomb. The event can be witnessed at sunset for a number of days either side of the equinox.
     Archaeologist Míchéal Ó Coiléain who has carried out extensive surveys in Loch an Dúin said it was a stunning discovery, providing a fine example of the engineering brilliance demonstrated by the people who constructed it.

Edited from RTE News (26 September 2017)

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