Executive Summary: Buy, it's worth every penny.
Q. Why do we write?
A. Because we can do no other?
People who don't write tend not to understand what the drivers are: "Another damned fat book, Mr. Gibbon? Scribble, scribble, scribble, eh Mr. Gibbon?" as either the Duke of Gloucester (or his brother King George III) quipped when presented with another volume of Gibbons' monumental Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The whole +1.5million words of Gibbons' history is still in the public domain (with multiple backup copies against Armageddon), but the majority of Sophocles' plays have been crumbled in the dust of history.
|Bob the Builder pic: C.Corlett|
Our Ringstone is in there, and I am now less inclined to knock our neolithic craftsman as the Knockroe Apprentice by comparison with the work of the Rathgeran Master, which "is probably the best in Ireland" and less that 4km away. Some of the entries in the book look quite sketchy with only a few cup-marks and no rings. Harrumph, I said, if those can make the cut and into the book, I'll go out and have another look at the earthbound boulder that is barely surfacing in the field next to our house. This huge buried boulder carries a single circular indentation, maybe 3cm across and 2cm deep in the middle of its grassy tonsure. I've always assumed that the dent was made in the last 100 years with a club hammer and a cold-chisel as the start of a hole to hold a stick of dynamite; now I'm not so sure. We definitely have a field-wall made up predominantly of shattered granite, so dynamiting was part of local field-clearing practice. And the fact that the hole was unfinished merely adds it to a long catalogue of abandonned rock-splitting attempts that litter the hillsides hereabouts.
On the other hand, several of my neighbours say that they have found rock-art further up on the hillside while searching for fraochán [bilberries Vaccinium myrtillus R] when they were children . . . and haven't been able to re-locate the spot now that they realise it's of interest. We should host a massive meitheal to walk our hill lifting the heather to scrutinise the surface of each rock . . . and don't forget the GPS-phones!