On Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 5:51 PM, Dennis King <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Here is an article in the English edition of Der Spiegel that discusses a
> widespread underground mystery:
> Leaving aside where the Irish monks were tattooed and whether they brought
> "druidic" concepts with them to Europe, what I'm curious about is where the
> Irish and Scottish underground galleries are and what has been written about
> them. Anyone?
> They seem to be referring to souterrains, tunnels found usually in
association with ringforts or Early Christian monasteries all over Ireland.
Have a look at Mark Clinton's *The Souterrains of Ireland *published by
Wordwell, published 2001. There are various theories put forward for
souterrains: that they were cellars for storing butter, or that they were
hiding places to get away from Viking raiders. Folklore has embroidered
happily on the theme: Iniscealtra is supposed to have a passage linking the
island with the mainland, and when Cromwell attacked the monks were able to
save themselves by escaping through it. Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin
supposedly has a tunnel that runs under the Liffey and emerges at the Four
Courts on the other side, A Jacobean soldier wandered in one time when the
opening was left briefly ajar: he was discovered centuries later, the
skeletal fingers still clutching at the door. Nearly every ruined castle in
the land is said to have tunnels under it, 'stuffed with gold'.
Going down into souterrains is a tricky buisiness. Many of them have
collapsed in places, and even the intact ones can be very tight here and
there. Some open out into chambers big enough for several people to stand
upright. And yes, Scotland has souterrains, too.
Fascinating that similar things are found in Bavaria and in Central France.
As far as I know, nobody has ever interpreted the Irish ones as pagan
structures or funereal monuments, or if they did, it never seems to have
made it into the forefront of public awareness.