Eamhain Mhacha...Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice at Eamhain Mhacha 2010
Emain Macha now known as Navan Fort, is situated in the North of Ireland a few miles west of Armagh. It is the Prehistoric capital of Ulster. Where the legendary King Conchobar and the warriors of the Red Branch of Ulster had their base. It is more likely to have been a ritual site rather than a defensive site. It now appears as a large mound inside a circular hilltop enclosure. It links up to other sites in the area which includes Lough na Shade nearby where a remarkable bronze trumpet was found in the 18th century.
There is evidence it was occupied in the Neolithic period four to five thousand years ago and also from 600 - 100 B.C. Excavation has shown that the area was enlarged during the 1st Century B.C. and a complex structure 120 feet in diameter was built, consisting of five concentric circles of about 275 posts, with a large central post approximately 36 feet in height. With its original roof this structure formed a huge conical building, very similar to those described in the sagas.
Within a relatively short period of its building, boulders were piled between the posts and the entire structure was set alight. The remains were then covered with earth and turf eventually creating the grassy mound which can be seen today. Archaeologists suggest that this burning and mound-building was of religious significance.