The stone? Our people in pre-Christian times (and indeed after St. Patrick) went into the next world clutching a stone in their hand, and the rhymers went from house-to-house entertaining neighbours and friends, carrying that stone.
In “The Last Mummer” Seamus Heaney wrote the Rhymer, “carries a stone in his pocket and an ash plant under his arm”.
Archaeological evidence from grave sites in Ireland dating from the late Celtic, early Christian period indicates that the practice of carrying a stone dates from the earliest historic period. Was this stone perhaps a memory of the meteor which fell from the sky and devastated Ulster?
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is Ireland’s leading centre for astronomical research and education. The Observatory was opened in 1790 by Archbishop Robinson and continues to do cutting-edge research to this day.
As part of Archbishop Robinson’s plans to start a university in the city, he founded the Armagh Observatory on one of the prominent hills. It is the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland.
The Planetarium and Observatory Hill have hosted performances by The Armagh Rhymers on many occasions. Whether it’s engaging school children in STEAM or performing fire rituals on the Solstice.
CLICK HERE to find out more about performances at Armagh Observatory & Planetarium.