Romaer

    The incline didn’t vary as they continued downwards, and curved gently to the left, concealing the entrance and closing off the daylight. The tunnel that gently sloped down into the distance was illuminated by the radiant glow of the crystalline rock itself which appeared to be luminous, and the tunnel was wide enough to accommodate several people walking abreast, and it was as high as it was wide. A paved path led ahead, flanked by gravelled areas and small terraces and other structures that defied identification in the half-light. A sort of ante-chamber. As they drew deeper into the mountainside through another tunnel, with apparently no transition they entered a large cavern, and as they moved further into the natural hall its walls receded out of sight, towards a ceiling so high that it remained unseen. As a natural cave it was huge. Ruth had never been in or seen or imagined an internal structure so vast. It was big enough to contain a cathedral. In the centre was a huge statue of a woman, two man-heights high. She was holding a large dish in her hands, from which water trickled and tinkled down a channel into a small moat that surrounded her. Between the figure and the moat burning braziers illuminated the sculpture and the area round about. Ruth later learned that the sculpture was of the god Danu, the mother of all gods in the Celtic pantheon. A small stream seeped across the floor of the cavern in its own channel, feeding the moat and continuing beyond, into the darker depths. Two small bridges afforded passage across the stream. People came into and out of view, alone or in groups, some with children in attendance and all going about their business and paying little attention to Ruth and the others.

   
As she passed from the world under the sky her eyes slowly adjusted to the lower light level and the complexity of the underground space became more apparent. She discerned that the floor was not all of one level, but split into terraced flat areas, some higher and some lower than the area around the god figure. The walls were punctuated with openings and steps leading both up and down. On the far side of the cavern they entered another tunnel whose entrance was flanked by colourful sculpted and painted figures, self-illuminated by the crystalline rock they were hewn from.