Dragons' Stable (Maeshowe)
"They stood before a small doorway in an odd, conical hill, the only one on this flat plain."
or Maes Howe (pronounced "mays how") is a large stone monument encased in an earthen
mound close to the Standing Stones of Stenness on Mainland in Orkney. It was
built about 5000 years ago, around 3000 BC, and is as old as the
pyramids of Egypt.
The outside doesn't prepare you for the magnificent interior. One of the best sources of information about Maeshowe is
the Orkneyjar Maeshowe Main Page.
Notice that this links to many other pages of information via the
menu on the right hand side. This monument was originally built
so that the sun would shine into the passageway at midwinter, but
by Pictish times, the significance of this would have been
lost. Another very fine page is Robert Pollock's Stones of Wonder Maes Howe Page. You can see what the inside of the monument looks like by going to the Stone Pages Maes Howe quicktime panorama. This is a wonderful view, but you don't get a sense of how big and awe-inspiring the monument really is.
We don't know what the Picts would
have called this monument. In my story, it's called Dragons' Stable. At
an important point in Dragon Seer,
Madoca looks beyond the circle of standing stones to find that Dragons'
Stable is not where is should be. This is how Maeshowe looks from
inside the Standing Stones of Stenness. It's the small green
hill on the right hand side of the photo in the brown hay field.