Secret Sights describes the elements that made up ancient Ireland, both in Celtic and pre-Celtic times, and re-constructs its customs, rituals and beliefs. Such well-known sites, the ones with all the tourist infrastructure in place, are of course covered but Secret Sights goes way beyond the obvious. The less well-known locations are not so easily tamed, in their primal and often broken state. But in that condition of nature, they are accessible to our senses and our imagination in a way that sometimes allows uninterrupted experience and personal interpretation. Robert Vance demonstrates, through pictures and description, that many of these spaces exist in Ireland, metaphorical gaps in time and space where mythology and imagination combine to repair the temporal gap of twenty centuries. The book begins with a general introduction and then examines the various ancient sites on a county-by-county basis. Many ancient places remain undisturbed and relatively unexcavated.
These enigmatic sites, some early Christian and many pagan, often in remote parts of the countryside, retain what a religious person would describe as 'presence', that indefinable sense of recent habitation by something extra-sensory. The texts are complemented by the author's own stunning photography.