After a few minutes, we arrived at the Celtic Shrine, believed to be thousands of years old. Its high altar, once used for human sacrifices, was flanked on either side by chapels or crypts. Yet, despite the caves’ bloody, pagan past, they still managed to possess the grandeur and stillness of their above-ground Christian counterparts. The guide flashed his light around the crusty, dry walls, then collected our lamps.
“Now stay here. I’m going around the corner.” Our guide left us in the dark, in more ways than one.
We waited. The total darkness stretched and teased out the seconds the guide, and the light, was away. The dark was velvet thick and seemed as impenetrable as a stone wall. We could not see our hands. Half a minute seemed liked two, which seemed like an eternity. It was eerie, almost frightening, to be enveloped in such blackness and silence. Quite suddenly we heard a loud banging sound that echoed and resonated for perhaps half a minute, an indescribable noise bounced around the walls until the dark slowly swallowed it up. Then the guide shuffled back towards us and handed back our lamps with a grin.
“What do you think?” he asked excitedly. We were speechless.