An American astronaut who was command module pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission that flew to the moon in 1971 was in Limerick this week for a launch of a different kind.

Al Worden was in Lough Gur on Tuesday for the launch of the Lough Gur Spirit of Place Celebration which will take place on 10th and 11th October. The Spirit of Place event was initially created to address the recurring question, raised by residents and visitors alike, “What exactly is it about Lough Gur that makes it such an intriguing place?” The answer is that there are many elements that add to the wonder and awe of Lough Gur. The Spirit of Place weekend will put all of these elements into one pot and through a series of public lectures, talks and contemplative tours, will offer possible answers and raise new questions for everyone who attends. The programme will include the investigation of Ireland’s largest stone circle under the light of archaeoastronomy. The discipline marries astronomy and archaeology to contemplate and explore what exactly these sites may have been used for over 6,000 years ago. Although similar to sites such as Stonehenge and Newgrange, Lough Gur is unique in that it is the only site in continuous habitation since Stone Age times. See full story on page 63.