Tuesday, 7 November 2017

In Celebration of Samhain

Yes it is Samhain today !

Cairn L at Loughcrew, Co. Meath where on one stone the
Samhain sun shines.

Samhain is the last of the Fire Festivals and the penultimate before Winter Solstice [Grianstad an Gheirnhridh] after which the first celebration is the Birth of the New Sun (New Year) [An bhlian úr agus breith an ghrian nua]

All that is written above is not old folk lore yarns. It is factual and can be proved by astronomical calculations/observations.

The druids of today such as me are as keenly aware what is going on in the sky above their heads as were the people of eight thousand years ago. It is to those wise people, men and women that we applaud for having constructed the mounds/cairns so very carefully that the light of the sun is able to shine in on set dates throughout the year to illuminate particular stones the backwalls.

I have two examples to share with you as proof of what I am saying,
both of the places are of equal importance, as are all of the mounds throughout Ireland and elsewhere.

The Mound of the Hostages at Tara and Cairn L at Loughcrew. 
Both of them situated in Co. Meath and several miles apart, there are as I have said many other mounds in Ireland most of which have never been opened or excavated and perhaps that is a good thing too.

The Mound of the Hostages at Tara in Co. Meath
at Samhain.

Well, now last night I set out a poem and thinking it finished I went to bed to sleep soundly. Then on arising glanced again at what had been written and added a a few lines more. So here it is for your perusal :


Thrown back in time
No fault of my own.

As watery light falls
Greenly through glass

While fumes flow lazily
Up black chimney stack

Smiling smoke turf flavoured
An ambrosian dessert for all

On this ancient day
Ruled by sullen sky

SAMHAIN has birthed
A new season

Winter is her name

born on
 7th November 2017

Heralded by a shaft of Light
in Tara’s Mound of the Hostages.

© MRL 7/11/17

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

On the banks of Lough Derg.

A pictorial tour from the banks of Lough Derg where the mighty River Shannon flows,
past the counties Clare and Tipperary.

Autumnal colours at Mount Shannon

It was with sorrow that we found an inconvenient Convenience.

It does make me wonder about the sincerity of the local administrators,
 closing down buildings such as these.
 Where do they expect needy visitors to relieve themselves ?

It is against the Law in Ireland to relieve oneself within in a public area 
irregardless of whether private parts are actually visible - even behind a tree.

In Mount Shannon harbour a foreign ( Dutch ?) craft is for sale.

I found her stern quarters as attractive as her bow and especially the yellow detailing.

The mascot of the Iargo Sneek.

From the banks of east Clare across a placid Shannon to Tipperary.

I think that the tower house, bottom right is Castlebawn which was restored in 1995

Lots of islands loiter creating dreams for some.

In case you are wondering I am not focussed on the tree :-)

More islands lurking near the banks of Clare can be seen when in County Tipperary.

From Portroe in Tipp to the misty mystique of county Clare.

In the foreground an old sleeping ground of yesterday's people lie silently slumbering.

I hope that you have enjoyed this photographic visit
as much as I have in sharing them.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

A Melding of Thoughts

The other day we returned to Slieve na Cailleach especially to meet up with the artist Lar Dooley who had traveled there from the Dublin area.

Sometimes when meeting people for the first time it can be a bit nerve wracking, not though this time for we met with ease. We felt that we were linking up with an old friend and at the end of our discussions, we all knew, that we shall meet up to talk again. 

Neither of us practise religion in any shape or form. There is nothing that we can give, take or receive from any belief system and thus no intermediary is required to advise or intercede on our behalf. Lar uses the word ‘spirit’, I use the word ‘energy’ for what we both know as life-force.

We had a very interesting conversation where each of us expressed a mutual understanding about the existence and continuance of life. Each of us, in our own way, had met The Cailleach (the ancient crone) experiencing her presence in an indelible and unforgettable way. 

The artists Lar Dooley beneath his work with Mrs H.

The Café

The hosts Niall and Sarah who created the best BLT Panini 
that I have ever eaten.

Mary Heaney's Cottage.

Mary's hearth in her kitchen.

Mary's bedroom with a cradle alongside the bed

A visitor from the USA finds her way

On leaving the café, I trotted around to take more photos and to talk with some of the people from the USA who were on a day tour of the area. It was a day of pleasant exchanges and a certain president did not come out well - ah such is life.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Hill of the Witch

We took to the road last weekend intending to ramble around the area of Loughcrew otherwise known as Sliabh na Cailleach and to view the paintings of a Dublin based artist Lar Dooley, which had caught Mrs H’s eye on Facebook.

It was a soft day, meaning that although warm it was very damp, with fine misty rain. Not the type of day for me to walk up the hill to the cairns although I have done so in the past. The climb is quite easy when going up but coming down it can be very treacherous and my old bones no longer appreciate tumbles.

The hill of the witch - the Cairns of Loughcrew, a quick guide by Anthony Murphy

Instead we headed to the new to us visitor centre, several buildings, one of which was once a cottage home. The cafe was inviting and the staff friendly so we partook of a great up of coffee then went into the gallery to view the work of Lar Dooley. Each image was inspired by the landscape of Loughcrew and the ancient cairns with their stone art. His technique was unusual, to me it seemed almost ceramic in texture, with symbols seemingly carved into stone. Mrs H fell in love with an illustration of the stone which sits in a chamber inside Cairn T and is illuminated by the sun at the Equinoxes.


This over looks the childrens' playground.

The courtyard where an old bone shaker leans next to the wall.

A fairy bridge - not that I was aware of any!


We wended our way homewards stopping in Oldcastle Co. Meath which I was surprised to learn is a relatively new town, created by the Naper family in the 18th century.

This auction house had some classical pieces of furniture on show.

I can only presume that the people from these cars were
propping up the pub counters.

A memorial to two sons of Ireland who lost their lives
when fighting of independence in the 1920's

A colourful corner in Oldcastle

The link below has an audio which goes into great detail about the town of Oldcastle and I suggest that you read and hear for yourselves all about the place.

We shall shortly be revisiting the megalithic centre and hopefully to meet and speak with Lar Dooley
so I will keep you informed. Until then take care of yourselves.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Sailing Across the Pond

There is an old ugly Irish phrase for people have moved here from another country - 
‘blow ins’. 
I was called one several years ago and my retort was that every person in Ireland is either a blow in or historically related to one. 

The first known group of people who arrived here at the end of the last ice age were the Palaeolithic people, they were followed in turn by the Mesolithic, Neolithic Bronze Age and Iron Age people-the Celts. The Vikings,The Welsh and much later the Welsh-Normans followed by the British and were all of them, ‘blow ins’.
I must mention that there was a great flow of people moving out from this island to other parts of Europe throughout those times too.

A three masted barque.

Dunbrody's figurehead with bowsprit above.

Between the years of 1843 to 1850 great distress fell on Ireland caused by the potato blight which brought about starvation, illness and the death of a million Irish people. 
The migration of another two million departed and left Ireland with a depleted population. 

Dunbrody and her reflected image.

A great proportion of the migrants travelled to the USA from a variety of ports in England and Ireland. They left on ships such as the Dunbrody, a replica of which is moored to a wharf at New Ross in Co Wexford. Here the River Barrow flows through the town on it’s way to join the sea at Waterford and it was to New Ross that we drove on Saturday to view the three masted barque Dunbrody. 

A monument to those who emigrated

The Emigrant Flame

The link below is an Irish emigration database though this is not exactly correct as it covers all of the emigrant sailings to America from English and Irish ports of that period. Detailing the ages, names, occupations, nationalities and the destinations of people who emigrated to the USA are shown here. I found over five hundred people with my last name and a few had historically known first names from my branch of the family so I include the link here for you to do your own research.

You can also find much more information about the Famine times and all about the sea journey from viewing www.dunbrody.com

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Blake's Art

I recently visited the home of a friend and was immediately attracted by a collage on his wall.

"Goodness who produced that ? It's terrific " I enquired.

"Blake gave it to me, it is one of his pieces that he did for an exam." He replied.

On my return home I phoned Blake and asked him about the work and what led him to produce this piece. 

He asked if I'd ever heard of Sacred Geometry?

In reply I told him what I knew of the theory and of how in my mind it has a loose connection with the earth energies that flow around the planet, for that that's what I saw in his illustration.

We then discussed how he had produced the piece by allowing his subconscious to randomly select a coloured pencil which he picked up with his left hand from a multitude of colours. 
Passing it to his right hand he drew and once used the colour was discarded and placed to his right. 

The real leaves that surround the drawing make a connection to the earth.

The CD placed in the centre reflects light and contains every colour.

Blake's creation reminded me of a colour sensitivity test that I devised many years ago. 
Participants who were right handed were blindfolded and randomly selected a coloured pencil with their left hand.
They held it for a few minutes and attempted to identify the colour using their other senses.
Then on a piece of paper they draw a shape or image which they thought was relevant.
Using the right hand they wrote the name of the colour they felt it was.
The results were very interesting, most people managed to get about forty percent correct on their first attempt. 
When the right-handed people used their right hand to pick up the pencils the results were a little higher and only one person out of a hundred was able to identify every colour with his right hand and none at all with his left.

Have you ever attempted to work with your subconscious or intuition ?

Monday, 18 September 2017

Pickled Christianity

A friend arrived a few days ago at our home and pulled out a bottle from under his coat and on seeing his action my mind leaped back into the past and I thought he had brought me a bottle of poitín [the home distilled white whiskey]. The magical drink of old Ireland and the famed base of rubs when mixed with olive oil as a treatment for greyhounds and arthritic joints.

I was of course totally wrong and found out that the liquid was white vinegar; hence the first word in the title 'pickled' the hand carved [inners] were made by his brother-in-law and depict the implements used in the crucifixion.The long legged cross, the nails, mallet (hammer), spear, an axe for cutting the tree, a saw for cutting  and a ladder - which I think represents ascension ?

To me personally not having any religious beliefs in any shape or fashion. I find this bottle and it's contents rather bizarre to say the least, although I do admire the craftsmanship...
I have never ever seen anything like this before and would be very interested in reading your thoughts.

Monday, 11 September 2017

An Almost Floating House.

We sat in the car after our rambles on the shore at Tracht, - see my previous post :https://aheronsview.blogspot.ie/2017/09/tracht-beach-flowers.html discussing all that our eyes had feasted on and the conversations we had been part of with people who were previously unknown to us - and still are because we never exchanged names.
An interlude of silence followed, broken by Mrs H who said she would like a cup of tea. I suggested that perhaps a delicious ice cream from Messrs. Linalla at Finavarra would soothe her, as it was only a few minutes drive away. 

Map of Finavarra

The area around Fhíonaigh Bheara, Finavarra is rather special to me for several reasons.
There is a Martello tower on the point jutting out into Galway Bay, a place that I frequently visited in the past when wanting time alone with the elements and the curlew. 

A view of the countryside from outside of Messrs. Linalla's.

Quite close to the village is the ancient site of The O’Dálaighs School of Lyricists and Poets in Finavarra. It is commonly known as a Bardic School however, as the Bards were seen as low class poets who were largely uneducated and whose functions were story telling and satire, I think ‘lyricists’ is a better description of the Schools’ function. 
The higher classes of Poets were the Fillidh who were trained in rhythm of both words, music and mastery of the lyre, later the harp. The Fillidh functioned as Poets, Historians and Panegyrists. The head of the school would have been an Ollamh, the highest grade of the Fillidh (master poet)  attached to the court of each of the provincial kings and sub-kings. There were periods when an Ard Ollamh (High Ollave) was appointed to exercise authority over the provincial Fillidh.

another view from the same place

Another similar establishment was Cahermacnaughten, near Ballyvaughan along the coast, where the once great Brehon Law School was held under the auspices of the O’Davorens. 
Originally these laws were handed down by word of mouth, passed from master to student, but from the seventh century onwards they were written down. One of the most important recorded sources of Brehon Law is the manuscript Egerton 88, now in the British library. This was copied in the 16th century from older documents at the law school of Cahermacnaghten.

 inland bay

The other end of the same bay

'The Almost Floating House'
and I always wonder if the occupiers ever fish out of there windows 
from the comfort of an armchair.

This whole maritime landscape is steeped in all that is precious to me, Irish culture, seats of ancient learning, wild nature and deep peace.