Thursday, 24 November 2011
Friday, 18 November 2011
I am starting off with an apology to those of you who are very sensible and aware that the subject I will shortly write about is a sign of insanity on my part, except that it is not and was conducted to explore possible life in other realms.
Some years ago I used to spend a lot of time doing trance channeling. This came about by using certain cerebral skills that I learnt from the practice of transcendental meditation, something which I still practise for a few minutes twice a day.
Channeling brought in a considerable amount of information on variety of topics that I could not have learned from any other source.
The immediate area where we live is well known locally as being Red Cap Country (The Folk/Faery) with numerous faery paths criss-crossing the fields. The Folk have been seen playing hurling along their own roads and tales abound about who has seen them and who has not.
So it seemed to me that here was a subject that needed to be investigated.
Communication with Faery took a little while to establish, even though I had been involved with some healing work for a Welsh druid friend that bordered on that area some years previously. This time I had the assistance of a colleague who would switch on and off the tape recorder whilst I was in trance and would ask a set of questions which we had agreed on earlier.
The information gained was that The Folk stand between homo sapiens and creation, in fact they belong to Nature much more so than we do. Similarly, at the opposite end of the spectrum Angels, for those members of the major religions, stand between their God & homo sapiens. Just as people don't often see angels, the Folk are likewise hidden from our general sight living as they do on a plane of existence that borders our own and only rarely merges.
The Folk have a mentality which can best be described as 'playful' when in contact with us, however within their own domains the business of life and it's politics is just as serious as ours. During the channeling sessions the Folk would make use of puns in a light hearted manner; one of which was to describe another member of the Folk as being Terry Ibble - terrible!
On occasions, for reasons best known to themselves, they have been known to cross the division between the two planes of existence and live with a human. There is a story in my locality of a Faery woman who while her husband was assisting his neighbours to cut corn, ran across the field and jumped into a lake. Voices were heard rising out of the lake welcoming her back saying
" Hooray and Welcome home, Meela Moor as long as you didn't tell the verge about the egg water"
The complete meaning of this sentence is lost to us apart from the phonetic 'Moor' which may be the Gaelic mór meaning 'big' and 'Meela' or míle in Gaelic, meaning 'thousand'. Perhaps they were saying 'A thousand big welcomes'.
What we don't know is the language The Folk themselves use. Unfortunately the story was not told to me until long after I had stopped channeling and this is something that I am now loathe to resume practicing.
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
On Samhain' Eve
a fire burned and candles flamed
under a waxing moon in a starlit sky.
Walked a single silent file of druids
thrice around a standing stone
each round a blade of the awen.
Forward then to a ritual home
breasted by elder,rowan and oak
a sacred circle awaited secrets.
Each hooded figure called
across the winds of time
ancestors, gods and fae folk
to bring their speciality
wisdom, history and humour
with old tales now forgotten
of mystery and magic.
The ancient ones live on
alive in their memory
they wander to imbue the land
and through the veil inspire
open minds with gifts.
(Let this then be a tribute!)
©MRL 08-11- 2011
Monday, 7 November 2011
I have noticed when surfing the world wide web that there is often a mix up between Irish & Scots Gaelic so I had the idea of putting some of my research to good use by listing the months in these languages. For good measure I have also listed Manx which arguably seems to be close to both Irish and Scots with a smattering of something else which might possibly be either Welsh, Norse or a blend of both?
As Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic)
Feabhra [aka Imbolc] (February)
Meán Fómhair (September)
Deireadh Fómhair) October
An t-Samain (Samhuin in Old Scots Gaelic)
Scots Gaelic is not the same as Irish Gaelic however similar. The two languages are distinct so an Irish translation is not a substitute for a Scottish Gaelic translation.
JANUARY. Mee s’jerree yn-gheurey. The end of the winter month.
FEBRUARY. Yn-chied vee jeh’n arragh. The first of spring, or vernal quarter.
MARCH. Mee-veanagh yn arree; also called yn-mart. The middle of Spring month.
APRIL. Mee s'jerree yn arree; also, Yn Avril. The end of Spring month.
MAY. Yn Baaltin; or, Yn-chied vee jeh’n tourey. The Beltein ; or, The first month of Summer.
JUNE. Mee-veanagh yn touree. The middle month of Summer.
JULY. Mee s’jerree yn touree. The end of Summer month.
AUGUST. Yn-chied-vee jeh’n ouyr. The first month of harvest.
SEPTEMBER. Mee-veanagh yn-ouyr. The middle month of harvest.
OCTOBER. Mee s’jerree yn ouyr. The end of the harvest month.
NOVEMBER. Yn-chied vee jeh’n gheurey. The first of the. Winter month or,
Yn Tauin, or Sauin, Hollantide month.
DECEMBER. Mee-meanagh yn-gheurey. The middle of the Winter month.
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Sunday, 30 October 2011
Irish folk lore puts great emphasis on Oíche Shamhna - Hallowe'en - as a time when ghosts are about and the fairies are moving from their summer to their winter quarters. The traditional food at this time of the year is the Bairín Breac otherwise known as the Hallowe'en Brack, a white, bread fruit loaf with a brown glazing containing: wheat, sultanas, citrus peel, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, coriander, ginger and cloves. Traditionally the brack had a divination purpose as well as being something nice to eat for hidden within the dough were :-
A piece of wood: to signify a beating by a partner
A button: signified that you will remain a bachelor
A coin: for wealth
A rag or a bean: meaning poverty
A ring or small circle of withy: meaning an early marriage
A religious medal signified that you would join Holy Orders
A thimble: signifying spinsterhood
Unfortunately today's Hallowe'en Brack only contains a small silver or gold coloured ring.
Hallowe'en is an abbreviation of Hallowed Eve which is held at night on 31st October and is the first part of a three day Christian festival which was followed by All Souls Day and then by All Saints Day.
Hallowe'en is not Samhain, however there are people who believe that the Christian Church adopted the festival and made it their own and that may well have been the case. Over the last few hundred years Hallowed Eve has become secularised into Hallowe'en and dare I say it, has been commercialised in much the same way as has happened to Christmas.
My understanding of Samhain is that the word means 'summers end' and it is a fire festival.
The timing of fire festivals are exactly mid way between an equinox & a solstice or a solstice and an equinox.
This year the true date of Samhain is 7th November and is further confirmed by data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington DC. who tell us - "Cross-Quarter moments are interpolated as the midway points between the Solstices and Equinoxes"
Historic confirmation also comes from our ancient ancestors who when building the tombs and mounds such as the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara which is aligned to Sun on the midway point.
Thus Halloween cannot be Samhain.
I would like to wish all of my readers a Fun Filled Celebration!
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Ballytaspy: there are not too many songs about this place, that would make it popular or even familiar, though to the three dozen or so people who live within in it's boundaries Ballytaspy is unique. On weekend nights a rendition of 'There's no place like Ballytaspy' or 'It's a long way to Ballytaspy' can be heard echoing across the narrow street from both of it's two pubs as each drinking house tries to out sing or drown out the other.
Now it would be easy to believe that drinkers are well catered for with two establishments to choose from, without knowing the about the subtle inclinations of the proprietors. For example, the other night I decided to visit the Clancy's for a quiet drink and so to confuse my neighbours I parked my car outside of Burke's Bar and stepped across the street to drink in salubrious surroundings. Only to find the place locked, shuttered and in total darkness, now I knew that this was hours too early for a lock in; So I returned to my car and moved it further along the street and left it outside of the Priest's house and rapidly walked to Burke's Bar.
I chose the public bar rather than the lounge because the sound of clicking balls from the pool table disturbs my thoughts. Burke's is not known for wastage of any kind and the lighting inside the public bar is extremely dim, giving it a Dickensian appearance, not a place for doing deals unless of the nefarious kind. My eyes gradually accustomed to the shaded lights and there on the corner of the bar was the huddled shape and cut of a familiar figure, surrounded by several empty pint glasses complete with Guinness stains in various stages of drying. A slurred voice ordered two more pints loudly explaining: that one would keep the other one company because God had made everything in pairs.
Six customers stood at right angles to him, I joined them to make it seven and ordered my pint to stand quietly as I listened to their friendly banter. Eventually my nearest neighbour informed me that Clancy had been here for the last two days and was liable to be here for a week barring an accident or Burke's running short of stout. Such is the inclination of a Ballytapsy publican.
© MRL October 2011
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Friday, 14 October 2011
Thursday, 6 October 2011
After struggling for years with pc’s I bought an Apple-Mac. What I did not know at that time that I was
buying into a family - that my chief relative was Steve Jobs, a man whose gentle humour and spirituality
steered my life and many millions of others by his creative drive, not just in design but also in selecting the
right quality of engineers to bring his dreams into fruition.
Steve Jobs you will not be forgotten.
You can email your thoughts and condolences to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Across the Shannon, in the eastern part of County Galway, lies the historical townland* of Clonfert (As Gaeilge "Cluain Feart" meaning 'meadow of the grave') which formerly had one of the many Celtic Christian monastic settlements of the 5th/6th century. Today all that remains is a lovely, small cathedral whose founder was Saint Brendan the Navigator; it is said to be the oldest living church in Ireland with an unbroken history of public worship.
The Cathedral of St Brendan with its' monastery college was founded in the 6th century and flourished for hundreds of years, suffering many raids by the Vikings who frequently sailed up the River Shannon from Limerick. It was burnt down in 1016, 1164, and again in 1179.
The monastery and most of the church were destroyed in 1541 and the monastery was not rebuilt after this final assault. Prior to the destruction of the monastery college in the early sixteenth century it flourished with as many as three thousand students being educated here at one time. Recorded in a state paper of Queen Elizabeth the First is a proposal to found a University at Clonfert, it being a celebrated seat of learning in the centre of Ireland and a convenient place for Irish students. The proposition was rejected however and Dublin obtained the Charter leading to the foundation of Trinity College Dublin in 1592.
It is here in the cathedral, on the entrance to chancel, that we discovered the mermaid.
About 10 inches high she is complete with comb and mirror and has been rubbed to a shine by visitors.
Next to the cathedral lies a small woodland and we stopped to pay a visit to the rag tree where people leave offerings to their god(s) in the hope of cures and the fulfilment of wishes or prayers.
We travelled south of Clonfert and across one of the few Shannon bridges to the ancient town of Banagher ( Beannchar na Sionna meaning 'place of the pointed rocks'), County Offaly. From here the 'big eared lady' is about 3km away though not visible from the road. She is a Sheela na Gig sitting 20metres up on the end wall of the ruins of Garry Castle whose ancient owners, the MacCoughlans, had many strongholds in the area.
Ireland has hundreds of 'sheelas' many of which are stored in the National Museum though their
purpose is unknown. Sheelas that are still in situ and accessible are often rubbed by women
wishing to conceive and are often known as hags or the witch on the wall.
For more info visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheela_na_gig
Townland: is the smallest geographical unit in the Irish census returns and are still in use today. Anything from 5 to 30 townlands may be grouped together to form a civil parish. A townland can vary in size from the smallest, of less than an acre to over 7,000 acres (an average size is 200-400 acres ) There are over 62,000 townlands in Ireland and are generally named after natural or geological features.
Friday, 23 September 2011
The jewel of Clonmacnoise sits about a quarter of a mile north, beyond the boundary of the monastery, with easy access via the modern cemetery leading to a narrow road. Walking this road we were very fortunate that it was a fine dry day, for it allowed us to take note of what was around us and our friend Fred (who is often seen on this blog) said 'Hey is this a ballaun stone?' We stopped, looked and were not totally sure. The words from a former job came into my mind - "investigation will reveal". So I knelt down and dug with my hands into the soft earth at the roadside to clear half of the debris away, then to feel gently under the remainder to find smooth stone, this was indeed an unmarked ballaun stone.
(See previous post.)
The story of Dermot MacMurrough during the Anglo Norman conquest of Ireland resembles a soap opera, pitting the wily, deceitful villain (Dermot) against the well meaning but hapless incompetent (Tiernan O'Rourke).
MacMurrough and O'Rourke were mortal enemies. The antagonism between them dated to 1152, when O'Rourke had been humiliated by MacMurrough's abduction of O'Rourke's wife, Dervorgilla. But MacMurrough may not have been as culpable as it seemed.
For according to Irish folklore, it was Dervorgilla herself, then aged 44, who arranged the abduction, with MacMurrough, aged 42, simply going along. Nevertheless, MacMurrough was hardly an innocent bystander, having eagerly accepted the invitation, and having staged a realistic abduction, with horsemen and screaming victim. O'Rourke recovered Dervorgilla the following year (1153), but he never got the revenge he wanted.
The subsequent hostilities between O'Rourke and MacMurrough were played out in the context of a larger battle between Rory O'Connor and Murtaugh MacLochlain for the high kingship of Ireland. O'Rourke was allied with O'Connor, the eventual winner, while MacMurrough supported, and more importantly was protected by, MacLochlain.
In 1166, finally, after a 10 year war, O'Connor defeated MacLochlain once and for all. O'Connor was magnanimous in victory. He reduced MacLochlain's petit-kingdom to a small area, and took hostages, but otherwise permitted him to live out his reign.
O'Rourke had no intention of extending similar generosity to MacMurrough. He got his revenge later that same year when MacLochlain (MacMurrough's long time protector) died, and O'Rourke, along with several cohorts, forced MacMurrough to flee Ireland.
But MacMurrough quickly regrouped. He sought help from Henry II, the aforementioned Norman ruler of the Angevin empire. To Henry, MacMurrough represented opportunity knocking. Henry had no enthusiasm for personally leading an expedition to Ireland but he had nothing to lose by encouraging MacMurrough. Thus Henry issued an open letter to his subjects, authorizing them to render military assistance to MacMurrough.
MacMurrough then contacted one of the great Anglo Norman leaders in Wales, the legendary "Strongbow" Initially, Strongbow was reluctant, but then MacMurrough offered Strongbow his eldest daughter, Aoife (Eva), in marriage, together with the right to succeed MacMurrough as king of Leinster. Finally, Strongbow agreed to lead an army into Ireland to restore MacMurrough to power.
The consequences of the above: led to the British occupation of Ireland for nearly 800 years !
Dervogilla died at the age of 86 in Mellifont Abbey, Co. Louth.
With thanks to Desmond's Concise History of Ireland
This was my first ever visit to the Nun's Church as I only knew about it from reading a novel even though I had visited the ruins of the monastery many times before. The church doesn't seem to be as popular and even on that day the number of visitor's could be counted on one hand. Beyond the hedge on the right hand side of the road there is a long mound, which I feel may well have been an ancient dry route that connected the two sites in times of flood.
I refer to the Nun's Church as a jewel because of the 'energy' that is so very tangible there, in such places I feel and leave invigorated. I enjoy re-visiting places where the 'energy' strengthens my inner being and this is the only church that has done this for me.
In part 4 we cross the River Shannon to visit a mermaid and later we meet a big eared lady.
Sunday, 18 September 2011
The previous blog about Lough Boora Parklands and the next four blogs (including this one) are of places that we visited on the same day.
This is number two.
Moving from the bog lands of the big sky at LBP our route took us across open countryside and along straight, narrow roads that seemed to last forever. We chose to have lunch in Ferbane, the largest, small town in the locality where The Black Boot Restaurant catered for our needs. Mine were simple: a large pot of tea which provided me with several cupfuls, followed by a dish of jelly,custard and cream. It was delicious. My companions made up for my meagreness and had a decent sized lunch each.
Our next destination was the ruins of Clonmacnoise, an ancient monastic settlement that sits on the banks of the River Shannon and where, in my mind, the river becomes a serpent as it twists first one way and then another. From the Shannon Pot in County Cavan through thirteen counties of Ireland the river travels 390km to enter the Atlantic Ocean in the Shannon estuary.
The Shannon Pot, in the shadow of the Cuilcagh Mountains, has a famous legend: A granddaughter of Manannán mac Lír visited the mystical pool to eat fruit from the forbidden tree, or The Tree of Knowledge, which was planted by the Druids. As she began to eat, the waters of the pool sprang up and drowned her. The name of this young woman was Sionainn, Goddess of the River Shannon. Senuna is her earlier name meaning 'the old honoured one'.
On approaching Clonmacnoise, from the Shannonbridge direction, we first saw the toppled ruins of an Anglo-Norman castle built in 1214. It was the second such structure here and replaced a wooden castle destroyed by fire and possibly by Viking marauders.
The primary function of the castle was to enable the Anglo-Normans to gain control over the midlands and guard an adjacent bridge which spanned the Shannon. This castle too was destroyed in the late 13th to early 14th century.
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Following on from the previous blog about turf it seemed right to show one of the uses of bogland after commercial exploitation has finally ceased. The Lough Boora Parklands of 5,437 acres, being a particularly good example of providing a public amenity for all age groups at different levels of interest; consisting of Finnamore Lakes with it's fishing & birdlife, a sculpture park, a mesolithic site and Farmland.
On the day that we visited the weather was just right, for Boora is a vast area and ideally it needs to be nether to hot or cold. We chose to walk although bicycles are for hire, some of the bikes are equipped with small buggies for children to sit in. I was hoping that they would have one I might fit into but no such luck !
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
It's that time of year when a load of dry hard sods are delivered to our yards from the bog and tipped handily to where it is going to be stored. This year we had a three tonne load which meant placing it in two small sheds. Fortunately a friend from a neighbouring county arrived unexpectedly and the job was completed more rapidly than it would have had we been on our own.
A dusty, warming job that tests the muscles as we bend to pick up each piece, then turn and stack it to roof top height. Before reaching us men in the shed Mrs H had picked up the sods put them in a wheel-barrow and tipped them at our feet. Prior to that the people on the bog hand handled each piece at least four or five times between the drying process and the delivery. Finally from the shed to the fire they will be hefted twice more; so all in all, I calculate that each will have been handled at least eight to nine times!
The heat from turf (peat) is luxurious, the very distinct aroma as it burns is homely and in the winter on cold frosty nights, if you walk the roads it is to sense a welcome in the air; a similar sensation to the burning of wood smoke, for it conjures up warm comfortable images !