Saturday, 23 December 2017

Winter Solstice Rose

©MRL 2017

All blessings on you my lady
Great praise Irish Rose
For your blood red blooms
Unfolded birthed divine
A New Sun for days to lengthen
Love to dance in Light!
©MRL 2017

Monday, 18 December 2017


I am generally a very good sleeper and rarely get disturbed however, there are two or three times a year when I sleep with one ear cocked up as it were. At those times this old cottage becomes alive with odd nocturnal noises and perfumes which assail the nostrils.

The front door is frequently rapped as if a visitor has arrived and would like to be to be admitted. These sounds I ignore, for who at four in the morning makes a visit without calling out to the occupier ?

The perfumes vary from that of subtle flower blossoms to those of
exotic concoctions best found in dance halls and not the sort that the country women wear or at least not daily.

Last night, or to be specific early this morning, I was roused from sleep by the sound of tip, tip tapping, as if many feet were dancing on a board and the shrill sounds of merriment. 

I arose quietly and quickly from my bed and crept rapidly along the hall and down, down the ladder to the front room to spy on the merry-makers. Unfortunately I made the mistake of switching on the light and immediately all noise stopped.

The Suspects

Dancing Boards were very common in the Irish towns-lands many years ago and were low stage like structures made of wood and situated on wide roadside verges often near crossroads for people to dance on.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Seasonal Weather Unwelcome

We awoke this morning to an all-over whiteness everywhere, snow lay like a lovely, smooth velvet, that draped itself over our rural scene. 

Mrs H fed the birds who hopped here there and everywhere so the white mantle became pock-marked by their little feet or claws,alas !

We took photos, mine from indoors with the window wide open and then quickly closed again, as I enjoy fresh air but at a temperature that is above freezing. Mrs H, not hardier, just younger and more full of vigour, braved the outdoors. 

Well, we hope that you enjoy our photos.

Below is the worst winter that I have ever experienced, the Winter of 1963 when I was a youth working in the Teignmouth shipyard [Devon, England]; when the sea froze and there were large snowdrifts on the beach that the tide took simply ages to melt away and on Dartmoor fires were lit under lorries to thaw out the diesel which had waxed up.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Anyone For A Cuppa ?

We purchased a loose tea strainer the other day or perhaps you could call it a steeper - strainer. It is very efficient, easy to use and clean and cost very little.

I do not drink black tea and on the advice of my doctor I have recently stopped drinking coffee because it was raising my BP. My preferences now are for organic infusions and mainly Rooibos or Green tea (thank you Rachel)

Our new strainer is made by a German company Finum who call it a brewing basket. They also make a lot of other interesting applicators.

See for yourselves at

I think my fresh brew is now ready
to enjoy, so bye bye for now Heron.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Affirmation !

Time of 1615 Sunset at Birr, Co. Offaly on 1st Dec 2017 which I was unable to resist
and taken with my iPhone SE

Thursday, 23 November 2017

A Watery Awakening!

Tuesday night was not one of my best for sleep was hard to find. I was wearing one of those blood pressure cuffs that inflated every hour during the night and every half an hour in the day time, It was damnably annoying for I was awoken each time. From my bed I could hear extremely heavy rain falling in torrents, making a drumming noise that only storms do.

So it was of no real surprise to find a pond in our road the following morning. The roadside drain had been supposedly cleared by a contractor who specialises in such things, though some only do the minimum of work and of cosmetic appearance only. The six-inch ceramic pipe which actually carries away the water to a lower level was still blocked and the reliance on seepage only, had created the pond.

A pond covering our southerly entrance.

I had an appointment with the doctor at 10.30am, just a few miles away, no more than a 5 km drive. We took our normal route and were flagged down by a man in a van so Mrs H slowed down to a crawl and just as well that she did for a round the corner a powerful muddy torrent several millimetres deep was crossing the road. Further along we could see a vehicle that had ben swept into the ditch.

Water from the river Barrow over flows fields and roads

The Barrow water flows on...

The impassable state left us no alternative than to return and try another route via the nearby village of Rosenallis. Our journey this time progressed quite well, although there was some ponding that had to be negotiated with care, it was safe enough, until we approached Tinnahinch bridge. There we were met by yet another raging, muddy flow from the river Barrow which had taken charge of the road, forcing us back to Rosenallis.

Tinnahinch Bridge

A hardy Donkey bathes its feet

Trees sucked from the riverbank block the flow 
of a normally tranquil river

On the other side of  Tinnahinch bridge

Our only alternative now was to drive to Killiegh in Co Offaly, along a road that borders the Clodiagh river whose banks are quite high. I felt this would be our only route to the Doctors even though it was miles out of our way. 
It was the right decision as we only met with one small over flow from the embankment and several small road pondings en route.
Finally the damn gadget was removed from my left bicep and the results were given to me. 

At Clonaslee

The Clodiagh River it too misbehaved
making a nuisance of it's self.
Unlike the River Barrow which joins the sea at
Waterford, the Clodiagh travels into Co. Ofally and eventually
flows into the River Shannon to join the sea south of Limerick.

The Clodiagh in full flow northwards to Ofally

Near me the flooded pasture of a neighbour.

Back at home. When a few hours later, a friend arrived in his jeep and we went off exploring to take photos of our earlier watery obstructions. Today, Thursday 80 percent of the floods have drained away.
Have you any experiences of being flooded or have a similar journey to ours ?

The waters flowed into Mountmellick a town of about 5,000 people

Saturday, 18 November 2017


I may very well be a bit quiet for a while for I have just bought myself my first iPhone and I shall need time to get used to it. So am a bit like a rabbit in the headlights at the moment !

Not the first smart phone I have ever had there was a samsung that drove me crazily over the hill and is now lying asleep somewhere in middle England as I gave it to my daughter for her too do whatever
herself wanted to do. 

This time I know in my heart that I shall be safe with an Apple product as am quite able with my iMac and even when occasionally I muck up there is an expert to talk me through a self made mire.

I will catch up with you all before too long!

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.