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24 September 2013

Is Brighid in Kildare?

Today we explored Kildare to seek to rekindle our senses with some Brighid flame and spirit. Well, I do not think there are words to explain our journey, but I can say some more things about where we went and what we did,

 

Out of the Killyshee House hotel by 10:20 am, after a quite decent breakfast. The girls seem to have melon and yoghurt with some toast ... and I went for smoked mackerel, poached eggs and tomato. I asked if apples were available, and the waitress brought me two uncooked and vert tart Bramley apples.

That aside, here is a bit of where we have been staying

So by 10:20 am we were cruising out of the Killishee House gates, through some country lanes and on the M 7 west to Kildare town, only about 15 mins away.

First stop, a sacred Brighid's Well I am very passionate about, Wayside Well.

 

Sun was out and it was warming fast. The girls first took a walk to look at the nearby trees, but I stayed here and filled my water bottle. Considering the dry weather this well supply is not bad. It looks like it could be a problem with the small waterplant growth around it, and what seems to be 'stuff' floating on the top.

The clean gravel in the water is an illusion that looks like leaves floating on top. There were some tiny birch seed floating on top, but they were easy to brush aside and fill a bottle of clear sweet, fresh tasting water.

 

This WAS the original Brighid's Well of Kildare. During the 50s its popularity increased rapidly, and the Kildare to Nunney increased traffic going along it, as more people were buying cars, and the well was beside that road then. This was declared an unsafe place for people so another local well became sanctified as a Brighid's Well, the Tully Well.

Years later the Kildare to Nunney road was straightened and taken away from the well, and then a totally new road was built quite a way from the wellso the nearby road was shortened to a dead end. The Wayside Well became very safe for visitors again. Today it is a very peaceful, intimate and very engaging spring well.

Here is a beautiful willow avenue pathway that leads to the Wayside Well

and Willow Trees are used as rags, payer, and clutie trees today too.

We stayed around the Wayside Well for quite some time, mesmerized, hypnotized, by the gentle bubbles rising and popping as the underground spring of water constantly pushed up from the deepest earth.

It is said that it is around below the bubbles water must be collected, where the oxygen has not pushed aside minerals that are still absorbable for us to consume'

 

While there, a couple arrived, the man from North Kildare and woman from Sydney, Australia too. He said he had spent his life in the area, but it had taken a visit to Australia for him to discover what was around where he lived. He said, people in Ireland just do not know what they have. Now his life had changed ... did not get their names though.

 

So next its a wee trak to the very popular, world popular, Tully Well, which most people around the world, who know this is here, call THE Brighid's Well. Though not the original it is certainly built up for her celebration.

This is not the actual well here, but this is the area people love, a beautiful stream where people love to praise Brighid and an area have been beautifully created for visitors to keep off shoes and be at one with the water.

 

and, of course, there is Seamus the well keeper, probably self missioned, who has a yar or two to share.

 

Here's Anne delighted to make aquaintance with Brighid

Helen and Sue heal their feet

 

Anne joins in

 

and Seamus is still yarning

 

A beautiful live willow shelter here.

Some more young oaks have been planted

 

Strangely, the pine tree becomes the rag tree, but its not a Scot's Pine. Is this an Irish Pine folks? There are so few Irish pines growing so I am not very clear what they look like. I thought they were long spindled like the Scots ones?

Here is the actual well and rag tree together

 

Looking up the field towards the others, and the stones that are the prayer or chant stations between the bathing area and the well, Seamus is still yarning :-)

 

As we leave we see an abundance of fungi here too.

After a beautiful morning relaxing and sharing around these two wells, it's lunchtime :-)

Our choice for lunch was here ...

 

The group were very happy to have this, each,

 

and I just had to have a glass of local brewed Dark Arts Porter, and wondering what the fuss is about drinking multi national Guinness that's not even really brewed in Ireland any more. This is the kind of nectar to seek here. When in Ireland, truly drink local where you can.

I firmly believe good local brews, good local food, and the facilities for conversation from cosy comfortable lounges to a traditional bar area with maybe darts, dominoes etc., is what will save pubs rather than multi national chemical brews and big screen TV viewing with load audio so you don't miss out on being reminded that all entertainment is brought to you by the same multi nationals.

Harte's went further !!!

Its the first pub I have every been in with a men's toilet as pristine as Harrod's and with meditation style music playing in the background :-)

Luckily their pricing was not 'Harrod's' style ... very reasonable indeed. The glass above, of local brew, was 2 euros. Many places will not sell coffee for that.

Next up, the S. Brighid's Cathedral, with a lot of action going on setting up a huge stage within the abbey with state of the art lighting and sound for the upcoming season of performances of "The Cloak", about how Brighid founded Kildare to build a monastery.

We could not get to the secretly hidden Sheela na Gig and Green Man as the stage was built over it.

So we went outside to see what we could do.

The sun had now gone and mist was moving in. Nobody braved climbing the Round Tower through vertigo fears and, well, not much could be seen anyway.

 

We went around the back of the Abbey

and spent quite a bit of time in and pondering about the Brighid's flame, after a morning of being with water.

Here is the Brighid fire pit, believe to be the place where Brighid first lit a flame here, legend of course, but a powerful one.

 

and I think Sue found it to be a bit hot

 

Soon, it was 3:30 pm and time to spend time with Brighidine sisters Mary and Phil at Solas Bhride. We were grateful that our visit was reverse of what we normally do here, so that we caught the wells in the warm sun, and now it was Solas Bhride during the cool mist time.

Those of you who have visited Solas Bhride will know that before a word is said, Briighidine sisters, Mary and Phil have invited and sustained a warm loving calm and centeredness into their home and centre.

The candle here lit from their eternal flame of Brighid

After Phil and Mary's presentation of their connection, wisdom, interpretation of stories and visions of Brighid, they were very proud to show this commissioned picture of the visit by the Dali Lama.

 

Phil always like to share hands on crafts with visitors, and usually it is cross making, but this time she introduced a welcome mat being made for their new Solas Bhride centre.

Joe has a go at some weaving

 

and Sister Mary opens up her little shop for business

 

The new Solas Bhride centre is a remarkable dream and project of the Brighidine sisters and friends.

Do please click here, take a look at what is happening and support how you can

As we returned to Killishee House this mist had lifted and it was a lovely evening. Before dinner we enjoyed exploring the hotel gardens.

 

 

 

Then back into the hotel for dinner. I did not take food photos of that this time, but it was all very good again.

An early night for all as tomorrow we engage one on of our biggest road trips of this pilgrimage, so it will be an earlier start. Enjoy sharing this with us too.