Today, was our next Road Trip, a round-a-bout journey into Co. Donegal from Ballaghboy Farm in Co. Sligo.
Away before 10 am, our first destination was into the edges of Co. Roscommon to Lough Meelagh and the Lassair's Well, as she is spelled as a saint.
I have many tales to share of Lough Meelagh, the Orchard Island there and of Lasir as Goddess and mortal enchanter.
This usually all comes together with a tale of Lasir as keeper of the Well Of Vision, but that well was out of bounds to us today
The Ash tree remains have gone, the Marian figure gone, the plaque revering the Pope's visit to Ireland gone. Remaining are the offerings left there and the cursing stone.
A new well wall has been built, nearly completed.
For once I have a good feeling about how this well restoration project is going. Most reconstructions of holy well to date have been awful, often OPW re-creations, but this looks like being local, caring and tasteful. I look forward to its completion.
The mass stone, using part of a capstone from a nearby stone cut megalithic structure, and the precious cursing stone are still in place.
I needed to turn the minibus as were to avoid travelling through Sligo but through Manorhamilton instead. The ideal place was the picnic area on the edge of Kilronan a little way ahead. Here there is a folly fairy cottage built a couple of hundred years or so. The girls had to play here awhile :)
and then behind here Susan found a fairy woodland walk, where we are actually returning to for a Bards In The Woods in a couple of weeks
that includes a stile over an invisible fence
On the road again, towards Manorhamilton we pulled in to visit Killargue Our Lady's Holy Well.
A different place compared to when I last visited several years ago. There is no longer a well keeper, it seems, as this was a tidy place.
There was also no water, and I remember this brimming over with water as it was a popular water gathering place for travellers.
Even so, our travellers loved it here :)
Next stop, Glencar Waterfall
Here we shared reading the W.B. Yeats poem 'The Stolen Child', that refers to here and some of the girls said they could relate to it.
Sadly, the toilet paper hanging group have visted here too.
but other nearby beauty is here untouched
and Susan starts to lead everyone into a related meditation
Through today we have seen and passed several signs that are part of the local anti-Fracking campaigns. Fracking is a short appropriate word to mean 'Hydraulic Fracturing', a technique to break open the earth's crust to get to underlying oil and gas. Today more than half of our oil and gas fuel comes from this process but the potential environmental damage is horrific.
Much of counties, Sligo, Roscomman, Cavan and all of Leitrim are pristine clean environments that is attracting and every growing eco tourism. Add to that, the people who live here wish to preserve this. The food quality grown and raised here is also very high.
I explained and debated Fracking with the group, and I thought this was the Best protest sign that we passed.
Our lunch stop was the wonderful Drumcliff Tea Room
Followed by a bit of gift shopping
and then onto the local sites.
I am always moved by one of the carvings on the restored high cross here, a remains of the Columcille monastery established here about the 8th century. Some say this monastry was established by Columcille monks long after his passing as an apology and peace initiative after the 'Battle Of The Books' that was fought near here by Ben Bulben mountain.
The carving that gets my attention is the 'fall of man' one that is expressed here as a tree with 4 spirals atg the top of the tree and 4 spirals below the ground with a snake entwined on the tree trunk travelling between the two. I think this is the best carved expression of the the time that shows the marriage of various traditions.
When visitors ask me when Ireland 'converted from Paganism to Christianity' I always say it never happened, and this is one of the best heritage illustrations to support this, I feel.
Other sites viewed here included the grave of W.B. Yeats and his wife Georgina, of course
and the very moving modern sculture interpretation of the W.B. Yeats poem, 'He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven'
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,Enwrought with golden and silver light,The blue and the dim and the dark clothsOf night and light and the half-light,I would spread the cloths under your feet:But I, being poor, have only my dreams;I have spread my dreams under your feet;Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
... and so it was off northwards to Creevykeel Court Cairn
About 4000 years old, it is suspected, and a lot of what remains here is artist impression rather than remains left in situ, though I believe a lot of the stones in this pic are actually still in their original positioning.
Nobody is clear about what went on here but inspiration and imagination is still personally very revealing.
Court Cairns consist of an open circular area that may have once had some kind of thatch of skin cover or just left open as light seems to have been an important ingredient of this complex. Then from this centre court are boulder covered chambers. In this example there is one set of twin chambers. Twin chambers seems to be the standard, long chambers seperated by some kind of part wall.
Added to that seems to be other later burial areas into the sides of the covered area.
Whoever re-created this site seems to have strongly focused on feminine imagery due to a belief that this is what this is all about. The entire site takes on a vulva and womb imagery.
This is emphasised by the water, or maybe fire, lane made out to take on a ovary image
... so the women ponder
And, sadly, the toilet paper posting group have invaded here too
Our last stop of the day was a tour around Mullaghmore Head
including a brisk extreme fresh air stroll
before heading off to Sand House Hotel on the beach in Rosnowlagh, Co. Donegal
which is delightfully quiet and out of season just now.
All of the surfing schools and beach shops are closed, but the views also gone because of an overhanging mist. The sea was calm and the beach very empty and peaceful.
The day was closed with a superb evening meal in the hotel's beautiful bay window beach view restaurant, one of the nicest restaurants in Ireland, in my opinion.