Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sheean - a place apart.

Although Sheean lies within the townland of Ballygillaheen, it is a place apart, hidden by woodland within the landscape.
Sheean - An Sián / An Síodhán, The Fairy Mound aerial view. ©
There are two routes to the fairy mound, the first takes you past the COMB FIELD, up a bohereen
to the top of the ridge and into a field which looks towards the Slieve Bloom mountains.

Past the Comb Field

To the top of the ridge
Here there is a small standing stone known as the Licking Stone, beloved of the cattle who graze here. One theory for its' attraction is that it provides the animals licking it with essential minerals, the other is that it sits close to Sheean and therefore contains some sort of animal magnetism which draws the cows and keeps them healthy.

 From the Licking Stone it is an easy walk across the fields to the mound within the trees, seen in the distance.

The second route runs along a green lane, then, byway of field margins, onto the small woodland which surrounds Sheean.

The green lane to Sheean.

I first went to Sheean by this route many years ago and when I mentioned my visit to Jim he seemed surprised that I would want to go there. Then he warned me never to visit after dark. 
"Even in summer" he explained "you have to be away from there before 9pm." 
His advice apparently came from his own experience. 

When he was a young man, he and his friends would ramble to a house near to Sheean to play cards. 
"And there was no drink taken on these occasions" he insisted.  
They would usually leave together but one night Jim was the last to go and passing the woodland in the darkness he heard music. It was beautiful music and he knew that it was the Sídhe enticing him into trees and on into their mound.
He ran as fast as possible until he got home to his mother and he admitted to me that he was afeared 
and would never pass there alone again.

Another man, Pat, farmed the land in the area and worked late in the fields, but never past 9pm. 
Many times he returned to his tractor to drive home only to discover that it wouldn't start and 
he'd have to leave it overnight. On returning the following morning the tractor would start up immediately and finally Pat realised that it was the Good People. 
They were tricking him into staying, would try to keep him there and he would never see home again. 
From then on Pat always left the engine running in the evening whilst he worked so if  he lost track 
of time and it began to grow dark he knew he could make a quick escape. 

Trees enclosing the mound.

Today Sheean is still known as the place of the Good People and is rarely visited.

If you do take a chance and go there, walk through the surrounding trees until you reach a clearing
and make sure to bring a gift for the Sídhe, some cheese or a drop of poitín will do nicely.
Approach quietly, acknowledge their presence and leave your offering at the foot of the tree which stands like a guardian on the path.

Walk slowly into the wide ditch and make your way, sunwise, until you reach a small overgrown path.

Climb the path with care and stand beneath the old archway of two whitethorn trees.

Two entwined whitethorns covered with ivy stand on the mound.

Listen to voices on the wind....

but be sure to leave before 9pm. 


  1. My comment and contribution is

    If to

    If to Faery is thy need......
    Take in thy smock two apples,
    One for Gentry and one for thee.

    In thy purse coins of Silver or Gold,
    For iron is an abhorrence,
    To the people of old

    © MRL 18.4. 2003

  2. Beautiful piece, thankyou Jane.

  3. Many thanks Lizzie - glad you enjoyed it!


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