Saturday, 26 December 2015

'Otherworld Shenanigans' posts

If you're looking to escape the weather with a cup of tea and a short story here are links to my
'Otherworld Shenanigans' posts.
They are based upon real places in Ireland, tales and reminiscences of my elderly neighbour, Jim, 
who lived his life in the same house he was born in. 
The stories reflect a time when the belief in the Good People was more common than it is today. 
Just click on the titles below & you will be transported.



Map showing the local Fairy Path -The 1829 Ordanance Survey Map of the area
 which depicts Lough Duff with the island &  tree. 
Our home is marked X,  the wooden cabin Y & the second field Z. 



The Comb Field of the Banshee today.


The Diviner - Pic © 'Ireland: the living landscape' 
by Tom Kelly, Peter Somerville-Large & Seamus Heaney.



Lough Doire Bhile, Glengoole © peterdriver.blogspot.ie
The island on Lough Duff , in which the Good People live, may have looked like this.



Under the whitethorn on the mound at Sheean.



I hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A candle in the window.

The 22nd is the longest night of the year, when darkness is deepest.
As the sun rises on Wednesday we witness the birth of a new year.

The winter solstice sunrise at Newgrange.
Photo by Anthony Murphy © mythical ireland.com

The seconds of daylight will slowly increase and the sun will climb higher in the sky bringing the promise of spring. Until then we keep the fire going, stay indoors and gather with family and friends
to celebrate a rebirth.

3,000 years ago ancient people, in the Boyne Valley and elsewhere, were probably doing much the same. 


They too prepared for an important annual occasion,
the return of sunlight into the centre of the great mound,
Brú na Bóinne, now known as Newgrange.

We can only imagine the meaning of this phenomenon to our ancestors yet despite the change in
date and beliefs across the years, we continue the magic of this event in our modern traditions.


As we decorate the tree and light our candles we perform small acts 
of sympathetic magic to encourage the return of the sun.


On dark evenings when we gather indoors and close the curtains the glow of tiny lights
reflect the star filled, winter sky outside.


Beneath the branches lie gifts from loved ones, memories of childhood
and mementoes of our ancestors.

Although it is often said that this is a time for children, we adults also sense the magic of 
the turning year and feel the hope that a new year brings.


Irish tradition includes placing a lit candle in the window on Christmas Eve, 
symbolising a welcome to those looking for shelter on that night.


In our own window shines a golden light, a symbol of the returning sun and a sign that there 
is a place beside the fire for those in need.

May you have warmth, food & companionship this winter 
and feel the hope embodied by the reborn sun.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Mythical figures across the land.

In Ireland mythology is everywhere, in landscape, place names, at sacred sites, wells and rivers.
Within cities too the work of artists and sculptors remind us of ancient stories.


Queen Maeve -  Bronze statue in Beresford Place, Dublin. Created by Patrick O'Reilly.


In places the Children of Lír still emerge changed by Aoife into four white swans. 

 The Children of Lír, Dublin Garden of Remembrance. Created by Oisín Kelly.


The Children of Lír, Lough Owel, County Westmeath. Created by Linda Brunker.


The Children of Lír, Ballycastle, County Antrim. Artist unknown.

Our goddesses, gods and heroes still grace the land.


Sculpture of Étaín and Midhir by Éamonn O'Doherty 
standing in the park near the Ardagh Heritage & Creativity Centre.


Princess Macha at the entrance to Altnagelvin Hospital, Co. Derry by F.E Mc William. 
Macha was said to have founded the earliest hospital in Ireland. 


Éire with harp by Jerome Connor, Merrion Sq Park, Dublin.


The dying Cú Chulainn by Oliver Sheppard can be seen in the GPO, Dublin
and is a memorial to the participants of the 1916 Rising.
 Bronze statue of  Cú Chulainn carrying his dying friend Ferdia 
by Ann Meldon Hugh, Ardee, County Louth. 

Lugh on the shore of Lough Dunlewy at the foot of Mount Errigal, Co. Donegal. Artist unknown.


Manannán by Peter Grant, The Mall, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.


Sea God Manannán  by Ann Meldon Hugh, Dundalk, Co. Louth. 

One has been taken

The stolen statue of Danu who once stood near the Paps of Anu, Co. Kerry.

and one has returned.

 Manannán Commands the Sea by sculptor John Darren Sutton. 

In a moment of syncronicity when I  began to write this post I heard that the statue of Manannán Mac Lír, stolen back in January and recovered, will be erected again to look out from Binevenagh Mountain, Co. Derry towards Lough Foyle.

Welcome back!