Freedom of the Hills
By: Douglas Fraser – 1968
Mine is the freedom of the tranquil hills
When vagrant breezes bend the sinewy grass,
While sunshine on the widespread landscape spills
And light as down the fleet cloud-shadowed pass.
Mine, still, that freedom when the storm-clouds race,
Cracking their whips against defiant crags
And mists swirl boiling up from inky space
To vanish on the instant, torn to rags.
When winter grips the mountains in a vice,
Silently stifling with its pall of snow,
Checking the streams, draping the rocks in ice,
Still to their mantled summits I would go.
Sun-drenched, I sense the message they impart;
Storm-lashed, I hear it sing through every vein;
Among the snows it whispers to my heart
“Here is your freedom. Taste – and come again.”
At the end of June 2013 I posted about the “last of the Primrose” , well its hard to believe that its a full year since the first Primrose’s flowered in 2013 but these wonderful little river bank flowers are back again.
These Primrose grow beside the banks of the river Linguan as it works its way down towards the river suir, at Carrick -on-suir. I take Molly our golden retriever here for a swim in the rock pools, its a perfect place on a spring day.
I found the following information about Primrose’s :
Primroses grow on shady river banks, and in woods and hedges and are common in Ireland. The characteristic rosette of green crinkled leaves appears first in March. The flowers then come up on individual stalks and open in the month of April. The flowers have five pale yellow petals.
In some flowers the stems are very long and the centre is small – these are called thrum flowers. If on the other hand you are looking at a flower with very short stem, it is called a pin flower.
They are perennial flowers, which means that they survive from year to year and grow again every Spring without having to be planted.
Primroses were very important to farmers long ago for their cows. The butter-making season began in May and in order to be sure that the cows would produce lots of milk for butter, primroses were rubbed on their udders. In other houses primroses were scattered on the thresholds of houses before dawn on May day to protect the butter from the fairies.
Primroses were also associated with hens and the laying of eggs. It was considered unlucky to bring primroses into the house if eggs were being hatched there.
Primroses were often gathered and given as a gift. However it was considered to be very unlucky to give just a single primrose, whereas a very full bunch would be a protection against evil spirits.
Primroses bloomed in Tír na nÓg and people returning from there in the old Irish legends always brought primroses as proof that they had been there.
In folk medicine, rubbing a toothache with a primrose leaf for two minutes would give relief from the pain. It was also widely used as a cure for jaundice.
What is a Primrose?
To the question, “what is a primrose?”
There are several valid answers
One person says,
“A primrose by the river´s brim”
A yellow plant was to him, just that.
Another, a scientist, says,
“A primrose is a delicately balanced
Biochemical mechanism requiring
Potash, phosphates, nitrogen and water
In definite proportions”
A third person says they are,
“Primrose of spring from the gods”
All these statements are true.
Primrose along the river Lingaun, Gallery
The Children of Lir is a very old Irish legend. The original Irish title is “Clann Lir or Leanaí Lir”, but Lir is the genitive case of Lear. Lir is more often used as the name of the character in English. The legend is part of the Irish Mythological Cycle, which consists of numerous prose tales and poems found in medieval manuscripts.
The Children of Lir
Long ago there lived a king called Lir. He lived with his wife and four children: Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra and Conn. They lived in a castle in the middle of a forest. When Lir’s wife died they were all very sad. After a few years Lir got married again. He married a jealous wife called Aoife.
Aoife thought that Lir loved his children more than he loved her. Aoife hated the children. Soon she thought of a plan to get rid of the children.
One summer’s day Aoife took the children to swim in a lake near the castle. The children were really happy to be playing in the water. Suddenly Aoife took out a magic wand. There was a flash of light and the children were nowhere to be seen. All there was to be seen was four beautiful swans, with their feathers as white as snow.
Aoife said, “I have put you under a spell. You will be swans for nine hundred years,” she cackled. “You will spend three hundred years in Lough Derravaragh, three hundred years in the Sea of Moyle and three hundred years in the waters of Inish Glora,” Aoife said. She also said, “You will remain swans for nine hundred years until you hear the ring of a Christian bell.”
She went back to the castle and told Lir that his children had drowned. Lir was so sad he started crying. He rushed down to the lake and saw no children. He saw only four beautiful swans.
One of them spoke to him. It was Fionnuala who spoke to him. She told him what Aoife had done to them. Lir got very angry and turned Aoife into an ugly moth. When Lir died the children were very sad. When the time came they moved to the Sea of Moyle.
Soon the time came for their final journey. When they reached Inish Glora they were very tired. Early one morning they heard the sound of a Christian bell. They were so happy that they were human again. The monk (some even say it was St. Patrick himself) sprinkled holy water on them and then Fionnuala put her arms around her brothers and then the four of them fell on the ground. The monk buried them in one grave. That night he dreamed he saw four swans flying up through the clouds. He knew the children of Lir were with their mother and father.
By : Sara Nummenpää
you’ve swept me away
in your rivers,
do you know you steal my breath?
I can’t help it, I surrender
to you, so
surround me, encompass me,
cover me with your skin,
your flesh and wings;
lead me, I know you can.
for just a while, and
I’ll lead you,
until you find
what you are looking for.
I am yours to break.
and if you ever want
to forget me for a while,
to lead me no longer –
that is okay,
for you’ve loved me once,
and that is enough.
Kilmogue Portal Tomb
Sitting at the end of a short path near Harristown, county kilkenny, is a six thousand year old tomb, know nationally at the Kilmogue Portal Tomb but locally as, “Leac an Scail” – stone of the warrior/hero in English.
I have visited the site many times and I still find it an amazing location, the site has a sign placed near it that you can see below. It clearly states that the site has never been officially excavated, as is the case for many of these locations in Ireland. From evidence of Tombs constructed in exactly the same way around the European continent it is thought to be some six thousand years old. To put this in context , the great pyramids in Egypt were constructed around 2560 BC, so this tomb is some 1500 years older.
The tomb is constructed with a very large cap stone and side walls and it is hard to imagine just how the cap stone was lifted into place. The stones that can still be witnessed here would however have been surround by a mount of earth that has been long removed or washed away by six thousand years of rain. This earth mount would have been large maybe some 20 meters in diameter. It was likely then that the walls of the tomb were put in place first and supported with wood, then the earth mound constructed and finally the large cap stone rolled up the sides into its place and covered with more earth on top.
It is not known who’s tomb this was but the person buried here must have been considered very important in this Neolithic community, and the tomb would have acted as a place of memory for them and as was the tradition at the time the community would have held ceremonies here.
Each time I have visited I wonder just what these people where like, they were clearly pagan in their beliefs and very close to their surroundings and its nature. Life would have been completely different from the life we know, they lived and moved to the cycles of the seasons, they eat and lived from the wildlife and nature that surrounded them, in some season they would have little food. They most likely had Gods and figure heads yet we have a tendency to place our own modern religious understanding on-to what this meant to them.
It is likely that their Gods were Mythical in nature and derived from memories of real people who Mythically they created with different elements and forces of life and nature that affected the lives they lived.
List wikipedia page lists some of these Gods and Goddesses and shows the forces in life and nature that they related to.
I hope that the images below relate the Tomb and its location, the surrounding Landscape is very rural and one of county Kilkennys biggest dairy farming areas.
Leac an Scail, Image Gallery
Irish Passage Tombs
Located on the side of Duntryleague Hill, County Limerick and the westerly extension of Slievenamuc hill is a passage tomb. The Tomb was constructed for Olioll Olum, one of the early Kings of Munster.
The name Duntryleague is derived from Dún-Trí-Liag, meaning the fort of three pillar stones. Diarmuid and Gráinne are also said to have rested here in their flight from the angry Fionn Mac CumhaillWell.
The route through the forest leading to the burial ground is accessible and leads to this amazing rock structure of the tomb. There is one enormous rock slab resting steadily across a number of famous cairns which measures approximately 25m north -south and 22m east-west. Continuing on from the cairn you come across many natural viewing points which extend over the terrain of west Limerick.
Olioll Olum, was a King of Munster, who died in 234, he is said to have been progenitor of most of the great families of the south of Ireland. He married Sabia, daughter of Con of the Hundred Battles, ruler of the north of Ireland.
He willed that after his death the sovereignty of Munster should vest alternately in the descendants of his son Eoghan Mor (the Eugenians, or Eoganachts, occupying the southern part of Munster), and those of his son Cormac Cas (the Dalcassians, occupying the northern part of the same province).
The images below include some landscapes of the surrounding mountains, this is not a bad place to be laid to rest.
Gallery of a Passage Tomb
In a Sleepy Hollow, Wild Sorrel grows
Glenbower woodlands is located near the village of owning in the south of county Kilkenn. In the middle of the wood is located a deep and very sleepy hollow, in winter the hollow is covered in fallen leaves from the trees that are located on the very edges of cliffs above.
Spring time however brings new life with fox dens located in the cliffs and a carpet of ferns and Wild woodland Sorrel with its many white and purple flowers.
Sorrel is found carpeting many Irish old, undisturbed woodlands in spring, this pretty downy perennial also grows on moss-covered trees and shady stone walls and is widespread throughout the country.
Each pretty white flower has five petals, bell-shaped some (10 – 15 mm), held on a stem which comes directly from the roots. The petals are lined with a tracery of purple veins through to the golden centre of the flower. The three petalled heart-shaped leafs fold up towards late afternoon or in rain as do the fragile flowers.
They Can be eaten and have a sharp taste of oxalic acid, wonderful with salads and as a garnish. The flowers blooms from April to June.
Wild Sorrel is a native plant to Ireland and belongs to the family Oxalidaceae.
Sleepy Hollow Image Gallery
Tuesday and the Easter holiday weekend is over , I went for an early morning walk and was trying my best to plan the week ahead. Failing in most respects however. I found myself lost in the morning and distracted by just how wonderful the soft light was, we had a light covering of cloud and it resulted in some wonderful light and colours across the fields and woods.
Still a little frustrated as I sat at my desk, I decided to write down some words and share them in a post along with some images I took along my morning walk.
The morning of Tuesday 22nd April 2014.
This morning light
When first morning light comes to reveal the landscape,
There are many thoughts that I ponder in my mind,
last nights dreams fading away.
This mornings sounds should give a clue,
If I could only remember what it is I need to do,
I know it came to me last night, fading fast into the morning light
I walk on past these fields covered in soft light,
What was that dreams I had last night,
Completely gone and washed away,
Taken into yet another day.
Happy Easter to everyone.
The great Easter holiday weather in our part of Ireland has finally broken with rain this evening for the first time in about two weeks, we had a wonderful morning however as the sky was blue and clear and the sun rise was wonderful.
One thing I love to do on an Easter Sunday is to get outside an experience our local landscape, This morning setting off to walk up Slievenamon our local mountain about 10km from home, many people had the same idea and it was great to meet and say hello to people doing their first big hill walk of the Summer.
The Images below I hope go a little way to sharing the landscape and views from this wonderful mountain, They include some images of the Burial cairn at the very summit of Slievenamon.
Happy Easter !!
Easter Sunday on SLievenamon : Gallery
It’s Easter Saturday and the weather is still wonderful here in Kilkenny, It is a great feeling to be able to walk down the country lanes and get some great views of our local landscapes.
The Cattle are all out of the sheds for the summer and colour has returned to the fields.
The below Gallery are some images taken this morning on a walk around our local area.
Kilkenny Landscape Gallery
The Easter weekend is traditionally to first weekend of warm summer days here in Ireland, its a great time to get out and about and what better place than going down to the beach.
With a population of only 4.3 Million the beaches are never to full at this time of year, yet the weather can be very good. The images in this post were taken this Morning at the small fishing town of Dunmore east and the near by beach of Forenaught, a small and private little place that’s great for a morning swim.
Easter(Ostara) time and Hawthorn flowers
In my last post I hinted that I was going to take a little time off over the Easter holidays, sometime away from my phone or laptop and get outside as much as possible, its spring time here and after all our winter storms the landscape is returning to life with colour and wildlife in full flow.
Yesterday I took some time to do some long walks, just myself and Molly our Golden retriever, around many of county Kilkenny’s paths and country lanes.
Each Easter here one of the first signs of Spring and Summer is the Hawthorn flowers, Hawthorn is a very popular form of hedging in the county and all the road side and field hedges turn to white as the flowers bloom.
The images here I hope show just how white and full these flowers are, its a wonderful sight each year and really lets you know that summer is only just around the corner..
Hawthorn Flowers : Gallery
Easter to many Christians marks a religious holiday and the two weeks around Easter weekend is traditionally a Holiday time.
Before the Christian tradition however it was still marked as Ostara by the Pagan world, marking a time of rebirth and new life, Life has returned to the landscape with new growth and natural foods available. Wild life is on the move again starting to make plans for a new breeding season, finding foods themselves and getting to put some much needed body weight back on.
Over the next two weeks I want to get out and capture these changes, as the march towards the summer months feels ever closer and closer.
Where Go the Boats?
Dark blue is the river.
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.
Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating—
Where will all come home?
On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.
Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore
Robert Louis, Stevenson
Walking across a field at Coolehill
Walking across the fields of Coolehill,
Ash, Briar, hawthorn, holly, and hazel
A wall around the field that your in.
is a big blue sky, with its layers of soft clouds,
held up by the rows of oaks.
A sheltered patch of sunshine:
and stand in silence
and close your eyes
and feel the warmth on your face,
whilst a blackbird sings.
inspired by Holbury Lane, Lockerley
Grand Union canal, Harefield (1988 to 2014)
Up until some 18 years ago I lived and worked in Harrow , Middlesex, North London. Working in the IT industry with long hours and shift work included. I really Valued my time off and would spend a lot of my weekends out walking in the country around North London. The Grand Union Canal was one of my most visited locations , it runs from Inner London to Birmingham in the Midlands of the UK.
Recently I took some time off to visit the Canal again after some twenty six years, It was great after all this time to get back and walk some old steps, I had no idea what could have changed. When I got back I remembered that I must have some old images taken during my original walks here.
So when I got back home to Ireland, I found some black and white images of an old canal side factory that marked the start of my walks, the images below show just how little the building has changed. It looks like it is just used for smaller office units these days but apart from this, its still very much looks like the place in my film images.
It was great to walk these old places, I have very good memories of walking and doing my best to relax after a long working week and to get a fresh image of the old canal in my mind was just great.
Film Gallery (1988), using a Nikon FM2 and Ilford XP2 Black and white film
Digital Gallery (2014), using a Fujifilm X100.
Oweynagat or the ‘Cave of Cats’ has to be one of the more unusual and unique sites in Ireland. The cave features a souterrain with a lintel supporting the entrance but then leads into a naturally formed cave. Oweynagat features heavily in Irish mythology, mainly because of its placement near Queen Medb’s fort which was at the center of the ancient Connaught capital of ‘Cruachan‘. The cave was said to be the actual birthplace of Queen Medb herself, the story goes that a goddess and fairy queen named Étain was fleeing her human husband with her fairy lover Midir. Midir wished to visit a relative named Sinech (meaning ‘large-breasted one’) who lived in the cave, the cave was said to be a great palace in the other-world and a maidservant named Crochan Crogderg (meaning ‘blood-red cup’) became enamoured with the place. She was granted the cave by Étian and it was here at Crochan gave birth to a daughter, Medb.
Many different myths from the lifetime of Medb surround the cave, it was said to have served as a portal through which the Goddess Morrigan used to pass to the other-world Morrigan was the goddess of battle and strive and was said to drive her other-world cattle into the cave at Oweynagat each sunset. Once Morrigan was said to have stolen the herds of a girl named Odras and brought them with her to the other-world, Odras tried to follow Morrigan but the unfortunate girl was turned into a lake by the goddess.
Another mention of the cave of the cats features one of Medb’s male servants Nera who had met a fairy woman in the cave and married her. His fairy bride warned that Medb’s palace would be burnt to the ground the following Samhain (November 1st) by creatures from the other-world , with this Medb stationed all her forces in the cave at Samhain to protect Cruachan from utter destruction.
The cave continued to be known as a place of power, acting as a portal to the other-world its power was extremely pronounced near Samhain as this was when the veil between the worlds lessened. Another story relates to the ‘Ellen Trechen’, this was a three headed monster that emerged from the cave and ravaged the local countryside before being killed by the Ulaid poet and hero Amergin.
As Christianity took hold in Ireland the belief in the cave being a ‘gateway to hell’ grew, an 18th century religious text describes Oweynagat as the ‘hell-mouth of Ireland’. It was believed that Oweynagat was linked to another ’hell-mouth’ many kilometres away at the Kesh Corran .
Oweynagcat cave, Gallery
By : William Ernest Henley.
The nightingale has a lyre of gold,
The lark’s is a clarion call,
And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute,
But I love him best of all.
For his song is all of the joy of life,
And we in the mad, spring weather,
We two have listened till he sang
Our hearts and lips together.
Summer daisies, they’re my flowers,
Which nobody else may grow.
In a big quarrelsome house like ours
They try it sometimes—but no,
I root them up because they’re my flowers,
Which nobody else may grow.
Claire has a tea-rose, but she didn’t plant it;
Ben has an iris, but I don’t want it.
Daisies, double Yellow daisies for me,
The beautiful-est flowers in the garden.
The summer daisy, that’s my mark:
I paint it in all my books!
It’s carved high up on the beech-tree bark,
How neat and lovely it looks!
So don’t forget that it’s my trade mark;
Don’t copy it in your books.
Claire has a tea-rose, but she didn’t plant it;
Ben has an iris, but I don’t want it.
Daisies, yellow daisies for me,
The beautiful-est flowers in the garden.
By : Robert Graves
One day last summer while I was walking along the beach at Ballybunion,county Kerry, I was trying to think of words that gave a sense of this place , so I jotted down the following word list for a poem, but I feel its a poem as it is.
cool air, sound of sea birds, fresh breeze,
people walking, dogs running, cold swimmers, children shouting,
Waves rolling, people eating, chatting, talking, cliffs casting shadows,
Old castle walls dominating, caves temping you to explore,
Posters offering family photographs, lunch time meals and places to shop,
Restful moments , capturing views,
Old people pottering, memories of traditions past,
Time dragging to a stop, mind slowing,
Families gathering, men managing, car doors shutting, keys locking, after parking,
deep breaths taken, locations chosen, bags unpacked,
People now sitting, grannies talking, best instructions, suggestions given,
Steps taken, shoes in hand,
Temperature falling, evening calling, holiday homes inviting,
Beach clearing, winds rising, cold setting in,
Sea birds return, dogs last walk of the day
Night fisher man setting lines, day over
Peace and nature returning, tide rising,
On Ballybunion beach.
Ballybunion, county Kerry
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington
Ballybunion , county Kerry
Ballybunion in county Kerry is one of Ireland’s most visited sea side locations, it a wonderful little town with a long history of holiday makers visiting here.
It has one very interesting feature that relates to its beach’s, there are two commonly used beaches divided by the reamins of an old castle on the cliff. The beach to the left of the castle (if looking toward the sea) is called the “Men’s Beach”, and the one to the right the “Ladies Beach”, given to the fact that men used to bathe on a separate beach from women and children. Although this practice has not been observed for decades, its amazing to think in this day and age how it even worked or became Normal practice.
Family members having to split-up for a swim.
There is a small cafe, hot seaweed baths and ice cream shop on the women’s beach. The large cliffs to the right of the women’s beach have shallow caves.
The sheer cliffs over the beach have a scenic walking path, featuring a blowhole, views of sea stacks and a multitude of wildlife. The path takes about 20 minutes to walk, and goes round to the “Nun’s Beach”, a beautiful beach with no access these days, it is overlooked by an old convent.
You get an overwhelming feeling of history here from times when traditions and culture was very different than the many visitors today experience.
Ballybunion, is still a place well worth a visit !!
After the Storm
by Hilen Letiro
The storms may come And limbs may break;
Yet others bend Beneath the weight
Of heavy rain And windy breeze…
A storm can mark The strongest trees.
Life sometimes deals With us this way;
In unseen trials We meet each day.
It’s not how much our bodies break
Or how much they may bend;
It’s Our Outlook In Our Own Life
That helps our spirits mend!
Read more at Poem : After the Storm
Skellig Michael : Inside the walls
Skellig Michael is an Island some 12 to 16 kilometres by boat from the ring of kerry, county Kerry, Ireland. It is most famous for the fact that during the 6th to the 8th Century’s a religious settlement was established here.
The Island is a world heritage site and falls under the guardianship of UNESCO, you can find the official historic details from the link on the world heritage web page here : Skellig Michael
In my last two posts I shared the boat trip to the Island and then the long but wonderful walk up to the settlement at the very top of the Island some 218 meters from sea level. Today I just want to share images of the inside area , the location that the people who lived here spent their life’s and also the location in which they are buried and there final resting place.
The images in the Gallery below are placed in the order that you view the buildings when you walk through the site, the only access is through a small passage in the outer walls.
The very first thing that greets you are two small head stones, in a very small patch of grass. These are the graves of two young boys, it was a tradition that monks in this period would take very young boys as members to their orders. These boys where from families on the main land and once they moved here they would most likely never return to see there families. Our guide informed us that it is a possibility that both boys were killed by Viking invaders as when the remains where examined wounds were found that indicate that they were killed by the use of weapons, both boy did not pass the ages of ten or twelve. It is also thought that other graves in the pictures here, in the centre of the living area contain some adult victims of such attacks.
A monastery may have been founded as early as the sixth century, reputedly by Saint Fionán but in 1044 rededicated to Saint Michael, the image here shows a large sculpture that is located towards the middle of the complex. It was described by our guide as being a cross but it could also be very much in the form of a human figure, with the arms to the side and a head looking over the site.
The word Skellig is defined as meaning “splinter of a stone”, and thus this rocky island was dedicated to saint Michael, there are also other Islands around Europe and maybe further away that are dedicated to this saint ( Mont Saint-Michel France, St Michael’s Mount Cornwall)
One of the most famous features of Skellig Michael are the so called Beehive structures, there were may be six or seven of these of which six are still standing, they were the living space for each of the monks, this fact would indicate that a maximum of seven people lived here in the beehives at any one time, there is a structure at the very end of the settlement that is constructed completely differently, It is thought that the head of the order would have lived in this building but few fact to prove this exist.
In any case the indications are that eight people lived on Skellig Michael at anyone time during its long history.
Living with in these stone constructions looks very harsh , during the time they were occupied however they would have looked very different, in some of the pictures you can see supporting stones that stick out of the main buildings by some amount, it is thought that these stones supported a covering of thatch consisting of straw and clay, this would have been deep and was used to keep the inner stone structure warn and dry. Not all but some of the Beehives have a hole in the roof that was used to let out smoke from fires inside.
At some point I want to post about the life’s of these people, who they were and why they chose to live here, I need to read a little more however , so for the moment that’s it. Three post over the last three day that I hope share a visit to this wonderful and mystical island. If you get a chance I would really in-courage you to visit. Its an experience of a lifetime and helps to open your mind to European history.
I cannot help however feeling that this place holds something else other than the official history, The question as to why these monks felt the need to occupy Skellig Michael, so far of the Irish coast line, is very big !
This place feels like an escape, a refuge but from what and why ?
With such massive risk’s taken by a small group of people to construct three stone walk-ways to the top of the Island and then build the settlement, the question of why looms very large. These were times that the word of Christianity was first being spread across Ireland so why the need to hide away here ?
I need Much more reading, before I understand these bigger questions 🙂
Skellig Michael (unesco heratage site) , country Kerry Ireland
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington
Skellig Michael, six hundred steps to heaven
During the summer last year I finally achieved a long ambition, to visit Skellig Michael and the Skellig islands some 16 kilometres off the county Kerry coast line, Ireland.
In yesterday post I shared the boat trip out to the Islands, today I want to share the walk up the six hundred plus stone laid steps to the very top where the world famous monastic outpost is located.
During the boat trip one of our guides pointed out one of three stair cases to the top, if you open up this picture you will see it rising up to the settlement, there are three of these routes up that were hand built with stone cut on the island. The three of them provided landing points during different tides and weather conditions.
Landing on the Island is an experience in its own right as the swell from the sea water makes stepping off the boat great fun. As you set foot on ground again, the first stage of the walk to the top is a well laid foot path taking you to about half way around the island and about one third of the way up the 218 meters you need to climb before reaching the settlement.
As this path ends you are met by a guide, who very firmly insists you all receive a health and safety talk, sadly sometime back a visitor died while walking up the steps, the walk is very steep and if you loose your footing the drop all the way to the sea below is not broken by any obstacles. He advises to take your time, “its not a race to the top and that if you need a rest to take one.”
The walk up is hard but very pleasurable, the views as you go are stunning if a little breath taking due to the hight. One of the warnings however was to keep your eyes on your steps and not to take any images unless you had stopped in a secure location and moved aside for others to pass, even telling the people behind that you intend to stop. as you can see in the images below there are some platforms and viewing points and I did my best to only stop here.
One of the wonderful views on your way up was the hundreds of Puffins nesting here, they were due to leave any-time so its was great to still find so many of them, I got many images of them along the way.
Finally after some forty minutes you reach the last set of steps , turning through some sharp rocks you get the first view of the Settlement. This sight just takes you back, the stone wall that greets you is about four meters high from a terrace that is the only flat area on the entire Island, being used to grows vegetables in its day.
From here the only access to the inner yards and structures is through a small door in the stone wall.
On entering you are met with the sight of the famous beehive cells of which six are still standing. The enclosed area is small and fully protected from the elements by the hight of the sea facing wall. The structure of the cells is very unique and fascinating to see. in the centre of the buildings is a small grassed area that served as a grave yard. I found this fact very interesting as it outlines the fact that the people who lived here spent their entire lives living on this Island from the moment they first arrived.
I want to post one more time on Skellig Michael, showing the full structures , living spaces and detail some of the history of this place. It is truly a fascinating place that holds some mysterys. The biggest one’s to me are : why here ?, why did these people select to live at the top of a rock over ten kilometres from the Kerry coast line, when they could have just lived on the main land?
More in the next post …
Skellig Michael, image Gallery