Charleigh Huston Dec 2015
‘Twas my spring of youth in that lot
That now haunts my mind by that spot
Of which I could not love less –
Of the lake’s Serenity gown,
With nature circled ’round.
But when Death hath reached its grasp
Upon Serenity’s water – poured into his flask,
The sadistic sagacious wind went by
Murmuring the funeral cry –
Then – I finally awake –
To the terrors of Serenity Lake.
Yet I persist that it was not fright!
Simply Death’s delight –
Fueled by the Void of Sorrow,
Pierced by Serenity’s arrow –
No! – This Love I must define!
The trip to the lake, of thee and thine.
O! – Death’s grasp laid in that voracious wave,
Enticing Serenity to be my eternal grave,
Upon that very fatal spot –
Where the two children rot.
For no soul shall ever make,
A Heaven out of Serenity Lake.
Carrauntoohil (/ˌkærənˈtuːl/, Irish: Corrán Tuathail) is the highest peak on the island of Ireland. Located in County Kerry, it is 1,038 metres (3,406 feet) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh at 1,010 m (3,310 ft), while the ridge westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher at 1,001 m (3,284 ft). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”), to the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”) and to the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).
Carrauntoohil is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, i.e. a mountain greater than 3,000 ft (910 m) high that is outside (or furth of) Scotland, which is why it is sometimes referred to as one of the Irish Munros.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. A poem by: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Images of Banna Strand, Kerry, Ireland
From “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The “Rime“ is one of the greatest pieces of Romantic literature. And the section of this epic poem in which the dead sailors get up and start sailing the boat again without seeing anything is as terrifying as anything in the horror genre.
The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.
The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.
They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.
The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—
We were a ghastly crew.
The body of my brother’s son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.
‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!’
Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
‘Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corpses came again,
But a troop of spirits ablest:
For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.
Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.
Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the sky-lark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!
And now ’twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel’s song,
That makes the heavens be mute.
It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.
Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.
Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.
The Sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she ‘gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.
Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.
River has a silver string that runs its length,
holds it to a source in the mountains.
River cradles its corded muscles of water
between high banks, giving the banks no thought
as it bites them with eddies,
eroding their lower flanks.
River thinks it is only water and the gristle
of currents, hay stacking surfaces
and deep, bellowing falls
running for the sea, though
it does not know it is there.
River should take more care of its banks.
Banks are what hold it a river, give
direction, keep it mitering downward.
Without banks, river loses its way,
becomes a swamp and stills.
All my life I have chafed at river banks,
fighting to spread my currents
in whatever turn needed exploring.
The high song of freedom seemed
to be a music of ‘no banks’,
and yet the whole joy of rivers is pushing,
etching the banks to join the flow,
but having them hold.
Sailing to Byzantium
by William Butler Yeats
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon‐falls, the mackerel‐crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing‐masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
The Abbey of Muckross KIllarney or the Franciscan Friary of Irrelagh, was founded for the Observatine Franciscans in 1448, and is the burial place of local chieftains and three Gaelic poets
It is famous for the large ancient yew tree that rises above the cloister and extends over the abbey walls. Some think the abbey was built around the tree, as yews are seen in folk lore as a tree of life and linked to the immortality of the soul.
Muckross Abbey Today
While today it is a ruin and has no roof, the building is reasonably well preserved
The abbey is open to the public and is a short five- minute walk from the car park on the N71. It is three miles from Killarney Town.
The Ghost of the Brown Man
It has been rumoured that the abbey and its adjoining graveyard may have inspired Dublin-born writer Bram Stoker.
Historical records document that a religious hermit named John Drake lived in the abandoned friary for eleven years during the mid 1700s. Drake famously slept in a coffin.
Meanwhile, an ancient legend tells of “the Brown Man” who was seen by his wife feasting on a corpse within one of the graves.
These stories may have fueled the Dracula novel, written by Stoker, who visited the area in the late 19th century, and was seen wandering around the ruins late at night.
Today, visitors to Muckross Abbey agree that it has an uncomfortably spooky atmosphere.
Image Gallery in full ….
Life The Way It Should Be
by : Taylor Jordao
Tell me what do you see
Purple, green, and gold,
Mountain peaks that touch the sky
Little black birds flying by
Sun setting in the west
Flowers in the east,
Calm, relaxing breeze
And forests filled with trees
Tell me what do you see
The sky starts to fade as night approaches
Animals will soon come out
The spring is ending without a doubt
Fall is coming near
Cold weather’s on its way,
Flowers start to die
Birds go south, bye bye.
Tell me what do you see
Happiness, love, and beauty,
Everyone is free
Life the way it should be.
The original purpose of bullan stones is not really known, but they have an undisputed association with water and worship. A ‘bullaun’ is a deep hemispherical cup hollowed out of a rock. Bullaun Stone refers to the rock itself, which can have many bullauns in it, although many are single.
Water in Pagan life
Water (Uisce in irish / place names after : Adare, the ford that feeds the oak tree.) is a feminine energy and highly connected with the aspects of the Goddess. Used for healing, cleansing, and purification, Water is related to the West, and associated with passion and emotion. In many spiritual paths, consecrated Water can be found – consecrated water is just regular water with salt added to it, and usually a blessing or invocation is said above it. In Wiccan covens, such water is used to consecrate the circle and all the tools within it. As you may expect, water is associated with the color blue.
Ten thousand years ago, before the coming of Christianity in Ireland, the rivers served a very important role in the lives of the people living along its banks. It was their source of food, and a place where their cattle and crops thrived on the nourished plains. It also acted as a barrier between opposing armies and clans. People saw the rivers as powerful objects and worshipped river gods. Often people placed weapons and ornaments of precious metal in the river as offerings to these gods.
Irish Goddess :Brighid
One of the triple Goddesses of the Celtic pantheon. She is the daughter of The Dagda, the All Father of the Tuatha de Danann, one of the most ancient people of Northern Europe. Some say there are actually three Brighids; one is in charge of poetry and inspiration; one is in charge of midwifery and healing, and the last is in charge of crafts and smiths.
She probably began as a sun Goddess. According to legend, she was born at sunrise and a tower of flame beamed from her head.
As Goddess of fire and water, she is immortalized by many wells and springs. Most important of her monuments, though, was a shrine at Kildare where there was a perpetual flame burning for Brighid. It was tended by nineteen virgins called the Daughters of the Flame, wearing deep crimson habits and bearing swords. They would not talk to men, nor could men come near the shrine. Her feast is St.Brighids Days in Ireland and is the Pagan Festival of Imbolc
When Christianity began its onset, so loved was Brighid that she was made a saint. However, the upkeep on her flame was considered pagan by the church and it was extinguished out of more than a thousand years of burning. St. Brigit remains one of the most popular Irish saints today, along with Saint Patrick.
Identical to Juno, Queen of Heaven. Symbolizes human potential. Also known as Brigit, Brigid, Brigindo, Bride.
Dark the bitter winter,
cutting its sharpness,
but Bride’s mantle,
brings spring to Ireland.
Irish Goddess :Fland
Daughter of woodland Goddess Flidais. A lake Goddess who is viewed in modern (Post Christian) folklore as an evil water faery who lures swimmers to their death.
She rules over: Water magick, rivers and lakes
Kingdom Falconry is based and located at Crag caves, Castle-island, Co. Kerry, 2km from the town. They offer you the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of very majestic and awe-inspiring birds of prey.
One of these birds is an Eurasian eagle-owl a fantastic bird that was just wonderful to get very close to.
Kingdom Falconry can be contacted from this link.
If you are in county Kerry and near Castle-island and have sometime , I would very much recommend dropping in to meet these birds.
The Eurasian eagle-owl is described as follows :
The Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) is a species of eagle-owl resident in much of Eurasia. It is sometimes called the European eagle-owl and is, in Europe, where it is the only member of its genus besides the snowy owl, occasionally abbreviated to just eagle-owl. In India, it is often called the Indian great horned owl, though this may cause confusion with the similarly named American bird.It is one of the largest species of owl, and females can grow to a total length of 75 centimetres (30 in), with a wingspan of 188 centimetres (74 in), males being slightly smaller. This bird has distinctive ear tufts, the upper parts are mottled black and tawny and the wings and tail are barred. The underparts are buff, streaked with darker colour. The facial disc is poorly developed and the orange eyes are distinctive.
The Eurasian eagle-owl is found in a number of habitats but is mostly a bird of mountain regions, coniferous forests, steppes and remote places. It is a mostly nocturnal predator, hunting for a range of different prey species, predominately small mammals but also birds of varying sizes, reptiles, amphibians, fish, large insects and earthworms. It typically breeds on cliff ledges, in gullies, among rocks or in some other concealed location. The nest is a scrape in which up to six eggs are laid at intervals and which hatch at different times. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young, and the male provides food for her and when they hatch, for the nestling’s as well.
Continuing parental care for the young is provided by both adults for about five months.
There are about a dozen subspecies of Eurasian eagle-owl. With a total range in Europe and Asia of about 32 million square kilometres (12 million square miles) and a total population estimated to be between 250 thousand and 2.5 million individuals, the IUCN lists the bird’s conservation status as being of “least concern”.
In my earlier post I posted some of my own images of the Bog of Allen, Just one of the Irish Bogs I love visiting. Last year I went to see an Art exhibition that included some painting by, county Kerry based painter Noel Browne.
Some of his paintings I share here.
I feel he has captures the wonderful feel of the Irish Bogs including the vast Landscape they produce, when they have been cut by mechanicall harvesters for Peat production. His painting capture the almost monotone landscapes with deep flooded pits created by these machines.
Tell it to the lighthouse boy
By : Maddie
Tell it to the lighthouse boy
the sleepy-eyed resounding boy,
tell it to the lighthouse boy,
who wakes his days away.
Sing it to the lighthouse boy
the bright-mouthed smiling smart-ass boy,
sing it to the lighthouse boy,
solemn, sweet, and still.
Cry it to the lighthouse boy,
the hold you close and call-out boy,
cry it to the lighthouse boy,
who thinks his thoughts alone.
Fling it to the lighthouse boy,
the bending low and catch it boy,
fling it to the lighthouse boy,
to carry on his own.
did you ever see eyes so sad?
blue-green as the foaming sea they watch,
stiller than still and deeper than you can imagine,
gazing to your depths and
speaking nothing of them.
so tell it to the lighthouse boy,
the sleepy-eyed resounding boy.
Tell it to the lighthouse boy,
who casts it out to sea.
Pagan ring forts and passage tombs , From Kerry to kilkenny
During July last year 2013, I visited two ring forts near Cahersiveen, County Kerry and posted on them as below :
Cahergall ring fort is a massive stone construction, built between 400BC and 500AD, It can be found close to Cahersiveen, County Kerry. Leacanabuaile feels very much more like a dwelling place for people to both live and keep themselves safe from the surrounding Environment. This included raiders and wild animals stealing cattle.
Sitting on a hill side near Cahersiveen in County Kerry is Leacanabuaile Stone Fort, it is considered one of the best examples of an Irish ring fort.
The name translates to ‘Hillside of the Summer Pasturage’.
The visit to both these locations was one of the most interesting history trips I have ever done and left me with a great sense of the History of Europe and of the people who lived here before Christian times.
On returning to county Kilkenny I fell like I was living in a place with a much more limited sense of history, Tipperary and Kilkenny feel much less remote than the coast line and mountains of county Kerry and their history seems to be much more modern.
Well it has taken me almost a year since the visit to Cahergall and Leacanabuaile to realise that this impression of my local area is far from true. Apart from the location of Knockroe (Post here), I have started to visit and find more and more local remains of Ireland’s past and it clearly goes way beyond the days of St Patrick and the early church.
The images below are satellite images of many passage tombs and ring forts, within 10km of our home :
Finding these locations was a real eye opener and showed to me that these forts and passage tombs must have been located through out the country.
The forts in Kerry have been restored over the last 5 years and may well have been in the same poor condition as the local ones here.
It is more than likely that the stone from these locations has been used in more modern times to build local Churches, Farms and stone walls on farm land, Yesterday I posted on the high cross at Kilkamerry and talked about this re-use of Pagan sites to build Christian locations.
It is very likely then that current church yards and grave yards have also been constructed on more of these sites, many more circular features exist on the local landscape and are possibly also ring forts but for these ones time has made things a little less clear.
What does becomes clear from looking deeper is that the pagan history of Ireland was extensive and that the pre-Christian population of this Island was as big as any other location on the European continent.
The images here are of the tomb or ring fort on Ballinlinagh hill, county Kilkenny and of the passage tomb of Knockroe :
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 !!
The boat to Skellig Michael
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.
These Islands are full of mystery and mythology from the distant past, a history that goes back to before the 8th and 9th century.
In my next post I will show lots of images taken on the island that show the walk from the landing point to the Pre-Monastic settlement at the very top, but here I just wanted to show the boat trip out to Skellig Michael itself.
There are many fishing towns around county kerry and west Cork that run boat trips out to the islands and we got our boat from the town of Portmagee on the ring of kerry.
You can see from the images below that there are about eight boats that do the daily trip out from Portmagee. There is only one trip a day, however the trip is very dependant on the weather and sea conditions , if the tide or swell of the water is to high then landing at the small quays on Skellig Michael is not possible, we were lucky on our day that both these needed conditions were perfect.
The trip out takes about an hour and we had some great company with us along the way with people from America and Canada along with us on the boat. This helped past the time very quickly and it was great to meet people who had a common interest in getting out to see the same location.
As you approach the Islands you pass the first of the two Skellig’s an Island that has only even been occupied by sea birds and almost every inch of the rocks here are covered in nesting birds. The sight and sound was just wonderful as we passed. Beyond here you have about another 20 mins before you can land on Skellig Michael itself, waiting your turn along with many other boats to land.
The trip is one of the most memorable boat journeys I have done, the views towards the Islands and back toward the Kerry coast line and the ring of Kerry are spectacular. You can see both these Islands from the coast line yet when you arrive and look back you feel very distant from the coast, the people who lived out here had a very remote existence considering the boats they used had no engines to speed up there journey.
The boat to Skellig Michael Gallery
Last year while staying in county Kerry for a holiday and on a walk around the coast line of Valentia Island we came across a sign for a Tetrapod track way and just had to go and have a look. The Track-way is down a path to the rocky sea front and ends at a rope that you stand behind to view the footprints in the rock.
It is a little difficult at first to see the prints but if you wait for the right light you can see them very clearly. Its hard to imagine the significance of these prints, about 350 millions years ago a four legged Tetrapod took a walk along a beach and left its prints in the sand this sand then over millions of years turned into rock that now resides thousands of miles away from it original location, forming the west coast of Ireland.
The only four legged animal this day was our dog Molly who as you can see just had to go and have a look at the remains her ancestor’s left.
The Tetrapod imprints are thought to date from Devonian times – somewhere between 350 and 370 million years ago. This site is of international significance as it represents the transition of life from water to land – a momentous turning point in evolution and provides the oldest reliably dated evidence of four legged vertebrates (amphibians) moving over land. The Valentia Island Tetrapod footprints are the most extensive of the four Devonian trackways in the world. (The others are in Tarbet Ness, Scotland; Genoa River, NSW Australia; Glen Isla, Victoria Australia). Access to the track way is by a pathway down to the rocks.
Tetrapod footprints, Gallery
Mount Gabriel, (Cnoc Osta in Irish) is a mountain on the Mizen Peninsula to the north of the town of Schull, in West Cork, Ireland.
The Mountain is some 407m high and is the highest in the region of west cork, you can use a roadway that services a air traffic control radar to walk or drive to the top.
From the peak of Mt. Gabriel, there are spectacular views South over Schull Harbour and Long Island Bay. To the east and southeast, the views take in Roaring Water Bay and its many islands, popularly known as Carbery’s Hundred Isles. North and West is a panoramic view of the mountains of the Beara Peninsula and South Kerry.
The day we visited it weather was warm and very clear and we got some great views, this is a wonderful walk to do if you are in West cork and one that you will not forget, on a clear day you can see the entire county and all the Peninsulas of west Cork and Kerry to the north.
Mount Gabriel, County Cork, A Gallery
It’s the weekend so why not take yourself out for the day, find some wonderful landscape to look at.
Sit down for as long as you need to clear your mind and relax ….
Puffins on skellig michael
I will post fully very soon on the Skellig Islands, a visit to both Islands is just Magical.
Each year the Islands are home to one of the worlds biggest colonies of Puffins and the above image is just one from many I got on a Visit back in July. The cliff top slopes on Skellig Michael are just breathtaking and you have to be very careful not to slip.
I really enjoyed getting these images as these wonderful bird are just magical to be around.
Lighthouse on Valencia point, County Kerry
Valencia island is a wonderful part of county Kerry and just a wonderful place to visit, the light house on the island has been open to the the public for about two years and is well work a visiting for the tour.
I was very pleased with this image as a sail boat was just passing the moment I got the view of the lighthouse that I wanted.
Our Dog Molly, she knows exactly how to relax on a Sunday evening.
After a long walk she loves nothing more than sitting down and looking at the views, she sleep’s and get her energy back for the week ahead.
Sunday evening Landscape Gallery
Sunday evening at Derriana lake
One Sunday evening during the summer, while visiting Derriana lake, county Kerry, we went for a walk along the local lanes.
We came across this old red tractor resting in a field above the lake, I felt this view reflected Sunday evenings very well.
A tractor, rested during the weekend, but ready to start all over again on Monday morning.
Its the weekend so why not find a mountain road and take a walk, look at the views, take your time and relax ……..
Its the weekend so, may-be you should find a hideaway for two days …..
But most of all relax and clear your mind ……..