the holy places
Not far out of Kenmare on the way to Glengariff is an amazing archeological site. Bonane heritage park is a veritable trove of historical significance. Within its small boundary lies one of the largest stone circles in Western Ireland as well as a fulacht fiadhl, or “burnt mound,” a horseshoe shaped outdoor cooking area. There is also a bullaun stone, or a stone with a natural occuring hollow. The ballaun stones have been linked to the worship of water and the reigning goddess Brigid. A standing stone and fairy ring complete this mystical site.
It is a cold morning with ice glazed roads and frosted ground. I take the bends with caution. I unroll my window to inhale the silence of early morning, even the birds are slow to rise in this damp cold. Hills readying for spring, bear newborn lambs that suckle their mothers, heavy with wool, and ready for the sheer. I close my eyes and listen, breathing in the earthiness of this place that has played host to our human transiency. How gracious to allow us to feed ourselves, to bath, build our fires, perform our rituals, breed, and die.
It has always seemed so strange to me that anyone could ever believe themselves to own the land, for the land is its own sovereign, we are but guests, guardians of the kingdom. I walk slowly up the steepness of a hill that humbles, leaving fresh tracks in the newly laid snow. The stones of the circle are wise old beings watching the tide of the world in its endless ebb and flow.
I feel like a young girl in their presence, inexperienced and newly born. I am aware of becoming still. The sound of melting ice, of water trickling through reeds and broken limbs, blackened leaves and soil. There is no music like that of nature undisturbed. Further up lies the fairy ring, truly steeped in mythical lore, it’s true purposes shrouded in mystery to this day. Surrounded by a dry moat, green abounds, in its center lies a hawthorn tree, or boundary bush. The hawthorn was sacred to Brigid and was used for protection as well as to enhance fertility, heal the sick and bless the newly wed. I am aware of the holiness of the site and sit in quiet. I bow to the goddess who has so faithfully fostered me in her mysteries throughout my lifetime. She is my Beloved, the one I am betrothed to. This pilgrimage is an act of honoring my bond, of showing my gratitude and devotion to her.
Afterwards I go into the small village of Bonane where a famed french chocolatier is preparing for the easter holiday in a kitchen that is clothed in stainless. The shop has neat little rows of petite chocolates and truffles, a true Parisian experience! A nine year old little boy visiting on holiday, and a relation of the owner makes me a beautiful white origami butterfly. He spontaneously and patiently shows me how to flatten the paper, making each fold with focus and intent. It is one of those moments of communion, where time becomes fluid. When complete, he demonstrates how to make it fly, then gifts it to me. There is nothing more precious to me than the anything made from the hands of a child. The chocolates are wrapped in cellophane nakedness, tied neatly with a yellow bow. Road trip delicacy.
I am on my way to Kinsale, a small shipping port not far from Cork. I say goodbye to Kenmare and the beautiful Brook Lane Hotel, but not before stopping once more for fish and chips at Wharton’s.
Best Fish & Chips on the planet!
This simple, take-away shop, is hands down the best, made to order fish and chips anywhere! The clouds make a hasty retreat as the midday sun claims ownership of the day. I take one last look at this picturesque little oasis and bid a fond farewell…
My lady clad in blue and white,
the mother of the
I find you in a circle of stone,
a silent place,
you call your own.
In the water that flows on high,
in woods, and valleys,
in starlit skies.
I lie upon your earthly swell,
in the beat of your heart,
I will dwell.
I bow to you my beloved one,
bearer of the moon,
and lover of the sun.
My womb, full of your grace,
the seeds of your love,
the souls embrace.
Written: February 24, 2019
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