Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Last full day in Ireland - Visit to the heartland - midland counties of Meath, West Meath and Offaly - Clonmacnoise on the River Shannon

Yesterday, Eugene took me on an adventure to te Heartland Counties of  Meath, West Meath, &Offaly . Which I am still digesting - Especially the story of the Children of Lir as reflected in a Franciscan restored chapel near the calm and quiet lake, with numerous white swans, Lough Derraveragh - very centering place for me, very peaceful and quiet, away from the bustle of the city.  A real sense of family and rural life. Thanks Eugene for the companionship and spirited music sharing as well.
All Hallows Grounds with a changing into autumn tree, for me the end of a interesting venture on the green isle, guided by my inner third eye and this map. (Signs and street numbers are not part of the clear heritage of roads based on cow paths.  Just started postal codes here. :-) 
Eugene drove me to Lough Owei, and here is a sculpture capturing the story of the Children of Lir.  In the center is the jealous step mother, Aoifa, who hated the King of Lir's four children, 3 boys and one girl.  I mythic part of Ireland's history......they lived as swans for from 300 to 900 years depending on who is telling the story. 

 I noticed the star in the center which is supposed to be the step mother who carried a Druidic wand. visions of Hogwarts :-)
Swan with a star ribbon at the base of the sculpture.
From here Eugene led me to a favorite quiet lake, Lough Derravaragh, where white quiet swans trolled the waters, and no other humans were around.  Likely the most meditative spot I experienced in all of Ireland.

After settling in for a bit here for a rest and with a centering ceremony....Eugene took me to a Franciscan Chapel at Multyfarnham . Now an evolving center that now is socially engaged in dealing with Autism and other social concerns in addition to having a chapel that has modern windows reflecting the story of the Children of Lir, which is an evocative story that connects me to the myths and poetry of the people here.
 Eugene took me down some of the rural cow paths (AKA Roads) to find his cousins farm house.
Mary prepared tea for us and I took a cigarette offering to to add to my prayer bundle.  I had read about burning peat, and Mary fed the stove with peat bricks, like these brown bricks that are commonly burned in this part of Ireland.

Having discerned I needed to get grounded in water today,  I liked the window of the fish, the hogan oyate in D/Lakota - father Eugene could read to Gaelic here.
Two Swan Window depicting 2 of the children of Lir 

 Single Swan window
Second single Swan Window
Faces of the Four Children of Lir with Gaelic. 
St Patrick in green 
Here Eugene took me for a walk under the avenue of mature flat cedar trees on the way to a ghostly stations of the cross scene.
The Franciscan Friary, like the Catholic Church in general, seems to be looking for new avenues to attract an increasingly disenchanted  public and we talked about the cultural shadow here in Ireland.
 Panorama of Clonmacnoise with Eugene by the wall.

Round tower of Clonmacnoise, begun in 545 by St Kieran.  His day is Sept 9, interesting to note. 
 Round tower, River Shannon Father Eugene and bell tower..
Current active gravesites, as Fr Eugene says "The Irish are very much involved with remembering their dead relatives"  With family keeping beauty to honor their loved ones on the other side.

View of Clonmacnoise from the dock on River Shannon.

   Sign on the dock.

Here is where Eugene and I shared a spontaneous dinner overlooking the River Shannon, in Shannon Bridge near the Clonmacnoise Monastic site.   My final Smithwick's Blonde with a T bone steak!  Good Irish "bo" protein. 


  1. Hello from a stranger! I was searching the internet for photos of the Great Miami River, and got sucked into your blog - what wonderful photos. thank you for posting during your travels!

    1. Hi Kate, Thanks for writing here. How are you connected to the Great Miami River? My grandfather took a lot of photos of the area a century ago. And I just like to take photos. Best regards, Tom Weaver in Minnesota ya you betcha!