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Newsletter Ireland, August 2015

Newsletter Ireland, August 2015

Many of us have experienced some hard times during the past months. It wasn’t easy. There were all kinds of problems. It felt as if we were being attacked on our weak points. As if things from the past needed to be solved. Or maybe it was the energy from the Universe striking the earth in powerful waves.

And maybe things are heating up here on earth and are finally coming to a conclusion. I don’t know. I only know that a lot of people were, and still are, facing serious problems and that many didn’t and don’t feel very well.

Maybe we are being confronted with ourselves. Maybe we have to open up. Revealing who we really are. Like a challenge. Going back to our source.

Not much news in July and August. We had some wonderful groups. Reint and Gabriela came to our place for the 10th time! I had a great time with a camera team from RTL 4 taking shots in Collioure for their popular program “Camping Life.” And in Rennes-le-Chateau we had, for the first time “Le festival du Film Insolite.” A perfect place for such a happening.


End of August Door and I went to Ireland. A trip of 9 days. Visiting the sacred places in this beautiful land. A land of soft green hills, beautiful flowers and harsh stone rocks. A land surrounded by the sea. A land of rivers and lakes, of sources and springs. A land of churches and abbeys and castles. An old land, a religious land, full of Celtic crosses and huge round towers. But also a land of art, of colours, of beautiful statues, of music, dancing and singing. And a land full of whiskey and beer. A sacred land, the land of St Patrick and St Bridged. And most important of all a land full of very nice, wonderful people.


We stayed in the Temple Bar Inn, in the heart of the city. We loved the colourful pubs, both by day and by night. We greatly enjoyed the music and the beer. Door posed with two other lovely ladies. We visited the university, Trinity College. What a space, so wide and so open. And of course we went to the ‘Book of Kells. What an incredible piece of work that book is and what a beautiful library.

Later we toured the city, enjoying the shops. We paid our respects to Maggi Malone. And we visited the churches and cathedrals. Dublin has two Cathedrals, one for the Catholic Church and one for the Anglican Church. In St Teresa’s church we found a statue of Ste Anne with Mary and also a statue of Mary Magdalene. But Mary Magdalene is unfortunately a rare sight in Ireland. Christ Church cathedral was dark and not very inviting. Look at me in the crypt with these two unsavoury figures. St Patrick’s cathedral, next to a place where once his well was located, was more inspiring. Richly decorated. But I don’t understand why there were so many statues of high, English officials inside this Irish cathedral. What is the Lord Chief Justice doing in a church? Later we went to Dublin Castle, but it was closed. We then crossed the River Liffey and stared in awe at the huge pike sticking in the air.  The Spire of Dublin, also called the Monument of Light, 121,2 meters high. A last look in one of the many colourful pubs and a final picture on the Merchants Arch and that was it. Goodbye beautiful, lively, lovely Dublin!

Newgrange, Hill of Tara

Early next morning we went north. To Newgrange. It was well indicated and a large visitors Centre took care of the many tourists who visited this site. With busses we went to the sacred hill. Built, they say, around 3.000 years BC. An awesome sight. We had a good guide and went into the heart of the hill, where on December 21ste, winter solstice, the rising sun would shine deep into the mountain.

On our way to the Hill of Tara we passed a little village called Donaghmore and saw our first round tower. Door was fascinated by those towers. We bought a book called “Irish Round Towers,” detailing over 80 of these towers all over Ireland and describing its possible functions. However nobody knows for sure what they were used for.

Next we went to the Hill of Tara, the Hill of Kings. Many kings were inaugurated on this hill. Tara came first into use about 3.500 years BC. It is a huge complex, only partly excavated. From the top of the hill you can see 40% of Ireland. Look at the magnificent view over Ireland with the Stone of Destiny. Close to the hill is another sacred well, St Patricks well.


Enniskillen, Devenish Island

Further north, to Northern Ireland, to a place called Enniskillen. It was strange. Nowhere did we see the frontier between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but the differences were there. Paying in pounds instead of Euro’s. The beer and whiskey were cheaper, not such high taxes as in Ireland and the people were a little different, slightly stiffer. We had a wonderful dinner in the oldest restaurant in town, in the cellar of a pub. Haute cuisine. Next morning we took the boat to Devenish Island, a sacred place. With the beautiful ruin of an old abbey, a very ancient Celtic cross and another round tower. We loved this island.



South again, back into Ireland, to Uisneach, the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland. At is heart is the Catstone where the 5 provinces of Ireland meet. It is also one of the 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is not on any map, which is strange for every year in May a huge Fire Festival is being held on this magic hill. Next to the hill is the wonderful, heart shaped St Bridget’s Well. The Hill itself is huge. There is St Patricks well, there is the Catstone, there is a castle, and there are several intruiging statues and a small pyramid. We stayed close by in a wonderful B&B. Owned by our host, the colourful storyteller George who treated us on a beer or two and a great Thai meal.


The Burren

Then on to Galway an important harbour on the west coast of Ireland. But cities, even as pretty as Galway, are not our thing. So south we went along the coastal road to the Burren. A beautiful road, littered with castles and abbey ruins. A wild coast, full of seaweed and flowers with far away in the distance the formidable Cliffs of Moher.

Next we came to the Burren that magic, unspoiled corner of Ireland, situated between Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. A stretch of land 25 by 15 miles wide. A landscape of bare carboniferous limestone with impressive mountains, underground rivers, caves, valleys and beautiful flowers. Flowers that  cannot be found anywhere else in Ireland. We visited the ruins of the Corcomroe Abbey and stayed for a while by the Famous Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen, admiring the flat limestone rock formations around this dolmen. That night we slept in Doolin, on the coast. The place from where ships sailed to the Inishmore, the Inishmaan and Inisheer islands and to the Cliffs of Moher. In the Fitzs pub, next to our B&, we enjoyed a wonderful fish dinner.


The Cliffs of Moher

An absolute ‘must see’ in Ireland. But we had some time before going to the quay. So we visited another famous well, St Bridgid’s well near Liscannor, just south of Doolin. It is a powerful place filled with longing and hope and gratitude. The entrance to the cave is filled with a colourful mix of statues, paintings and messages. And on top of the well, encased in glass, is a statue of St Bridgid.

Then we went to our boat. A sturdy little boat called the Doolin Discovery. The weather was good with a nice fresh wind. So from time to time a bit of spray came into the oat. But Door stayed outside, brave girl. The cliffs of Moher are a spectacular sight, especially from the sea. Over 200 meters high in some places. And I, as an old navy man, I really enjoyed the tasty, salt water on my face.


The Rock of Cashel and Cork

Then to the south, past the city of Limerick to another strange place. To the Rock of Cashel, also called Ireland’s Acropolis. It was the seat of the Munster kings from around 370 to 1101 AD when it was handed over to the Church. They built a flourishing religious centre on top of the Rock. In 1647 Cromwell’s army besieged Cashel. Many residents fled to the safety of the cathedral, but it was set on fire and all told 3000 inhabitants were massacred. Now it is still a stunning site. A dark mass of limestone rising out of the Tipperary plain. The ruined cathedral is a museum. We stayed the night in a wonderful, really old fashioned B&B.

The next day we went to Cork, a lively city on the south coast of Ireland. The second largest city in the land. We were especially drawn to the little chapel on the university grounds. The chapel with the magic stained glass windows. The university itself was also an eye opener. So spacious, so green and so clean. With powerful messages on the wall and beautiful statues in the hall.

Not far from the university is St Fin Barre’s cathedral. Here St Fin Barre founded his School of Cork in 606 AD. Now there stands a truly magnificent cathedral, comparable with the most beautiful cathedrals in France. And finally some female saints at the entrance, to Door’s great joy! Look at the famous pulpit with the four evangelists. A beautiful cathedral, both inside and outside.



That is my favourite place. St Brigid arrived here with her nuns in 480 AD. There, under a great oak tree on a small ridge, she built her ‘abbey.’ On that spot now stands St Bridged’s cathedral and the foundations of an ancient fire temple. Next to the cathedral is the second highest round tower of Ireland, 108 feet high. Kildaire is a town steeped in religion. With a cathedral and a church dedicated to St Bridged and with a white abbey, a grey abbey and a black abbey nearby. Sacred stones are scattered all over the country. There is the famous Well of St Bridged, holding her flame. There are some great pubs in Kildare, serving delicious local beer and great food. A little south of Kildare are the Japanese gardens and the new building of Solas Bhride, founded by two dedicated nuns. It is a center to unfold the legacy of St Bridged who is standing in the garden. Kildare is also famous for the Currach plains. The Limestone rich grass strengthens the horses bones and some of the finest horses are produced in this area.

We stayed for a couple of days in a wonderful place, the Ballindrum Farm B&B. The people were very kind and showed us a special Well of St Patrick, completely off the beaten track. A truly magic place with a nice statue of the saint himself.

Glendalough, Avoca and Wicklow

Visits to the Wicklow mountains, to Glendalough, to Avoca and to Wicklow itself, situated on the coast of the Irish Sea, are some of the other ‘must see’ places.

When travelling to the east we suddenly saw on a hill a wonderful round stone circle. Quite big, in the middle of a meadow full of cows. There was no sign, no path, nothing. We climbed a fence, walked up to the hill and stared in wonder at this perfect stone circle, of about 70 metres in diameter. Our next stop was one of the most famous Celtic Crosses in the land, the Cross of Moone. Difficult to find but worthwhile. A huge cross full of scenes from the bible.

Then up to the Wicklow mountains. We stopped at a small river and stared in wonder at the colour of the water. Driving on a lovely road through 800 metres high mountains we had a spectacular view if the valley. Huge stone formations and large fields of heather bordered the road. Glendalough itself was pretty touristic. Hundreds of people were wandering through the area visiting the church ruins, the abbey ruins and the round tower. No wonder, it is not far from Dublin and it is a great day out. We had a nice walk to the beautiful Upper Lake. Magic.

Then on to the east coast. First to AVOCA, the artistic centre of Ireland. What a beautiful, colourful and soft hand made products can be found here. A little further, in Arklow, we arrived at the coast and saw the Irish Sea. But is was busy. We drove up to Wicklow and stayed for a while admiring the gentle east coast of Ireland. But then the rain came in, heralded by a wonderful rainbow. A great end to a great journey.

Newsletter September/October 2015

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Comments 2

Guest - Karen Williams on Monday, 14 September 2015 19:46

Looks a fabulous holiday! I am ashamed to say I have NEVER been to Ireland but I am certainly inspired to go now.

Looks a fabulous holiday! I am ashamed to say I have NEVER been to Ireland but I am certainly inspired to go now.
Guest - Sonia de Winter on Monday, 14 September 2015 22:36

I was there years ago, your description and pictures made alive again in all his glory and beauty....wonderfull!

I was there years ago, your description and pictures made alive again in all his glory and beauty....wonderfull!
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