Thursday, March 22, 2012

"For always I am Kerry."

A lighthouse and ponies!

Did I come up with this place in my imagination? 
I don't seem to stop asking myself this, no matter where I go.

Think I'm going to blink and wake up.

"Don't you know me? I'm your kin."

Poem by Sigerson Clifford about this land:

"My heart is looped around the rutted hills,
That shoulder the stars out of the sky,
And about the wasp-yellow fields,
And the strands where kelp-streamers lie;
Where, soft as lovers' Gaelic, the rain falls,
Sweeping into silver the lacy mountain walls."

"I should have put a noose about the throat of time,
And choked the passing of the hob-nailed years,
And stayed young always, shouting in the hills,
Where life held only fairy fears,
When I was young my feet were bare,
But I drove cattle to the fair."

"'Twas thus I lived, skin to skin with the earth,
Elbowed by the hills, drenched by the billows,
Watching the wild geese making black wedges,
By Skelligs far west and Annascaul of the willows.
Their voices came on every little wind,
Whispering across the half-door of the mind,
For always I am Kerry."

So happy to be home!

I think my eyes came from here, maybe!

"Oh, the town it climbs the mountains 
and looks upon the sea...
In sleeping time or waking time, 
'tis there I long to be."


I found a CD of my dad's three years ago, listened to it, heard the word "Cahirciveen" in it and then the word "Sheehan"! I went crazy! I found the email of the artist on the back, Sean Garvey, who is considered Ireland's best ballad singer, and we began emailing back and forth. The song was "The Boys of Barr na Sráide" - and now look where I am standing!!!

"So here's a toast to them tonight, those lads who fought with me
By the shores of Carhan River and the slopes of Bean an Ti
John Daly and Bat Andy, and the Sheehans, Con and Dan;
Those boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren."

Maybe we lived in this house? :D

Ballycarberry Castle

Jackie, my lovely hostess

Brian, standing perhaps where a lord would have feasted after a hunt.

Trying not to step backwards and fall out a five story castle window... :D

I asked if this was smog. No, they said - the farmers are burning fields of gorse, so the sheep have more room to feed!

The church my ancestors attended...

The Sheehans' home parish!

Thousand-year old ringed fort! These are mostly just found in the west here. They would have been much deeper but have been filled in with soil overtime; we are seeing the tops of them.

They are unsure of their purpose, but this one was possibly a meeting house: see all the steps and "seats"? 

When not exploring (or "gallivanting" as Brian called it!), I'm still busy. ;P

Sweet milk from a farm down the road! I am getting so healthy here in Ireland - eating organically, working five hours a day in a garden, breathing sea/mountain air, no cellphone...

Somehow I have magically turned my 10-day Kerry trip into three weeks... but I'm also missing these "siblings" back at Anverna, too! Here we are, eating royalty-worthy chocolate cake and watching a movie in bed. Not what you'd be expecting "hard-working" WWOOFers to be doing. ;)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Skelligs

I found German WWOOFers on the island, and we played tennis - with a dog that looked like Rudy!!!

Getting caught in the rain...and trying to take shelter in a pirate ship?

Ponies on the Shore Road!


Off to find the Skelligs, on the other side of the island! Here is a song about them, by Loreena McKennit (one of my favorite artists), if you want to listen to it while looking at these: 

Biking along the sea: I was surprised the water was so clear.

Where am I?

Found Bray beginning my hike!


A lamb!!! (and they are walking right on the cliff, by the way, with no fence or anything)

Anam cara? (which means "soul friend" in Irish)


The Skelligs

So happy

Long hike up Bray Head

Looking back at how far I had come...

Finally made it to the top!

Wrote in my diary a few months ago that one of my dreams was to lie on my belly on the cliffs of western Ireland....can check that one off.

'Bout a hundred foot drop, though.

Somehow I wasn't scared lying there...but when I stood up, I realized my heart was pounding and I was full of adrenaline!!

"Beneath these jasmine flowers
Amidst these cypress trees
I give you now my books
And all their mysteries."

"Many a year was I
Perched out upon the sea
The waves would wash my tears,
The wind, my memory."

Skellig Michael, the larger island in the distance, is one of the reasons we still have great works of literature today. It is home to an ancient monastery established around 200 A.D., built of bizarre beehive-looking huts of stone. Here the monks painstakingly copied out books, while Europe burned them. The monks hid themselves successfully from the rest of the world for 600 years (except for several Viking raids), only preserving manuscripts. We are indebted to them. We take it as common that we know the history of ancient Rome or can read Greek plays or even the Bible - but it is only because of these monks: otherwise this all would have died with the Dark Ages.