Thanks for a great and most memorable trip to the Emerald Isle. Plans are underway to do it all again in 2012. For more information keep an eye out for the Spirit of Ireland Journey next June.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
After 10 days in Southwest Ireland, with our hearts filled with great music, new friends and Celtic memories to last a lifetime, we end up back in Shannon where many people stayed an extra day to tour the Bunratty Castle and Bunratty Theme park... A magical time was had by all.
Every day was an encore with this trip, but having a day with P.J. Curtis, who shared with us his wisdom of Celtic music, Irish history, mythical Celtic lore (and much, much more) was one of the best. Here is P.J. at a church ruin, explaining the artwork above the door of the church, a stone relief of the Celtic Goddess Sheela Na Gee.
Ireland has many castles, including a Castle Tower in the town of Doolin, know as the traditional music capitol of Ireland, where we spent three days taking in the music and the sights. This photo, taken at sunset, reveals the magic of Eire.... enjoy!
What would a trip to Ireland be without a stop at the beautiful Cliffs of Moher? One of the most popular sites in all of Ireland, they have been filmed in a great many movies, from Ryan's Daughter to The Princess Bride. We hit it lucky with the weather...
One of the highlights of our trip is the exposure to traditional Irish music. Dingle has some of the best traditional music in all of Ireland and we heard a lot of it right in our hotel pub. Tom, our beloved in-country host, is well connected and we are all the more blessed because of it. Pictured here is renowned artist Brendan Begley and his son on guitar...simply amazing
We plan this trip around the summer solstice and end the day at a 600 year old church on the Dingle Peninsula called the Gallarus Oratory, a stone church made with no mortar. An amazing place for sure (with great acoustics) . Inside acclaimed musician, Jeremy Spencer played fiddle and Dan sang some songs on guitar. It was a magical time for sure..
I did my part in this ceremony, reading a poem from John O'Donahue's book, To Bless the Space Between Us. O'Donahue is renowned for his acclaimed book, Anam Cara, which each person was sent before the start of the trip as a gift for coming on this journey.
We do many healing ceremonies on this trip, but perhaps the best ceremony was a renewal of wedding vows by one couple (Alan and Janet) who celebrated their 25 wedding anniversary on the trip. We did this ceremony at the Gougan Berra monastery. Congrats Janet and Alan...
We were honored to have with us musical legend, Dan Sebranek, who served as our group troubadour. While Dan sang at our healing ceremonies and a few impromptu concerts, he even sang a few songs on the coach drive from location to location... On occassion, we even sang along. Thanks Dan!
Hands down, Paddy Downes is the best coach driver in all of Ireland. Some, OK, many of the roads are quite narrow (for one car, actually) and many times Paddy had to use his skill to navigate these roads in style. Thanks, Paddy!
Back once more to the Drombeg Stone Circle to enjoy the ambiance. Here I give a little explanation about the Stone Circle; The Drombeg Stone Circle was made several thousand years ago during hte Neolithic Age. It was originally made to celebrate the winter solstice. Since then it has been used for many reasons and gatherings. Each stone was selected for its vibration and the collective circle has its own vibration. Quite a magical place, for sure. Although not on the edge of the ocean cliffs, you can see the Atlantic Ocean from the circle.
Our first dinner celebration in Skibbereen, at the West Cork Hotel. People often ask how the food is in Ireland... Let me tell you, since Ireland joined the EU, many chefs and cooks have come over from other countries and brought their culinary savoir-faire with them. The food is excellent. After our dinner celebration we were treated to our first house concert with Ger Wolfe.