Magic is Everywhere
We traveled to Ireland with a special group of people, each open to experiencing the energies of the emerald island and people there. They absorbed gentle goodness from the fertile lands, wild freedom of the seacoast, sanctity from the holy wells, and the magic of the faerie trees. In everyday encounters, they enjoyed the charm and warmth of the Irish people and they felt the pulse of the Tuatha De Danann, the ancient spiritual inhabitants of Ireland, beating in the soft earth.
We started out at Lough Gur, which is an enchanted lake, with a hidden city in its crystal spring waters. The area has been a documented settlement for men since 4,000 BC and possibly for centuries before that. Overlooking the lake is Knock Fennell, an historical Faerie Hill. It is one of the Hollow Hills, as our guide, Michael Quinlan explained to us. The local people conduct ceremonies on top of it with great bonfires at special times of year.
Lee has written the following special section on Lough Gur and the Angel Faunashiel.
After we arrived in Ireland I felt the presence of an Angel with our group. She felt and looked feminine to me, a soft, shimmering glow of silver light with huge cloud like wings and shimmering, moon-lighted face and hair. As our group approached the faerie mound of Lough Gur, I saw her more clearly above the hill at the far edge of the lake. She was much larger than the hill and her arms were outstretched in a kind of embrace. She was smiling as I looked at her and she seemed to acknowledge the pure hearts of our group of spiritual travellers.
While our wonderful guide shared stories of the lake and it's environs, I felt the Angel's presence grow stronger and more intent on focusing on our group. I was enraptured by the presence of calm and peace that Lough Gur imbued. As we hiked the trail around part of the lake, we came to a grove of yew trees. They had quiet majesty to them and were shielding a small glade full of ferns and bushes. The fairies were happy there, darting about quickly through the thicket. Tina told us that a woman who used to live in the farmhouse nearby had written a book about the faerie folk of the area around the lake. I could see why, it was truly magical.
As we continued on our walk through the woods, we came back around to the lake again and found a “wishing bench”, a place that has been used to make wishes by the lake. It felt like the perfect place for everyone in our group to give a wish and prayer for the beginning of our adventure together. When it was time to return to our cars, I felt a sadness to leave the lake, looking over my shoulder I could feel the pull of the faerie mountain and see the Angel still gazing at us from her place there.
Later that evening, as I was going to sleep I heard her tell me her name was Faunashiel. She would be the Angel to watch over our group and help us on our journey to the sacred sites and holy places that we would be visiting while in Ireland.
She taught us that we each have our own “heart song” and that by placing our hands over our hearts, we can remember the way to connect with her and our divine nature. I know that she will continue to be with each of us and provide us with her grace and guidance, long after we return home.
I had the good fortune a few days later to return to Lough Gur and visit the faerie mountain , or “hollow hill." It is called a hollow hill because there is water that runs beneath it, from one side of the lake to the meadows and fields on the other side.
Kristina, Jessica and myself walked up to the little hill, hiking over a farmer’s fence (with a welcome sign, but to just watch out for the cows.) As we were walking a whole herd of cows came down to the fence, mooing frantically. We realized that they were concerned about us as we were near an electric fence and after we carefully navigated our way around the fence they stopped mooing. We waved to them and thanked them for their warning. The sheep paid no attention, they were more focused on the delicious green grass they were eating!
As we made our way towards the top of the mountain, the green hollow hill seemed to glow with radiance. The flowers were gorgeous, the lake was gleaming in the distance, and the green fields were all around us. We stopped to catch our breath and take in the view and we began to hear the gentle and distinct beat of a drum. Looking around we could see no one drumming anywhere, then we realized that it was coming from inside the hill. It was a marvelous and magical feeling. As we approached the circular faerie mound on top, it was hollowed out a bit, with a clearly marked circle in the grass around it. We walked around its circumference three times, then we each silently laid down in the grass, listening to the drumming. I could hear faint singing or chanting, like a murmur of gentle sounds also rising up from the little mountain.
After a time, we each rose up and gave our special offerings to the middle of the mound and made our way contently down the slope, over the farmer’s gate and back ‘round the lake. Kristina left a special offering in the lake that she had brought from home. It was so exhilarating to have shared such a transformational experience with two dear people. It felt like a gift to each one of us, and a blessing to cherish.
Continuing on our journey:
Later that day we went to the Grange Stone Circle, which was a place of ceremony for the ancient inhabitants of Ireland. It is in astronomical alignment with our universe and was used for celebrations by up to 4,000 people at a time. We offered our own ceremony there and a positive energy was felt by each one of us, as we absorbed the power of the alignments and the energy of eons of rituals that were held there. Many in our group had meaningful spiritual experiences. We took turns sitting on a carved tree near the gateway to the circle of stones and attuned to the gentle power, light and Beings present there.
The next day we arose and left for the Rock of Cashel and County Tipperary. We learned that this is the land of the Golden Vale, where the light of day lends a special glow to the fertile countryside. Throughout the area are located many of the famous fairie hills of Ireland, including Knock Ainee. Driving along the back roads, we absorbed the bucolic scenery for many a meandering mile. The town of Cashel was a great spot for lunch and shopping. The promontory rock, itself is steeped in history from long ago. Originally, it was clearly identified as a power spot for the very first inhabitants of Ireland, perhaps 10,000 years ago. As the conquerors came through, the number one target in the area was that precise rock. As soon as it was overtaken, each next group would build their place of worship there and establish themselves as the new rulers of the land. The ruins that were most visible were of a Christian nature from about the 12th Century. We found the chapel to be one of the most interesting. The entry arches had Native American and Egyptian motifs. The carved heads, above, were reminiscent of ancient Mayan ruins and otherworldly beings. Standing at the altar place in the oldest part of the chapel, many of us were actually able to hear far off chanting.
There was a long history told by our guide. What was clear is that this prominent point, located in an extremely fertile valley was a powerful place. One distinctive thing that we noticed was a high round tower. It turns out that there was a distribution of towers like this one scattered across Ireland, and they were actually arranged in a way that lined up with the stars. The towers served as a communication system throughout the ancient land.
After we returned home we had a celebration to acknowledge the Autumnal Equinox and what that means for us, recognizing the equal parts of light and dark. We made offerings to the green earth of Ireland, the Tuatha De Danaan, and the Goddess Dana, the Divine Feminine energy, which is so present there. That night we shared about our rich experiences. Everyone, led by chef Jessica, pitched in to cook a tasty dinner. We celebrated the birthdays of Ricardo, Zoe, Rheka and Malaika with a special chocolate, fudge cake. We each made a commitment to be up early and ready for a big day up to County Clare, the next morning.
We left for the west coast of Ireland and Brigid’s well, where stories of the healing waters preceded us. St Bridget or Goddess Brigid is a key person in the mythology and stories of Ireland. She was dedicated to healing and to helping all be well. Everyone went into the legendary well and felt the blessing of the water. Many of us collected some of it to bring back home. We each tied a little cloth with our prayers on to the tree above the well, in the tradition of the land. It was a place that had a very soothing energy and our group was blessed to be there, without interruptions from any passer-by.
.Next we went up the coast to the Cliffs of Moher. It seems that everyone who goes to Ireland visits this place and for good reason. It is amazingly stunning on a beautiful day, which is what we were blessed with. Many locals told us that they had not seen weather like we had that day, for months. Perhaps we brought the Colorado sunshine with us. We were so happy! Some of us raced up the trails, running into the wind along the coast while looking down at the crashing waves and the ocean extending out for miles. The Aran Islands out to the west enhanced the views on the horizon.
On we went to the town of Doolin, a musical high point of Ireland and the launching spot for a boat out to the Aran Islands. We stopped for a garden luncheon and enjoyed the fig and lime trees growing there. We travelled the coast road up through the Burren. Although we would have loved to explore the area more, our sights were set on the Poulman Dolman. We did stop at a beach so Rehka could get her toes into the ocean water. Everyone enjoyed the connection with the Atlantic Ocean.
When we finally arrived at our destination, we found a site as old as the ages, guarded at the entrance by a Druid looking character who offered us knowledge of all things ancient and seemly true in Ireland. He was a jewelry maker and many of us ordered necklaces with the name of a relative written in the old language, which he pounded in by hand.
The Dolman is a powerful, holy place. The area is unique with its rock beds and crevices, full of secret gardens. Some of us left tokens there in appreciation of the old spirits in the earth. The megalith was erected over 6,000 years ago, with ceremonies on going for many centuries and continuing today. Imagine the precise construction happening 4,000 years before Christ! It is said that the middle of the structure has intersecting ley lines and that the stones have been carefully placed to align with the sun, moon and stars on important dates of our calendar. What many of us noticed, was a realignment of our own energy from just being in the area and tuning in to what it had to offer. It was big, ancient and powerful. Lee noticed the ground shaking as she approached the area. I actually heard my chakras click into alignment and felt a beam of light, through the crown chakra, up to the heavens, all in just a few seconds. We left, grateful and knowing that being there had changed each one of us in a profound way. We expect to feel the effects for many months to come.
Some went to Ennis for dinner, taking in traditional Irish pub music that is great fun to listen to. Others went to Adare and were gifted with a muscial performance by Rekha, one of the travelers in our group. She is a talented pianist and vocalist who had her own set, cheerfully received by the resident musician and the guests at the Adare Manor pub that evening.
The area of Adare, where we were staying, is quite beautiful with towering, full trees, a Manor House, English gardens and expansive green lawns. The next day, many wanted to explore both the woods and the town right there. We started with a Circle where people shared some of the things they really enjoyed about the trip so far. Lee explained how we can open our hearts in order to connect with the many Beings that are in Ireland, waiting for us to acknowledge them. The group had a wonderful day of exploration, integration and relaxation. That evening, everyone enjoyed creating another delicious home cooked meal. We had circle time to share that we had discovered elves and leprechauns in the woods, far away drumming and singing on the fairie hills and an especially cared-for stray dog in town.
The next day, we drove north to Holy Island and Lough Dur in County Clare, lake country in Ireland. Passing through lovely villages, along the lake's edge, we soon found ourselves at the dock of Ger Madden, the local expert on the area. He ferried us across the lake to Holy Island, an ancient sanctuary surrounded by lapping waters and swimming swans. On the little island are the remnants of 3 churches, St Bridget’s, St Mary’s and St Michael’s. The latter is on the highest point of land, a fact that is always true for any church bearing the name of St Michael’s. As we walked around the island and Ger showed us all the sites, it became apparent that this has been a sacred place forever. Throughout history, traveling people who came by there recognized it as such and took it over as a place of power. We looked into the holy well there, called the Ladies’ Well. Legend has it that if you see your reflection in the water, your sins will be forgiven. We luckily saw our reflections that day and felt our sins forgiven. The remnants of St Michael’s church was a poignant place. We walked 3 times around a unique stone there, in prayer, as was the tradition. But the highlight of the island was a real Faerie Tree! This old hawthorne tree had a beautiful spread of branches full of red berries. It grew out of a twisted trunk, alone in the middle of a field. Dana did a dance around the tree and it was all quite magical!
As we ate lunch at the nearby village, we noticed that there was to be a concert in the church that night, featuring Irish singer, Kate Purcell, so some of us decided to stay for it. A big attraction after lunch was the wonderful McKernan weavers' shop, where we purchased lovely scarves made on the looms in Tuamgraney. Those of us who stayed for the concert in the small, old church had quite a treat. These local musicians were world class, actually having recorded albums in Europe with big name acts. They were accompanied by an Irish dancer who did the old style of Irish dancing, called Sean-nos. It was exhilarating to watch! As we drove home, after listening to the wonderful music, we felt that we had truly connected with the spirit of the Irish people. For David, this was one of the highlights of his trip.
Next morning, we talked about the nights getting longer and how this is the season of St Michael. We remembered how he used his sword to tame the dragon and that it took all his courage to do so. He also had the protection of his shield and he used it. We asked people to think of the demons, or shadows in their lives and to call up their courage to deal with them, in order to heal and move forward. We reminded everyone to protect themselves at the same time, in order to stay whole, strong and safe. We each lit a candle to remember to search for what is right and good as the days grow darker.
Lee did an angelic channeling, bringing forth Faunashiel, an angel for our group. She shared with us that we can always connect to the blessings and love that flow from this magical green place on Earth. The veils between the worlds can seem quite thin in Ireland because the people have tried to live in harmony with the earth and have honored the sacred in all things including the acknowledgement of the unseen worlds. So the nature spirits and Devas, faerie folk and leprechauns feel most respected and revered here as co-inhabitants of our beautiful world. Fauna shared with us that we only have to listen to our own "heart song" to be connected to her support and love and energy. She shared with us that all of us are on a mission to bring our love to earth, like "a basket of ripe apples" to be given as a gift to the Earth.
After that, with our hearts full, we left for the journey down to the Dingle Peninsula. First we arrived at the Town of Dingle, a bustling place with lots of native character and some fantastic restaurants. We left there, vowing to return for dinner. As we headed south, we stopped at the Celtic Museum that featured many prehistoric relics, including the head of a woolly mammoth. We drove along the rugged coast toward the beehive huts. It was amazing to step inside a building made at least 6,000 years ago, by piling rocks in a particular manner so they did not let any water in. Slea Head road goes around a rough part of the ocean, with islands dotting the southwesterly views. This is the western most part of Europe. Pilgrims have been landing from sea at these cliffs for centuries, coming on land and using the beehive huts for shelter.
As we drove around the coast, an amazing little cove with a beach came into view. We found our way down there and were greeted by a sea lion in the bay. Everyone piled out and inspected a sign, stating that a scene from the movie “Far and Away”, had been filmed right there. After enjoying the salty air and crashing waves, we had ceremony on the beach. We formed a circle, drummed the bohdrun, and offered prayers of love, healing and protection for relatives, friends, clients and also, Mother Earth at the new moon time. This day, September 27, had further importance as it had a particularly special alignment of planets occurring. Afterwards, we watched a ray of sunlight magically pass from toe to head, as if over each chakra of an island out in the bay, known as the Giant, an integral part of the sacred geometry of the Dingle area. We felt grateful. In Ireland, magic is everywhere! Everyone seemed ecstatic and we drove on back to Dingle for a delicious dinner there, then homeward to Adare.
With an air of happy anticipation, we gathered in the woods near an old yew tree, forming a circle on our last morning. We blessed ourselves with the Holy Water from St Brigid’s Well and made offerings of thankfulness to the rich green earth of Ireland, to the Beings who reside there and who made our stay so special, and to the Goddess Dana, guardian of the earth in Ireland. Marilyn led us in a Heart Song and we said farewell to the lovely green Irish lands and to each other in warm embrace.
We want to thank each person who accompanied us on our adventure to Ireland, for sharing a part of your precious life with us. Everyone contributed in a special way and it would not have been the same if even one of you was missing from our trip. We hope that you will remember the gifts that were offered to you when you were in the soft Goddess energy of Ireland. Besides your own personal encounters with the leprechauns, fairies, angels and other nature spirits, after your Spirit Travel to Ireland, you will always have access to the Tuatha De Dannan and the Angel Faunashiel. When you are in need, put your hands over your heart, sing your heart song and remember the soft air, the springy moss under your feet and all the pure feminine energy. It is always there for you to take for healing, comfort, creativity and for wholeness in your divine nature. Put your basket of ripe apples down on the earth and pass the apples out, with love to all.
Ireland continues to take care of its land, as recycling is evident in each village, and most have received the sign and honor of being a “Tidy Town.” There is no smoking in the pubs, and the music is great! One of our favorite musicians is Seamus Bugler, an accordion player. He has donated the proceeds of his CD’s to ClareCare, an organization that supports the needy in County Clare, an area that we frequented. Lee and I have decided to donate a share of our profits to this same organization. If anyone is interested in contributing also, this is the website: www.clarecare.ie
What people are saying about the Adventurous Spirit Travel in Ireland:
"I continue to savor every memory of our adventure in Ireland - the people, the magic and the mystery. I have become more expanded in consciousness as a result of our emerald isle time. There really is magic everywhere and with everyone! I will be forever grateful to our group and our fearless leaders for creating and holding the space for our fabulous journey."
Marilyn, Boulder, Co
"I had the most wonderful time and hope to come on future trips with "Adventrous Spirit". I feel I experienced healing while in Ireland and as the old song goes....."Its good to touch the green green grass of home"!"
Nancy, Greenwich, Conn
"What a trip! The experience continues to distill and sink in...I loved being away with like-minded people exploring new lands, ancient artifacts, and being more conscious of nature's subtle energies. You and the group inspire me to lead a more "in-tune" life. Thank you for providing this unique and much-needed way to experience the wonders of sacred places."
Jessica, Boulder, Co
"May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back."
~an old Irish Blessing