An Unexpected Visit With My Ancestors

Well, I’m writing this post on my phone as my tablet does not seem to want to hook up to the internet. This will be an adventure and I’m sure there will be many spelling mistakes, but bere with me.

While travelling around in the car we have been listening to the Ray D’Arcy show in the afternoons on RTE1 here. Last week he was at a few places in the midwest. One of them was the oldest pub in Ireland, aparently, ..so a few nights ago while in Galway we took an evening roadtrip to Athlone and went to the pub. After the pub we walked over the Shannon river and I tossed in a few pebbles from home.

Yesteraday on our way down to our lodgings in Kerry, we went to the Portumna Workhouse center. I didnt know what to expect but I’m glad we went.

This place was a real workhouse at one time and the folks there are restoring it and making sure the story of theses places are not lost. These stories need to be brought to light.

For those of you who have been following me from the beginning, you know this trip is about putting old ghosts to rest and honoring my ancestors. I have done that during the 7 weeks, solo part of this trip. I did not expect it to happen during this 3 week roadtrip with a friend.

I have 6 days left of my Epic Irish Odyssey, and just the other day was thinking about my time here. The dreaming and planning of this trip. Things I wanted to do, but never happened. I thought things would go one way, but they went the other way. I thought of frustrations I felt when what I had planned never happened.

As I was feeling this frustration last week it’s like someone had put their had on my shoulder and let me know it was ok I had honored my ansestors it was all right. I also knew that the ansestors will take me to where I am meant to be, and the workhouse in Portumna was one of them.

We arrived when it was drizzling and parked in front of a 2 story building. We walked inside and a tour was just about to start. We have been so lucky this way.

The tour guide was a personable local gentleman named Pat and he did a great job telling the story of this workhouse. You need to put this place on your itinerary if you come to Ireland.

Pat took us out into the yard of this place and while others were listening I had to step away because I was feeling. I dont know what I was feeling but it was as if I was meant to come here and I once again felt the presence of my ansestors. I have mentioned how this had happened in other places, but not all places I have visited.

This was a powerful moment. I have given up trying to figure this out and have come to believe what many have told me…” Ireland will take you where you are supposed to be” and here is a perfect example of that. As I stood in the complex, of a site, where such suffering in such desperate times happened, I felt a connection I cannot explain. But it is something I needed to honor, so I stood back from the tour and was just there in the present, feeling something

Of course I felt anger, outrage, and this place does have a feel about it, but this was something different. What I felt was at a much deeper level, and dare I say it was strength I felt. Strength of my ansestors and their tenacity to survive, and those genes have been handed down to me to help me survive what I did. And I felt a pressnce of an ansestor while I stood in the courtyard. I may never know who it was, but I will honor their story. Once again I wonder if this is my DNA remembering.

After the tour we had tea and then went and looked at an exhibition called “Irish Faminr Exhibition Dark Shadows ” it is a series of sculptures made from 5000 big oak. Do Google this, it is a power and moving exhibit.

I fly back home in 6 days. It’s hard for me to believe my Epic Irish Odyssey is almost over, but it will never really be over. I came to this land because it called to me since I was a small child. I hope to get back many times. This land has fed my soul in ways I could never imagine. It had helped me connect to myself, given me strength and has nourished me. This land and people I have met have all been amazing gifts. Who would have thought one of these gifts would be found in a workhouse.

Wee Thoughts During The Wee Hours…

Well, its not really the “Wee Hours” now, but I have been awake since 4:00 am and I wonder why. But then I think..I may be like this for the rest of my trip…

I am now into the last 13 days of my trip- I remember when I was counting the last 14 days before this Epic Odyssey started 🙂 I guess my brain, heart and soul is processing that this is the last couple of weeks of my Epic Irish Odyssey and I’m thinking about the past 8 weeks. I know I will be processing this for a long while once I get back home.

This morning my knees and shins are talking to me, I’m still a bit sore from the Sligo Camino, – as I’m sure a lot of folks are-but am so glad I did it. I’m also glad that my hiking and adventure buddy Sherry joined me, and yes we are still speaking and laughing 🙂 While doing the walk I also had time to think about these past 8 weeks. And like the walk, there have been moments where I was challenged. But what good journey does not have its challenges ? And from these challenges come growth, awareness and discoveries of long hidden gems. I will be coming home with a basket full of treasures, and as I process and write about them, I’m sure I will discover some more, as not all gems are in plain site.

I have been to some amazing places that have spoken and fed my soul, I have met amazing people who have welcomed me into their homes, and have I broken so many “cognitive errors” and “false beliefs” that still lurked in the back of my mind from my childhood. And, I believe, I have made some friends along the way.

The weather has been amazing- someone told me that last time this happened was 1995, but I am also aware of the plight the farmers are going through.

I have stood in the homes of the living and dead, stone age peoples. Walked a land they walked on, felt it feed my soul and spirit. I have been moved to the core by these powerful and restorative places.

I have met strangers, who have become friends. Learned that Guinness really is better over here, and one of the most important lessons for me- that generally, the world is a fairly safe place. I have learned that it is OK to ask for help. This may be a no brainier for some, but for folks who have had childhood trauma- this is something that we were taught…the word was not safe, and asking for help was not safe.

So you see, you really can teach an old dog new tricks. 🙂

Well time for me to finish my tea and start moving as the alarm is about to go off. Sherry and I have one more day here in Riverstown- a village of 350 folks, 15 minutes from Sligo and today we are driving up to Slieve League

Tomorrow we leave for Westport- where we will send 2 days. then 3 days n Galway, 3 days in Killarney, the 3 days in Dublin before we leave. And yes, we did not see it all, I did not see it all. You could spend you’re whole life here and not see it all.

Ireland, and the folks I have met have given me so many treasures that I will be taking back home. I’m glad the airlines cant charge me for them 🙂

Thanks again for joining me on this amazing, life changing journey

5W, Rathlin Island, Visiting the ancestors and a 36km one day walk….

Today is a down and chill day, so I thought I would try to catch up on my blog post. My friend and I did the one day, 36 km Sligo Camino, and can hardly move, -more on that later- but thought this would be a good time to try and catch up.

The day after my last blog post, I took a bus from Cork, and made my way over to Wexford. Did I tell you there is a heat wave here? And one of the buses did not have air conditioning..it was warm. But I finally made my way to Wexford and was met by one of the 5W members. This time it was Heike, and what a wonderful generous women. I also met her lovely husband Thomas and wonderful 4 legged sidekick- a golden retriever name Rocky 🙂 We visited The Irish National Heritage Park, http://www.irishheritage.ie/ Hook Lighthouse, /www.hookheritage.ie a famine ship, https://www.dunbrody.com/ a tapestry exhibit, Which Heike took part in,http://www.rostapestry.ie/the-story/ a walled garden and so much more.

They treated me like royalty, showed me around, had great days out and lots of laughs. They fed my body, spirit and soul, they were amazing, kind , welcoming and caring. I feel blessed to have met them.

Wexford and the surrounding area is a must stop on your trip to Ireland, its beautiful and full of history.

After a wonderful welcome it was then off to Dublin, and the next morning my hiking and adventurer arrived on a 7:13 am flight. WE rented a car- did I tell you there was and is a heat wave- we upgraded to one that has air conditioning. Even the lady at the car rentel desk said he never thought she would be recommending to people to get air conditioning while in Ireland.

After a day of adjustment with time and traveling for 17 hours- the 1st day you feel like you have been hot by a truck. The next day we drove- well Sherry did- up to Crossmaglen. We visited another 5W lady, Roisin, the very same person who picked me up back in May when I first arrived in Ireland and I stayed with her for 4 days. It was great to see her again, and she had invited us up for brunch, it was also great to see her mom again who gave me a photo of my last visit. It was lovely of her.

On the way back to Dublin we stopped at Newgrange, oh dear, I’m so upset I had to see that again 🙂 Once again it was amazing, and magical…. we both enjoyed it. However because of the heat the grass is a little brown

The next day day Tuesday, we made our way up to meet up and stay with another 5W lady, Pat, who lives is Coleraine, Northern Ireland. On the way there. we stopped and had a tour of Trim castle. Back on the road, “Jane” our GPS took us on a side trip and up side roads that Sherry said..” this isn’t a road, this s a cow path” and she was right as there was cow poop in the middle of the road. After being turned around, filling the tank and bathroom break…we were back o the road and made our way up north, stopping at the Giants Causeway on the way..WOW!! IT is stunning….we could have stayed there all day…

That night we met Pat, and 3 other 5W members, who were from Japan , for dinner. The food was lovely, as was the company. Sherry and then followed Pat to her house, where we had a good nights sleep. The next morning we were up, and off to Rathlin Island for the day.

A friend of mine has a cousin who lives there. They have never met, but she hooked us up. We were met by the lovely Allison, and we were treated like royalty. She took us to the Rathlin Island Bird reserve, we saw Puffins, Razor Bill, Kitty wake and their chicks and more. https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/rathlin-island

On the ferry ride over I saw Gannets plunging into the ocean like missiles when they fold their wigs…they hit the water at 65 mph…it was amazing to watch..it was from a distant, but was still amazing.

Allison then took us on a tour of the island, I got to pet some lambs, see some young bulls being let out in the field for the 1st time, it was really funny, we saw all 3 lighthouses, were giving the history and treated to a delightful lunch. It was an amazing day, treated like royalty by a wonderful warm and funny lady. Time passed to quickly and it was time to get the 4:15 ferry. It was an amazing and magicial day.

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n the way back to Pat’s house we stopped at the “Dark hedges” where some of the Game of Thrones series was filmed- poor Sherry- I have never seen an episode, but it was still pretty cool.

We returned to Pats house and she had done so much for us, made us dinner and wouldn’t let us do anything. She is wonderful, caring and funny, and anther amazing example why love 5W.

The next morning after breakfast, we stopped at a few more sites the Game of Thrones was then on our way towards Sligo. But, we picked up a passenger, the “tire pressure loss” indicator showed up on the dash. We stopped at Bushmills, the guy there had a quick look and said it was fine. We stopped in Derry for lunch, and when we came out the tire was lower. But the universe was taking care of us and there was a tire shop 400 yards down the road. We got a new tire and on our way, everyone safe.

We eventually found our place in Riverstown…Jane took us on another side trip… we unpacked, went tot he local pub and Sherry had her first Guinness in Ireland, it really is better here…

I had arranged to once again hire the guide I had last time I was here in Sligo, to take us to Carrowkeel. yep- you can see, I was upset again to go back to Carrowkeel 🙂 If your ever in this area, and you want to see the surrounding area, especially archaeology, myths and history , hire Auriel Robinson of Seatrails Guided Heritage Tours and Special Experiences http://www.seatrails.ie/

She is amazing, bright, a wealth of knowledge and funny. We met and followed her to Carrowkeel, which was once again magical and amazing and I said hello to my ancestors once again. This is a magical. powerful and restorative place.

After that we went over to the the Keash caves, https://voicesfromthedawn.com/caves-of-kesh/ once again Auriel showed her knowledge, passion and humor. It was great, the views are stunning and calcite from this cave have been found in Carrowkeel cairns. As well as human remains that go back thousands of years, as well as bones form extinct animals.

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Then we come to yesterday…last year I saw information abut the Sligo Camino… I thought it was a good idea to do this while I was here. I asked Sherry if she would be interested, she said “hell yeah”- what were we thinking…we an hardly move today, and that’s much better then last night.

It was a memorable day, stunning scenery walking through forest, lane ways and up the Ox Mountains- where they found beads in Carrowkeel made from the stones in these very mountains. It was a day to remember, 36km in one day, up and down and around, and 1000 walkers in total. It was well organized and very welcoming. It was challenging physically and mentally and I’m sure we both learned lots from it and will be processing this walk for awhile.

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I continue to be amazed, surprised and delighted on this journey. By the people, places and landscapes of this magical place. I have 2 weeks left here, but know I will be processing this journey for months once I get home. The gifts I have received while here, are priceless and will last a life time.

Those are a few thoughts for today. thanks for coming along with me on this journey 🙂

Suzy

Transformation and a Shift on the Cape……

20180621_221113.jpgFour days ago I left Cape Clear Island a different person.

Did I tell you I love that place and the people I met there ? It was a magical, amazing and very insightful week.

When I started planning this trip, I told folks I wanted to do a solo trip for 5-7 weeks. I don’t know where that number came from, but my intuition told me that was the time I needed. I couldn’t explain it, I was more of a feeling then anything else. But my guts told me that’s what I needed to do. Am I ever glad I listened to my guts.

As you know, this trip has not been the typical tourist trip around Ireland As my solo section is of this journey is coming to an end, I knew my past and present would be bumping heads. It has not always been a good time, and some times have been really hard. But I have come through  much stronger and wiser for it.

I was spot on when I said 5-7 weeks on my own.

On Wednesday morning, while on Cape Clear Island, I woke and it felt like a shift had happened. For those of you who know me, you know that when I do my work, come out the other side I often speak about feeling like a shift has happened. I felt that when I woke that morning.

I feel lighter somehow, stronger, more then I ever have in my life, but there is more depth to my wholeness. There is a now a richness and texture in a place I didn’t know existed.

Being here, in this land, meeting the folks have, having the experiences I have have, have all added up. This  has  fed and nourished my soul in ways I could never imagine. And the week on Cape Clear was just what the Dr ordered. Actually, my Dr was one of the 2 people that told me I needed to go there.

I have written on the past blogs about the “Felt Sense” of Ireland. How I have felt this throughout the land and Cape Clear is no different. In fact, on the Caple Clear Island it was stronger and very special. There is something about that place, I cant put my finger on it, but its there if one sits long enough and is quiet enough, you can feel it.

One day I had walked to and found the neolithic standing stones, known as the marriage Stones. I emailed someone and told them of the feeling of power I felt at the site, and they replied “There is something powerful about those ancient sites. Its restorative.”

Restorative is an understatement. Its like everything I experienced on this trip, all I learned about myself and everything this land has given me, all came together on Cape Clear. I have found another part of myself and it feels like the long lost puzzle piece has been found and securely dropped into place. When I think of the puzzle piece I think of not a cardboard jigsaw puzzle but an old fashioned wooded puzzle. with thicker and more solid pieces. Its like everything is more secure, stronger and now in place.

I came to this land, not knowing what was going to happen, but have been called, and I am so glad did. I have also written about how I felt this land nourishing my soul, it has done that and more. It has filled and nourished the fibers of my soul. I am full of gratitude.

And I am tired. I wondered why, then thought about all the work I have done these last 5 weeks, its like its been a 6 week Outward Bound Canada course,  highs and lows but coming out the other end a much stronger, richer more competent person.

Tomorrow I make my way over to Wexford where I will be staying with a 5W member- Women Welcome Women World Wide- then Saturday I go up to Dublin and my friend and hiking buddy fly’s in Sunday morning, and we are renting a car. So as I wind up this solo , self growth section, I am looking forward to 3 weeks with her and celebrating all I have done, all the growth I have done, all the treasures I have found.

I am full of gratitude for all I have meet on this journey, the gifts they have given me.

Its time for me to start packing , but I think I will have a nap first. Thanks you once again for continuing to come along with me and this adventure, and lets see together what the next stage brings.

Rest, Relaxation and Reflection on Cape Clear Island Continued…

Have I mentioned that I love this place ?
Sometime yesterday afternoon I received a message from the Cape Clear Island Ferry via their Facebook page. Earlier on my trip I had communicated with them with regards to sailings, tickets etc….but this message was different, it was as follows….

” Can you let Suzy know that we are having a mid week session in the club tonight at 9:30 pm if she is interested in the experience~ They were talking about a traditional music session.
I replied ” This is Suzy- she is interested-Am I the right Suzy you are thinking of?’ which they replied
” Yes, thought you might be! Seamus asked me to let you know, regards Karen”

Well, I thanked them and said I had no idea who Seamus or Karen were. Karen replied that she is in Baltimore,- where the ferry leaves to come here – and that I would likely meet Seamus tonight ( yes, before anyone points out, I know there is supposed to be an accent over the letter e in the name but I cant figure out how to o that on my keyboard yet)

This is a small island, not a lot of people live here, but this message still surprised me.
Then I started thinking about Ireland and connections, and how connection has influenced my trip- in both preparation. research , and while here.

Do you remember in one of my very 1st blogs I mentioned reading the Red Haired Girl from the Bog, by Patricia Monaghan?

Well when the reality that I really was going to start saving and research for Ireland, I once again read that book. I then went to the internet to do some research and in no time I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that was coming at me. So, I stepped away for a day or two and thought about it.

Then I thought that because that book spoke to me, I would send Patricia an email,-if I could find contact info- letting her know why I want to go to Ireland and would she have any suggestions to where I could start etc. So that night I found her web page, found the contact info and sent the email.

About an hour after I sent the email, I was doing some research on Patricia Monaghan  learned that she had died in 2012. Then I was awake half the night worrying that someone would get this email and it would upset them. I needn’t have worried.

The next morning I got up, and I had indeed received a response to my query. The email was from Patricia’s widower, and he said happy to receive the email, as he was just wondering the other day if folks are still using Patricia’s book as a travel guide. Yep, they still are. He suggested that I get in touch with there very good friends Barbara Smith and Tony Cuckson if they were agreeable, and they were.

I remember having coffee with my friend Gloria the next day telling her about this and she said ” This one door opening, is going to open another, and another and who knows where it will lead.”, and she was right.

Now this was 2 years before I actually made the trip, Barbara is also a guide, and even if you did not use her for a guide, then she could also help you with your itinerary, I have used her for both.

So that’s just one of many connections that have happened before and during this trip, and as I saw yesterday by the message about the music session, connections continue to happen.

I did manugae to make it to the small club above the store/restaurant- Club Cleire-. I arrived there around 9:30, a few folks were there and the musicians started to trickle in. They ranged for age of early teens and up . They were all thee around 10:00 and started to play. There were folks playing the tin /penny whistle, and I’m sure it had other names, a small Concertina , guitar/banjo and the Uliieann pipes( Irish form of bag pipes) It was lovely to listen to, and watch these musicians. There was no “set” schedule – that I could see. One would start- ie the whistle, then others would join in. They all took turns starting and some played on their own. The young women playing the pipe added a piece to her instrument that gave it a low resonating sound and then she played on her own. I have no idea what she was playing, what it was called, but it was beautiful, haunting and moving and like this island- it fed my soul. You pretty much could hear a pin drop when she played. Then another song, more music and away they went again. It was fascinating to watch and listen as the played off each other, took turns, encouraging each other, it was an absolute pleasure to be there.
One of the fellows came over to me and said “Are you the famous Suzy” and I just started laughing and thinking..” Unlike my brothers, I can admit who I am “….so this was Seamus, he also mentioned that he has enjoyed my blog- word does get around fast here 🙂 We had a little chat and I thanked him for getting the message sent. then he went back to paying.

I sat there listening, writing, watching. This is so different the anything at home, and especially to what I grew up with around the drinking.

Here were folks chatting, various ages, young talking to the older, etc. Folks visiting, catching up etc. I loved hearing the Irish language being spoken. It was a lovely couple of hours.

I have also noticed here in Ireland, to the few pubs I have been at, one can order a drink, or a meal and write- no one is there getting ready to kick you out as soon as your meal is done etc. This has taken me sometime to get used to. I get that this may not be like all the places in Ireland, but it is here and was in Sligo.

As I listened to the music last night I thought about my visit to this magical island.The people I have met and the way I feel about this place. I have enjoyed my evenings down at the pub ether chatting with folks, or catching up with folks back home- its an 8 hour time difference so sometimes night is the only time we connect via social media. Sometimes I quietly sit and write away, and what ever I am doing I have felt welcome.

The host who is in charge of the place I’m staying, and owns Cotters bar/restaurant has been more then helpful to me and very welcoming.

I get that I am a tourist, and that is different then living in a place. I get I am not a rich tourist, dropping a lot of money wherever I go, but I am loving this place and it feeds my soul, as did the music. As someone wrote me ” There is something powerful in that ancient place. So Restorative” I agree.

I am also very thankful and full of gratitude for the folks that live here, and those I have met on my Irish Odyssey, who are taking the time and energy to make me feel welcome, and for moments like last night, inviting me in for a snippet, to be a part of their life. This connection, and its gift also feeds my soul and that, I will take back home with me.

Speaking of connection..Mary O’Driscoll, who owns the place I’m staying at and Cotters pub, knows the person I have been put in contact with from a friend, who now lives in Mexico. 🙂

Jeans cousin, Alison, lives on Ratlin Island, in the North, where Sherry and I plan on making a day trip to on July 4th!

Yep, the world just keeps getting smaller

Thanks again for continuing to come along with me on this journey.

Suzy

A Sligo Interlude…..

It was brought to my attention this morning that I did not do a bog post on my stay in Sligo…so better late then never. 🙂
Sligo is one  of unsung beauty. When people ask me where I have been, I will mention Sligo. Those who know it say that it is an unsung Jewell of Ireland, and it really is. It has stunning varied scenery and you are within a 10 minute drive to so many amazing spots.
I hooked up with the lovely Val Robus, and she took me out a couple times and showed me around…it was varied and beyond beautiful. I could not get over the various natural beauty that abounds on her doorstep. I was grinning from ear to ear and must have looked like a kid in a candy store!
This is an ancient landscape and it shows. We visited Carrowmore,which is 600-800 years older then Newgrange. It was amazing,,,
I was taken to a secret Fairy glen,,,it was like walking back in time….almost prehistoric….I was waiting for a dinosaur, to walk along the cliffs, or a jewel encrusted dragonfly, to fly down from the tree tops above, it was magical. And yes, I did leave a coin …

Val also took me to see the wild Atlantic ocean and then Strandhill, I could have stayed there all day and Val treated me to the most amazing ice creme 🙂
She took me to a castle- and I looked out over the lake where the Isle of Innishfree is- the boat was not running that day, it was raining. But because it was raining Val took me to a waterfall, that I cant remember the name of right now- Maybe Val will put in the reply the name of it- she showed me the waterfall known as the Chimney Stack- I think that’s right.
The scenery around Sligo is beyond amazing, and varied and I love the sheep !!! its so close, like I said..a 10 minute car ride away.
While in Sligo I also hired Auriel Robinson, from Seatrails and she took me to Carrowkeel. I had been told by someone back home that I need to see it, and he was right. WOW!!!! I was there for a couple of hours, and it was amazing, magical and spoke deep to my soul in a way I never expected, and Auriel was amazing with the information of the site. being an archaeologist she knows all about this stuff 🙂 If you get a chance, hire her, you will not be disappointed.
I also know I have forgotten some places as I write this blog. You also have to do the Gleniff Horseshoe drive- it is stunning
Then there is the town itself, lots of higstory. lovely walks and shops.
It is really an amazing place, so much so that I am going back again, this time with my traveinging buddy. She flies into Dublin on July 1st, we are renting a car for 3 weeks, and we are gong to Sligo. I have once again Hired Auriel, and we are going back to Carrowkeel, because I dont think I could ever get enough of that place, and I heard the cuckoo bird while there 🙂
If your traveling in Ireland, or even live there, take a trek up to this section of the country, you will not be disappointing.

Rest, Relaxation and Reflection on Cape Clear Island…

20180617_153127Looking out over the Cape Clear North harbor, its a foggy, misty kind of day, as it was yesterday. When I arrived here Friday afternoon- after having to dash for the ferry as the bus was running late- but made it-phew- it was mostly sunny and blue skies.
After arriving at my present digs- with an amazing view of the North Harbor, I wandered down around the small harbor, went to the store/restaurant and ordered some fries- known here as chips- and sat outside taking in the view. Later that night I went back to the store/restaurant and had pizza, as it was pizza night. It was really good.
That night I slept like a rock.
The next day I went for a bit of a walk and ended up taking one of the two walking loops they have here on the island. The Glen Loop walking trail, and am I ever glad I did. I had no idea the surprise I would be in for. As I walked up the trail, and some points a little bit of a scramble, I found myself on the top of the island, overlooking the Atlantic ocean, and could see the Fastnet lighthouse in the distance. It was beautiful, breathtaking and it was a wee bit windy. I just stretched out my arms, breathed it all in and reminded myself, I was really on Cape Clear Island, in Ireland!!!!
I walked through various types of vegetation, small gorse bushes, ferns, various grasses and the scenery was beautiful. At some points you could see where the ocean met the island as the waves crashed in. I eventually made my way back, I had been a bit turned around- you know my dyslexic brain and map reading- but got back, had a shower and then later went down the the pub for dinner.
I slept like a rock that night also.
Yesterday morning upon waking up, it was as it is today, foggy and misty, but not cold. I spoke to the host Mary, and she told me her husband says it was going to clear up a bit around noon, and he was right.
So around 1:00 pm I went for a walk on the other side of the island, and did walk -literately- to the other end of the island as once again I got turned around. I was looking for two neolithic upstanding stones, called the Marriage Stones. I had heard about these from my family doctor, and an acquaintance in Ontario, both whom have visited this island many times.
After taking the wrong road- well actually missing the road- then taking another wrong road- they all look like driveways here, ending up in the wrong muddy farmers field, I persevered and found the correct muddy farmers field. However, there was a gate with a “Beware of Bull ” sign- I didn’t see any bull. But being the polite Canadian that I am, I didn’t want to trespass on anyone’s property. So went back down that road, got back onto the main road and started walking back thinking there must be another way in.
Did I mention the killer hills that are on this island?
There was no other way so I said screw it, went back down to the field, found a way in and went to the stones. It was amazing standing there before them. There is a hole in one of these stones and it is said that when folks got married, or commit to each other they would hold hands through the hole . Also, the hole aligns exactly with a passage grave on the neighboring island, and during sunrise of the Summer Solstice the stone lines up exactly with the suns alignment. I will be here for the summer solstice. We will see if the sun shows itself.
It was amazing standing there, wondering who had stood there before, and the fact that I knew 2 people, who live 3000 miles away from each other in Canada,do not know each other, and they had indeed, stood before these very same stones.
Who had put these up, why, etc.? Of course being the person that I am, as I have done with my trip around Ireland, I kept touching the stones, feeling its texture, the crevasses, getting a feel for them, and the land they are on. Wondering how smooth they were when put up 5000 years ago. 5000 years ago…imagine, I’m touching something that was put up 5000 years ago. It still amazes me. And I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming!
After spending time there, having a drink and a snack it was time to head back to the North harbor. I took my time and just reveled in the moment.On the walk back I could see the hills I had climbed the day before were still enshrouded in fog and mist. I got back to my digs, another shower- you work up a sweat with these hills. and put band-aids on my blisters. I wore the wrong socks..that will teach me.
I then went down to the pub for dinner, had a glass or two of Guinness and met 4 lovely ladies who are staying in the yurts just down the road. And one of these ladies loves Orca’s, I mean who could blame her. Also, apparently there were Basking sharks in the south harbor that morning. So we talked of our adventures- they were kayaking in the South Harbor, I told them about my trip, and my adventures in trying to find the Marriage stones.

They asked where they were. I told them…”You go straight down that road with the killer hill over there, you keep going straight and you will see a peach/pink colored house, you don’t turn there..” and they all started laughing saying- ..”yep, you have been here long enough, your talking like us, your an honorary Irish now” I just laughed.
I love this island. Its another one of those magical places, that speaks to me and feed’s my soul. There is something about this place, I don’t know what it is, and I may never know, but there is something. I find it amazing how some places can have such a strong feeling for me, and its as if my ancestors are speaking to me, reassuring me I am not alone and that they know I am here.
I came on this trip for many reasons and one was because I wanted to return to a land I never been, and be in the place that has called my soul since I was a small child. I also wanted to honor my ancestors that gave me the genes to survive what I did, and to lay old ghosts to rest, the family legacy of pain that had been handed down for generations. I think I have been doing that and doing it well, with care, with love and with authenticity.

And when I have landed on those sacred spaces- as this island is and feels- its like the ancestors know, because as much as I’m giving them- hopefully peace and rest- they are giving back. They are helping me find who I am, giving me strength, and as the women on Inishmore told me…” your Irish is speaking and you are now rooted in the subsoil and being nourished.” That’s what this feels like. I am here on this island, with every fiber of my being receiving nourishment that it has been looking for all my life. And I know it will stay with me when I go back home.
I think of those two people I know back in Canada, who both mentioned this island, and both surprised when I mentioned I had been told to come here. It was then I knew I had to come. I’m so glad I followed my instincts, and so very grateful they pointed me this way. And my ancestors are happy they did also.
I am here for 5 more full days, I leave Saturday on the noon ferry. I have a few things planned but not much, and know I will go on many walks and visit the marriage stones a few more times. I also know the ancestors will speak to me in their own time, in their own way and I will honor them. I will sit, I will listen and I will learn.
In the meantime I think I will go and place a few pebbles from home in the harbor.
Thanks for contuiing to come along with me on this journey.
Suzy                                                                                                                                                           To learn more about this magical place here is a link

http://www.capeclearisland.ie/index