Category Archives: Ireland

Cave of the Cats (Rathcrogan/Roscommon, Ireland)

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats – Gateway to the Underworld and the Morrigan’s Palace.

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats
– Gateway to the Underworld and the Morrigan’s Palace. Rathcrohan / Rosscommon, Ireland
GPS: 53.79677, -8.31038
Article/Research by Thomas Baurley/Leaf McGowan/Technogypsie Productions, 10 October 2017

One of my most favorite sites in Ireland is the “Cave of the Cats” underneath the realm of “Rathcrohan“. It is officially called “Oweynagat” and pronounced “Owen-ne-gatt”.
The Cave is also labelled “Uaimh na gCat”, Irish translating to “Cave of the Cats”. When I first visited this site we had a tremendously hard time finding it. We found where it was supposed to be, but it lay behind fencing on a farmer’s field. We knocked on the farmer’s door, and there was no answer. A neighbor saw us, asked what we were doing and who we were, and he showed us the entrance, giving us permission to enter. It was a small hole under some Fairy thorn trees. The Site is actually a natural narrow limestone cave that hosts a man-made souterrain at its entrance. This is seen by all as the official entrance to the Otherworld and home to the Morrigan or Medh. In the Medieval Period of Ireland, it was labeled “Ireland’s Gate to Hell”. It is a particular sacred site for the Pagan holiday and festival of “Samhain” or Halloween.

It is said that during the Feast of Samhain, the dead, their God/desses, and Spirits, would rise from their graves and walk the Earth. This cave is one of the main places where Spirits and the dead associated with the Fae and/or the Morrigan, would re-surface including creatures, monsters, and the un-dead. There exists an Irish legend based off the “Adventures of Nera” where a warrior is challenged to tie a twig around the ankle of a condemned man on Samhain eve, after agreeing to get him some water would discover strange houses and wouldn’t find water until the third house. Upon returning him back to captivity would witness Rathcroghan’s royal buildings destroyed by the spirits. After this he must follow the fairy host to the Sidhe where he meets a woman who tells him the vision he saw will happen a year from now unless his mortal comrades are warned. He leaves the Sidhe and informs Ailill of his vision who destroys the Sidhe in response.

Some believe the “síd” or the Sidhe of this tale is either the Mound of Rathcroghan or Oweynagat, the Cave of the Cats. It makes the most sense that the Cave of the Cats is where the destructive creatures and fae emerged. There was a triple-headed monster called the Ellen Trechen that went on a rampage across the country before being killed by Amergin, father of Conal Cernach. There have been tales of small red birds emerging from the cave withering every plant they breathed on before being hunted to their death by the Red Branch. There is also legends of herds of pigs with similar powers of decay emerging from the cave until hunted and killed by Ailill and Medb.

The name itself, “Oweynagat” is believed to refer to the Magical wild cats featured in the tale of “Bricriu’s Feast” that emerge from this cave to attack the three Ulster warriors before being tamed by Cúchulainn. Some also claim that the cave was named after Irusan, the King of the Cats, who is featured in Irish fairy tales and hailed from a cave near Clonmacnoise (her home). Another tale from the 18th century CE tells of a woman trying to catch a runaway cow that fell into this cave (nevermind the entrance being too small) and followed it into this cave. It is said the cow and woman emerged miles away in County Sligo, near Keshcorran. There is also a legend of a woman that was told to have killed a monster cat in this cave, turning the woman into a great warrior, and this is why its called “Oweynagat”, Cave of the Cats.

The Birthplace of Medb

It is also believed that this cave is the actual physical birthplace for Queen Medb. The legend states that the Fairy Queen/Goddess Étain who was fleeing her human husband with her fairy lover Midir came here. Midir wanted to visit a relative named Sinech (the large breasted one) who lived in the cave. Within the cave was said to be a great otherworldly palace where a maid servant named Crochan Crogderg (“Blood Red Cup”) lived, and she had granted Midir and Etain entrance. It was here that Crochan was believed to have given birth to a daughter named “Medb“.

The Entrance

Nestled under a fairy tree in a farmer’s field (private property) is a small opening that really only looks large enough for a house cat to fit through. But if a human gets down on their hands and knees, can shimmy into this small hole, they will be presented with a small chamber that connects to a passageway that continually increases to a massive tunnel wider and higher than one could fathom. At the inner lintel of this entrance is an Ogham inscription that bears the words “VRAICCI…MAQI MEDVVI” translating to “FRAECH” and “SON OF MEDB”. Some also translate this to mean “The Pillar of Fraech son of Madb”. This is also seen as the birthplace of Medb. A second ogham inscription, barely visible, reads “QR G SMU” but has not been translated. This beginning chamber is actually a man-made souterrain at the entrance to a natural narrow limestone cave. The souterrain was originally contained within an earthen mound that was later damaged by a road construction project in the 1930’s. The souterrain is made of drystone walling, orthostats, lintels, and stones that measure approximately 10.5 meters from the entrance to the natural cave’s opening.

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats – entrance chamber

The Tunnel

After crawling on one’s hands and feet, the passage increases in width and height, eventually one can stand up, and eventually the tunnel becomes wide and tall enough that a small Giant could move through it. This is the passage of the Fae, and leads to the Morrigan’s Lair. As one continues down, they’ll find a caved in shamble that is behind a muddy pool of water. If one successfully climbs up and over it, the passage continues to another area that is caved in. Apparently workers on the surface planted a utility pole that collapsed this section of the tunnel. Beyond this is believed to be the Entrance to the Otherworld, and the Morrigan’s Lair. This is actually a natural limestone cave that has been mapped approximately 37 meters deep.

The Morrigan

The Queen of the Dark Fae, the Goddess of the Underworld, of Darkness, and Battle, rules the world of the Fae from this place. It is believed that every Samhain, she is pulled on a chariot out of the Cave of the Cats by a one-legged chestnut horse alongside various creatures such as those mentioned above. Some also say on occasion she leaves the cave with a cow, guided by a giant with a forked staff, to give to the Bull of Cúailgne. She is also known to take the bull of a woman named Odras who follows her into the cave before falling under an enchanted sleep upon awakening to see the Morrigan who repeatedly whispers a spell over her, turning her into a river, the same river that feeds the muddy pool at the shamble. Apparently the cave is seen as a portal through which the Morrigan would pass in order to work with Medb as Goddess of Battle. She drove her otherworldly cattle into the cave every sunset. The Morrigan was blamed to have stolen a herd of cattle who belonged to a woman named Odras, and upon following to Morrigan to retrieve them, was turned into a lake by the Goddess. As is the story of Nera, a servant of Medb who met a Fairy woman here in this cave. He married her, and she warned him of Medb’s palace being burnt to the ground next Samhain by the creatures of the otherworld. Upon hearing this, Medb stationed her forces in the cave each Samhain to protect Cruachan from destruction.

Rathcrohan is the legendary burial grounds of the Kings of Coannaught. The region covers approximately 518 hectares hosting more than 20 ring forts, burial mounds, megalithic tombs such as the Relig na Ri (burial ground of the Kings), Rath na dTarbh (For the Bulls), and the Rathbeg. The archaeological site is massive, with earthworks spread over the region with the Grave of King Dathi (Last Pagan King of Ireland) as a 2 meter high standing stone being one of the few physical landmarks left that can be seen. This is also the site of the mythical battle of the “Tain Bo Cuailgne” that remains in the hearts, minds, and folklore of the people of Tulsk and Rathcroghan recorded in the Ancient Irish Epic of the Tain Bo Cuiailgne, the “Cattle Raid of Cooley”. The Tain Bo tells the story of Queen Maeve of Connaught and her armies that pursued the Grat Brown Bull of Cooley, the mighty warrior Cuchulain who does battle with the armies here, and his foster brother Erdia as he defends the Brown Bull, and the province of Ulster. There is a “Tain Trail Cycling and Touring Route” that re-traces the journey that Queen Maeve and her armies traveled from her Royal Palace at Rathcroghan across Ireland to the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, the home of the Brown Bull. Rathcrohan hosts over 60 National Monuments here.

Bibliography/References:

  • Druid School: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats. Website referenced January 2012.
  • Fenwick, J. et al 1977 “Oweynagat”. Irish Speleology 16, 11-14.
  • Hannon, Ed 2012 “Visions of the Past: Oweynagat Cave”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://visionsofthepastblog.com/2012/10/01/oweynagat-cave-souterrain-co-roscommon/.
  • Mulranney, R. n.d “Caves of Ireland: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://cavesofireland.wordpress.com/home/caves/oweynagat-cave-of-the-cats-co-roscommon/.
  • Waddell, J. 1983 “Rathcroghan – A Royal Site”. Journal of Irish Archaeology 1.
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Rathcroghan”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathcroghan.

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Leisureplex Starbucks – Blanchardstown Center, Dublin, IE

Starbucks (Leisureplex, Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland)

It took some instructing, but they evetually got down to memory the making of Chai Creme Frappacino‘s when we came here to do chai n’ wifi.

To read more about the Starbucks Corporation for history, links, and resources visit here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2345.

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Starbucks (Swords/Airside Park, Ireland)

Starbucks:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24741. 4 January 2014. Clongriffin to Swords. Chronicles 3: Walking with the Ancestors -  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=15579. Winter 2013/2014: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Cian - the Prince of Endurance.  Photography (c) 2014, 2015: Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography/.  To follow the stories and tales visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ and http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. Swords: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24171. Dublin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2754. Malahide: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24123. Clongriffin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24119.
Starbucks: Swords, Ireland. 4 January 2014.

Starbucks – Swords/Airside
Airside Retail Park, Swords, Co. Dublin, Ireland

+353 1 840 8516
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24741

One of my favorite little Starbucks just outside of Swords area of the north Dublin county section of Ireland in the Airside Retail Park. A small glass paneled decorative Starbucks outpost attached to a strip mall with TGI Fridays and InTouch beauty treatments. Friendly service and great Wi-Fi. It was a great stop off after a long day’s hunting of folklore and sacred sites in the area. I had to instruct them how to make a Chai Creme Frappuccino as its less common in Europe than in the Americas. Clean, great yet limited seating, and busy coffee shack. Rated 3.5 stars out of 5.

To read more about the Starbucks Corporation for history, links, and resources visit here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2345.

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Starbucks (Dawson street, Dublin, Ireland)

Starbucks: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24131. January 2, 2014 - a day out in Dublin. Chronicles 3: Walking with the Ancestors -  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=15579. Winter 2013/2014: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Cian - the Prince of Endurance.  Photography (c) 2014, 2015: Thomas Baurley,   Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography/.  To follow the stories and tales visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ and http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. Dublin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2754.
Starbucks: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24131. January 2, 2014 – a day out in Dublin. Chronicles 3: Walking with the Ancestors – http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=15579. Winter 2013/2014: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Cian – the Prince of Endurance. Photography (c) 2014, 2015: Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography/. To follow the stories and tales visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ and http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. Dublin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2754.

Starbucks (Dawson street Dublin)
51 Dawson St, Dublin, Ireland * +353 1 675 9850
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24131

My all-time favorite Dublin Starbucks location for chai and Wi-Fi fixes. Nestled just off Dawson, strategically planted near Trinity College and the City Centre, this spacious Starbucks has just what the weary traveler needs – great couches and lounging area in the front, coffee stand and register in the center, with back room and corridor with tables stretching the length of the business. Outside is several tables and chairs for people watching and waiting for the bus during good-weather blessings. The staff is friendly and great at remembering who you are and what you like, internet signal fabulous, and during the middle hours of the week days not too crowded so you’ll often find seating. Evenings and weekends it gets a bit crowded and tough to get seating. They also have the making of the Chai Creme Frappacino down pretty good for a foreign Starbucks. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 1/2/14.

To read more about the Starbucks Corporation for history, links, and resources visit here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2345.

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Starbucks Coffee (Mahon Point, Cork, Ireland)

Starbucks (Mahon Point, Cork, Ireland)
First Floor, Kiosk 7, Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork, Ireland
http://www.starbucks.ie/store/1010436/ie/mahon-point/first-floor-kiosk-7-mahon-point-shopping-centre

It always amazed me how Cork Ireland was always lacking a Starbucks. Cork has had its history with up and downs of Starbucks success, and finally at least this year (2015) a really nice Starbucks is readily accessible off the N40 and in close proximity to Cork City. This roomy Starbucks has a warm and bustling atmosphere with friendly servers. I put them to my Chai Creme Frappacino International test and they were successful … they knew how to make it. (Most International locations have difficulties with this drink – many of their employees don’t even know its a menu offering that is so popular in the States) There was very roomy space for the wee one to play and not get into much trouble while we were catching up with an old friend. The chai and pastries were delicious. Good times. Accessibility not bad as there is a car park below with an elevator up. However if there is rain or bad weather like we experienced during our visit, you’ll have a brief run-through the rain to get from the elevator to the Starbucks. Rating: 5 stars out of 5 Visited 1/1/2015

To read more about the Starbucks Corporation for history, links, and resources visit here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2345.

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Starbucks (Malahide, Ireland)

Starbucks – Malahide, Ireland
* Unit 2, The Green Strand Street * 60 Marina Village * Malahide * Dublin, Ireland * www.starbucks.ie * 35318283310 *

We were grateful that their was a Starbucks open nearby in Malahide on New Year’s Day, as most of Ireland is shut down on this day. Staff was friendly and courteous, though not really aware of much of the company they work for. We ordered our infamous “Chai Creme Frappuccino” we are so addicted to, only to get the once-in-a-blue-moon newbie employee response “Oh, we don’t make those”. “Of course you do” is always my reply with a quick tutorial on the simplicity and telling them its in their book. It’s on their Frappuccino web site and even the Starbucks-Ireland web site (http://www.starbucks.ie/menu/beverage-list/frappuccino-blended-coffee/chai-creme-frappuccino-blended-beverage). The barista said “We don’t have a book” and “I don’t think that would work” to my tutorial response. But the co-worker went ahead and tried, and voila’ – he had it right on, and strong like we like them. Then out came the Gold Card, which apparently are only offered to Starbucks clientele in the States … but the rewards on them should work universally (which has worked in other Dublin locations) as I had at least 2 free purchases on the card in waiting. “Oh, we can’t check those” with a “I’ll verify with the manager” follow-up saying “no can do”. So we had to use Euros. The one employee said “We are not part of the Starbucks network here in Ireland” which I found a surprising thing to say – “Of course you are” was my reply. I’ve had no problems anywhere else in Ireland with such things and to be a franchise even, you have to be part of the network I’m sure. Overall a good experience minus the novice attentiveness. Kudos to the other employee who was willing to try making the Chai Creme Frappacino. Rating: 3 stars out of 5 ~ visited 1/1/2014

To read more about the Starbucks Corporation for history, links, and resources visit here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2345.

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St. Finbarr’s Holy Well: Gougane Barra

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

Saint Finbarr’s Holy Well ~ Gougane Barra
* Gougane Barra * Macroom, County Cork, Ireland *
* Coordinates: N 51 50′ 21.0″ W 009 19′ 07.8″ * Grid Ref. W 09151 65974 * Elevation: 164 meters above sea level * OS 85 092 660 marked *

Just inside the gate crossing over to the Island with the Church that is known as Gougane Barra resides a stone enclosed holy well attributed to Saint Finbarr. Some claim this is one of the most potent holy wells in all of Cork known for its healing properties. Some say it is the source of the River Lee. There is also a Wishing Tree / Money Tree nearby. There used to be a old cross that stood in the middle of a field that had coins hammered all over it that fell down and rotted away.

May2312d-MaggieLandBlanckIllus-SportDramNews10-18-1879
Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, October 18, 1879
Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

The tradition of hammering money moved from this cross to the Wishing tree. This is because the cross fell over due to the weight of coins, and was removed by the Church in the late 1990’s and placed against a yew tree in the back of the settlement. Saint Finbarr was the founder of the monastic site and church on this island, Gougane Barra, the City of Cork, and its Sea. He was led by angels, chased off L, Gougan Barra Dragon who lived in the lake, and had a host of mysteries and miracles associated with his life. It is because of this, the magical waters of the well share in his fame. Catholics favored coming here for many years as it was a refuge from the Penal Laws due to its remoteness. Catholic/Christian Observations at the well include doing rounds, stations, or turas at the well before gathering a bottle of its magical waters to bring home with them. The fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place near here.

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

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Gougane Barra

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

Gougane Barra (Gugn Barra)
* Macroom, County Cork, Ireland *
Article by Thomas Baurley, Archaeologist – Technogypsie Productions www.technogypsie.com © 2013 – all rights reserved.

Gougane Barra is a enlightening niche of history nestled in the woods within a lake along Ireland’s southwestern countryside. Gougane Barra means “The Rock of Barra.” Barra refers to Saint Finbarr, the patron Saint of Cork. My first visit was at night which was magically radiant. I look forward to the opportunity to visit the site during the day. This is the home of the hallowed shrine of Saint Finbarr and his oratory. The church resides on a small island in the lake. Next to the church are the historic ruins of St. Finbarr’s monastery and contains ancient prayer cells with remarkably ancient stations of the cross. The original monastery dates to the 6th century C.E. (common era) The original monastery can no longer be found. Behind the chapel are ruins that some purport to be the original monastery, but they were built in the 17th century. They consist of four stone walls surrounding a large wooden cross dotted with a series of prayer cells within which have crosses inscribed. These cells were built in 1700 by Reverend Denis O’Mahony who retired here dedicated to God. During Cromwell’s torment of Ireland, the possession of this land fell out of the O’Leary families hands and fell into ruin. It then passed to the Townsend family and used for farmland. This is the location by Christian myth that Saint Finbarr came to and communed with God, seeing the surrounding mountains as his personal cloister, and the lake mirroring God’s grandeur. It is here he built stone cells to commemorate his hermitage and commune with Deity. It has ever since been a backdrop for art, painting, photography, poetry, and spirituality. From here Saint Finbarr traveled along the Lee River to become the first Bishop and founder of Cork and its church. Saint Finbarr passed away at Cloyne in 633 C.E. His feast day is celebrated in his honor on September 25th. On site is also a Holy Well and Wishing Tree.

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

The church (also called the oratory) is of modern construct and design with infamous stained glass windows. Here pilgrims visit frequently, especially on September 25th, the feast day of Saint Finbarr. During Ireland’s Penal history, pilgrims came to Gougane Barra for Mass and is why there are numerous mass rounds in the area.
When we eloped in South Carolina we had plans of coming back to this church to get married at officially for our family and friends as it was always a dream wedding location for my wife. Alas though, an unexpected wee one changed our plans for that. It is however one of the most famous locations in Cork County to get married at

The Gougane Barra Lake formed in a rock basin that was carved out during the ice age with depths upward of 12 meters. The surrounding hills are made of old red sandstone. The park today is approximately 142 hectares in size. It was virtually without trees until 1938 when it was re-forested with Sitka Spruce, Lodgepole Pine, and Japanese Larch. The area now stands forested. The forested and bog areas are abundant with purple moor grass, bog mosses, cotton grasses, sedges, rushes, fox’s cabbage, butterworths, lichens, and sundews. The area is home to the otter, badgers, brown rat, fox, rabbit, field mice, pigmy shrew, pine marten, coal tit, wren, robins, wood pigeons, blackbirds, chiffchaff, willow warbler, pied wagtail, gray wagtail, dock dove, cuckoo, thrush, starlings, red buntings, cormorants, herons, moorhens, and swan.

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

Alot of legends surround Saint Finbarr, Gougane Barra, and its lake. It was here in the lake that Saint Finbarr chased off L, Gougane Barra Dragon. A dragon or a sea monster like Nessie, the legends vary in their descriptions. The creature’s expulsion is believed to be the source of the large channel that is now the River Lee flowing west to the sea at Cork City. A little sea monster is memorialized in the hedge along the isle’s road. Saint Finbarr was also believed to have been led by an angel from the source of the river Lee at his monastic site to its marshy mouth where he built a monastery “out of which grew the Sea and the City of Cork”. By placing the monastery here it made the River Lee to be the symbol of Cork City and Cork County. Legends tell of him going to Rome on a Pilgrimage and upon his return met Saint David who lent him a horse that miraculously helped him cross the channel. He was aided by Saint Brendan who signaled him in navigation during his voyage east. Some say Pope Gregory was going to make Saint Finbarr pope but didn’t because he was deterred by a vision. When Finbarr returned to Ireland, God created a miraculous flow of oil from the ground, sending him up into heaven and consecrating him as a Bishop. It was also told that he was visited by Saint Laserian and two monks who sat with him under a hazel talking about religion. They asked him for a sign that God was with him, in reply of which, Saint Finbarr prayed and the spring catkins on the bush above them fell off, grew into nuts, ripened, and poured them into their laps. The day he died and his body was moved to Cloyne, the sun failed to shine for a fortnight.

The fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place near here where he was thrown off a cliff by a Pooka. Some believe because of legends such as these, inspire other drunken pilgrims to come t the site in the dark leading to disruption, vandalism, injury, and death. According to Thomas Crofton Croker in his book “Fairy legends and traditions of the south of Ireland” that “in deed this fact was so notorious that the Catholic clergy in the south of Ireland publicly forbade the customary pilgrimage on the 24th of June to the Lake of Gougane Barra as it presented an annual scene of drunkenness, riot, and debauchery too shocking for description.

How to get here: Located 5 kilometers west of Ballingeary on the R584 roadway to Bantry just at the Pass of Keimaneigh. Follow posted signs.

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Binne’s Cairn: The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Woods, Cork, Ireland

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Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

The Giant’s Grave: Binne’s Cairn
* Curraghbinny Woods, County Cork, Munster, Ireland * Latitude: 5148’41.35″ * Longitude: -817’52.72″ *

Atop the summit of Curraghbinny Hill in Curraghbinny Forest Recreation Area lies a mound of giant stones/ cairn that is locally called “The Giant’s Grave”. The grave overlooks Cork Harbour. It was excavated by an archaeological team in 1932 by archaeologist Sean P. O’Riordan. During this excavation, a large circle of giant boulders were uncovered beneath a spread of stones. Within the cairn was an arc of smaller stones closer to the center. In the center of the monument was a heap of stone and clay. That is all found within the cairn. Nearby however were found cattle teeth, cattle bone, charcoal, cremated human bone, a small bronze ring, and two collections of water-rolled pebbles imported from elsewhere. The cremated human bone found nearby was carbon dated roughly to be 4,000 years old. No one knows the exact date of the cairn, but it is estimate to be Bronze Age (2000 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E.). The name of the woods “Curraghbinny” in Irish is “Corra Binne” named after the legendary giant called Binne. It is believed that this cairn is his burial chamber atop the hill (called a “Corra” in Irish). The stone most likely was deposited naturally during the Ice Age 20,000 years ago. The Giant’s Stone in Crosshaven went missing after the slob in the town center was filled in and was recently recovered and brought back to be displayed in the middle of Crosshaven.

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Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

The legend of the Giant named Binne
According to Robert Day who told the tale in 1892 about a giant named Mahain who threw two stones from Monkstown landing in Ringaskiddy and the other in Crosshaven. It is believed this was the Giant named Binne. Another local tale tells a similar tale, but this time the Giant was called Binne, and lived locally in Currabinny. He was the giant who cast the stones into Crosshaven years ago. The stone apparently has a set of fingerprints embedded into the stone leading viewers of it to believe they belonged to a giant.

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Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

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Prince August Toy Soldier Factory

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Prince August Toy Soldier Factory
* Kilnamartyra Village, Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland * Phone + 353 (0)26 40222 * Fax + 353 (0)26 40004 * http://www.princeaugust.ie/ *

As we were driving around Ireland looking for stone monuments, dolmen, tombs, and holy wells we stumbled upon this toy factory in the small village of Kilnamartyra in Macroom, near Killarney town and Cork City. The parking lot was empty but the open sign was up. The outside of the building had beautiful artwork and painting of mythology, toy soldiers, and dragons. Inside we were greated by a mom and her son who showed us around the store, let us take a peek in the warehouse, and demonstrated lead casting of the toy soldiers. Apparently this is the only Toy Soldier Factory in all of Europe and one of the largest of its kind in the world. They offer tours of the facilities, demonstrations, school tours, family days, parties, and craft making sessions.

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They offer casting and painting workshops as well. The Factory creates a variety of start kits that contain moulds that can be used for home crafting to create your own toy soldiers or mythical beings. The selection ranges from toy soldiers, traditional soldiers, Romans, Vikings, Faeries, Mythological Figures, Chess Sets, Christmas Ornaments, and Teddy Bears. The factory was founded in 1976 by two new Irish residents from Sweden. They bought a factory building in Kilnamartyra, recruited local help, and bought mould making machines beginning production. They originally packed and distributed in Germany while manufacturing in Ireland at first, but as their resources grew in Ireland, moved operations completely into Ireland. We had a great visit, and enjoyed the figurines. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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Tobar Eoin g: St. John’s Well, Carrigaline – County Cork, Ireland

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St. John’s Well, County Cork, Ireland

Tobar Eoin g: St. John’s Well (Formerly St. Renogue’s Well)
Carrigaline, Co. Cork, Ireland
Official article: http://www.naiads.org/well/?p=377, archive article: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14325
Written by Thomas Baurley, Archaeologist – Technogypsie Research (c) 2013; http://www.technogypsie.com

Nestled into the woods between housing estates is a beehive shaped rock cairn covering a historical holy well that today is known as “St. John’s Well” or “Toberabbog”. Since Cork County has a few “St. John’s” Wells, it should be annotated as “St. John’s Well Carrigaline”. It is also called “Tobar Eoin g” or “St. Renogue’s” Well, an earlier dedication before St. John took over the well’s magic. The 1840 Ordinance Survey Map records the map as Saint Rinoge’s or Renogue’s Well. It is located to the northwest of Carrigaline, along a residential road and two-track between Ballinrea Road and Ballea Road (R613) and is surrounded by the Dun Eoin residential estates. Even though the well is watched over by parishioners and the local parish, many kids and trouble-makers vandalize and hang out at the site doing controversial activities.

The well is encased and protected by a bee-hive shaped stone structure that resembles a cairn with a small hole from which the water flows. Atop the cairn is a cross in disrepair with scratch etchings of crosses by pilgrims inscribed on the exterior walls. This mineral spring is for the healing of eyes and debilities. Next to the well is a large tree that is surrounded by a low circular wall upon which is a stone plaque that tells a short history of the site. Around the site are a number of benches and steps made of railroad ties. Opposite the well is a small stone altar upon which the name of the well is carved. According to local legend, the well was discovered by a blind man who upon visiting the well, had his sight restored. He was so ecstatic about this miracle, he built the corbelled stone beehive over the well to protect and honor it.

Christian/Catholic observations today at the well are celebrated here on St. John’s Eve which falls on the 23rd of June every year. This is the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. While earlier and older Pagan rites may have been held here celebrating the Summer solstice in similar practices, this well does not appear to be revered by Pagans much anymore. The Christian celebrations have been in practice since the early 19th century C.E. (common era) and consists of a gathering at the well that number in the hundreds of locals coming together to conduct prayers, hymns, and rites at this particular site. St. John’s Eve is derived of both Pagan and Celtic customs mixed with Catholic devotionals to the saints. Originally began by lighting a bonfire with attendees going to sites where Saint John is venerated. In modern day practice, the devotions at this well is organized by a small group of parishioners and Catholic parish clergy. The priest brings in the rosary and circles the well while someone scratch inscribes the cross on the stones of the beehive cairn with each mark representing a decade of the rosary. While the focus is on the clergy, a number of people individually circle the well as well and mark the crosses while praying. The Eucharist is then displayed and venerated during which the Parish choir and the Carrigaline Pipe Band accompany with music. A formal service is performed after which participants go to the well to drink of the waters, bless themselves, and collect some water to take with them for healing activities at home for themselves and loved ones. Some gather water from the flow out of the well while others will crawl on their hands and knees going into the well to get their water. To many, it is very essential to collect the water and touch it at is exact point of its source where it is the purest. To embrace the magic of the waters, it is custom for the pilgrims to say a decade of the rosary at each of the inscribed crosses found in the walls of the well stones for the miracles to be delivered.

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St. John’s Well, County Cork, Ireland

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St. John’s Well, County Cork, Ireland

Continue reading Tobar Eoin g: St. John’s Well, Carrigaline – County Cork, Ireland

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Saint Ghobnatan (St. Gobnata) of Ballyvourney

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Saint Gobnait (ca. 5th – 6th century C.E.)
Other names: Saint Ghobnatan, Mo Gobnat, Abigail, Gobnata, Gobnaid, Ghobhnet, Deborah, and Saint Gobnat.

Counterpart: She is associated with Father St. Abbn moccu Corbmaic who she trained under. Some of his sites, monuments, and shrines have been shared with her or taken over by her. Some claim she is similarly named with the Tuatha de Danann’s Smith, a Faerie or Deity called Goibnui.

Matron/Patron Saint of: Bees, bee keepers, iron workers, Protection, Healing, and the village of Ballyvourney.

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History:
Her name is derived from “Gobba” and ‘Gabha’ which means “Smith”. There is evidence that her monastic site may have been a metalworking site first before its Christian use. Mythology suggests that Goibnui, the Smith of the Tuatha D Danann that might be whom St. Gobnait replaced. Due to excavations at her house finding iron working tools and slag, she became associated with the art of metal smithing, iron working, and metal works. In addition to iron, she was associated with bees. She most likely used honey a lot in her healing practices utilizing the health and medicinal properties of it which led people to believe she was in control of bees. She has also been called “Deborah”, the anglicized version of her name that means “Honey Bee”. St. Gobnait, who, it is said, was descended from O’Connor the Great, Monarch of Ireland. Saint Ghobnatan was the matron Saint of the Irish village of Ballyvourney (Baile Bhuirne). She was born in County Clare, Ireland during the 5th (or 6th) century of the Common Era (C.E./A.D.). Folklore suggests that she left Clare when chased by enemies and sought refuge at Inisheer in the Aran Islands. She studied under Saint Enda there and because of this, the Kilgobnet Church on Inis Oirr (Inisheer) is dedicated to her. While primarily seen as the Matron/Patron saint of Ballyvourney, she is held in high tribute and honor throughout southern Ireland as well as Scotland. She was declared a Saint as she was infamous for her ability to heal and for her miraculous protection of Ballyvourney. She was reputed to have passed away from physical body on February 11th, and is thereby celebrated every February 11th as a feast day for her contributions to the world. The year of her death is unknown, but believed to have taken place during the 6th century C.E. Several churches were dedicated to her and tribute can be found in Inis Orr (Aran Islands), Dn Chaoin in West Kerry, and Waterford. What little is known about her comes from the writings on the life of St. Abbn moccu Corbmaic, her senior companion and Priest which was published in the early 13th century C.E. The dedication to her is not without controversy as writings about Saint Finbarr’s Life suggests that St. Ghobnatan’s church belonged to Finbarr’s foundation in Cork and states it was founded by one of his disciples.

    “Mo Gobnat from Muscraige Mitaine, i.e. a sharp-beaked nun,

    Ernaide is the name of the place in which she is.

    Or Gobnat of Bairnech in Mn Mr in the south of Ireland,

    and of the race of Conaire she is; a virgin of Conaire’s race”

    Note to the Flire engusso, tr. Whitley Stokes, p. 73

Lore and Legends:
While she was on the Islands, an angel appeared telling her to keep walking until the day she finds 9 white deer. It was in County Cork, at Clondrohid where she found three deer and followed them. They led her to Ballymakeera where she found 6 white deer. She continued on her path and came across nine white deer grazing in the woods at Ballyvourney. It was there at Ballyvourney that Father Saint Abbn moccu Corbmaic of Kilabban, County Laois installed her as an abbess and given land to create a women’s monastery. It is in the village of Ballyvourney that her church Min Mr (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. It was told and known locally that one of the reasons Gobnait received Sainthood was that she saved the village of Ballyvourney from being infected by the plague. She did this by drawing a line in the sand with a stick and declared the village to be consecrated grounds’. The Celts saw bees or butterflies as the vessel in which the soul leaves the body. She was skilled at commanding bees and sent them to attack a invading chieftain and his army who was destroying crops and driving off cattle in Ballyvourney. When invaders tried to take Ballyvourney, build forts, or erect shrines without her permission, she would command bees to attack them. One legend tells of soldiers coming to Ballyvourney to steal livestock after which she swarmed them with bees making them run off leaving the livestock behind. Another version tells of a band of robbers stealing cattle after which her bees attacked them, they returned the cattle to her. These tales are believed to have influenced artisan Harry Clarke from creating the stain glass window in the Honan Chapel located at the University College Cork. It was here at Tobar Ghobnatan that the fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place nearby as the location where he sought to atone for his sins at St. Gobnait’s shrine.

Historical/Archaeological Evidence:
Excavation of her monastic site in Ballyvourney during the 1950’s revealed iron slag, a crucible, and metal working tools/artifacts in the discoveries. It was determined her hut was used in the smithing of metal. She gained an attribute of iron working from these results. This led to rumor and lore about her being associated by the similarly named Faerie / Deity Smith for the Tuatha de Danann called Goibnui. This is because of the (a) metal working / smithing / smelting artifacts found at her home, (b) roots in her name, (c) her being a patron saint for iron working, and (d) earlier evidence of the location being a Pagan shrine and/or site. Since there is no other evidence, most likely it is simply a hypothesis or conclusion derived in an internet blog online. The round circular stone hut north of the statue is the “House of St. Gobnait” or the “St. Ghobnatan’s Kitchen”. During construction of the statue, a container that is used with the production of metalworking or glass works was found there along with post holes found during the archaeological excavation of the site. It is believed the hut was a later addition and that the site’s original first use was for iron working. It is also around this time that the well in front of the hut was believed to have been dug (called St. Gobnait’s Well). St. Gobnait’s Holy Well, of which there are two on site, was revered as a site of healing waters and magic from their early beginnings to this very date. She is also associated with the Mscraige where her church and nunnery are located, bordering Mscraige Mittine and Eganacht Locha Lin.

Monuments:
A huge statue of her resides at Tobar Ghobnatan monastic site that was erected in the 1950’s CE. Here she is depicted wearing a nun’s habit and stands calmly atop a beehive surrounded by bees. The Honan Chapel’s stained glass work of her located at the University College Cork depicts her adorned in blue robes surrounded by bees with two terrified men at her feet.

Relics and Artifacts:

  • The figurine of St. Gobnait – Within the parish church of Ballyvourney is a 13th century relic of a Saint Gobnait figurine made of wood. She is brought out every February 11th during her feast day by the parish priest and brought before the parishioners and pilgrims given the opportunity to approach it with a piece of ribbon. The parishioner or pilgrim holds the ribbon up to the figurine to measure against her length and around her circumference that is then taken home to be used for healing and other prayers required.

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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

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Tobar Ghobnatan Cross Etchings

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Tobar Ghobnatan Cross Etchings
* Tobar Ghobnatan * Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *

An interesting custom I came across while visiting the Tobar Ghobnatan monastic site were these scratchings in the rocks of sacred sites of a Celtic Cross. They were done hundreds of times atop each other. Actually, the first time I saw this was at St. John’s Well in County Cork. I thought it was an anomoly, but that changed at Tobar Ghobnatan. Tobar Ghobnatan has an unlimited number of examples of this practice. This practice seems to have Pagan roots, but definitely absorbed by Catholicism in practice within County Cork, especially at the Stations while doing rounds or turas.

Throughout the Stations at Tobar Ghobnatan one can see that modern pilgrims have attended the stations and marked the stones around the shrine with Celtic crosses (equal armed crosses) with a stone by scratching the symbol over and over into the stone as part of their prayers. You first see this at the site when you enter the main entrance to the statue, hut, and well – the two gateway stones are marked by crosses, as are the modern cylinder shaped pillars found within the hut and church. This practice can be see at St. John’s Well outside of Cork, St. Declan’s Well at Ardmore, and many other sites around southern Ireland. The practice can be dated as early as the medieval period continuing to present day. It is unknown of how early the scratching of the cross began. Often small pebbles and rocks are left atop the stones so other pilgrims will continue the repetition and practice, each etching the sign of the cross as they say their prayers at the station shrine.

The etching in stone found at Tobar Ghobnatan are considered to be dedicated to the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan holy pilgrimage site and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan”. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where her church Min Mr (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built.

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Her purported grave can be found in the church yard opposite the hut. This is marked Stations 3 and 4 on the pilgrimage stations/turas map. This is a small artificial prehistoric mound that looks like most other megalithic cists. On its south end is a large stone slab which is the location where many believe her body to rest. Atop this stone pilgrims scratch the cross into the stone slab (Station 3). The slab atop the cist (Station 4) is also covered with scratched crosses. There are said to exist three Bullaun Stones here, the third of which may be in the station 3 stone slab.

How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51 56′ 18″ N.

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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

Continue reading Tobar Ghobnatan Cross Etchings

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Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees

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Tobar Ghobnatan Rag Trees (Wishing Tree)
* Tobar Ghobnatan * Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *

Main Article Here: http://www.naiads.org/well/?p=363

A grand example of a large wishing tree (or rag tree) can be found at Tobar Ghobnatan in County Cork Ireland. It is a magical space of charm and tradition, with holy wells, shrines, mythology, and magical spots. As you drive up to the Tobar Ghobnatan Statue, Well, Hut, Grave, Church ruins and yard, you will see on your right a wrought iron archway with the letters spelling “HOLY WELL” along its top. When I walked through this archway, I immediately spied a 3/4 large ring of mushrooms known as a Fairy Ring. A short walk down the path you will find the well at the base of a wishing tree. The tree is covered with rags or clouties as well as many other trinkets placed there or tied to the branches as offerings and prayers. These are often cleaned up and removed by the church. The well has steps down into it, but can often be difficult without crawling on your knees to get at the magical waters. There are two taps nearby where one can retrieve the water. All over this tree are paper and cloth rags, fabric clooties (cloughties), and plastic remnants tied to the branches. Sometimes these can be found in the hundreds of individual offerings and prayer petitions. However, according to gossip, the local Church cleans up the tree on occasion, removing the rags and tokens. Whether or not this is true is unknown, but not many items here look really old so it might be true. The concept is to leave behind something of yourself or someone that you love that is in need of prayers, healing, or petitions. The concept with the rags is that when it decays so will the illness that it represents. This is a kind of sympathetic magical rite. Unfortunately some pilgrims to the sites don’t realize how the spell or magic works. You can see this when they tie a piece of a plastic bag on the tree. Plastic will take forever to decay, so will the illness it is to represent. If only they knew! In addition to the rags, others leave coins, jewelry, rings, prayer cards, figurines, toys, personal effects, clothing items such as belts, shoes, garments, and trinkets. The cloutie and Wish trees found at Tobar Ghobnatan are considered to be dedicated to the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan holy pilgrimage site and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan”. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where her church Min Mr (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built.

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How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51 56′ 18″ N.

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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

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Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells: St. Abban’s Well and St. Gobnait’s Well

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Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells
* Tobar Ghobnatan * Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *

1ST WELL: ST. ABBAN’S WELL OR ST. GOBNAIT’S WELL

As you drive up to the Tobar Ghobnatan Statue, Well, Hut, Grave, Church ruins and yard, you will see on your right a wrought iron archway with the letters spelling “HOLY WELL” along its top. Another sign labels it as the “Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Well”. When I walked through this archway, I immediately spied a 3/4 large ring of mushrooms known as a Fairy Ring. I had to walk around it 9 times to see if a gateway to the land of Fae would appear. Magical as the site was, alas, no gateway appeared that I was aware of. A short walk down the path you will find the well at the base of a wishing tree. The tree is covered with rags or clouties as well as many other trinkets placed there or tied to the branches as offerings and prayers. These are often cleaned up and removed by the church occasionally some say online. The well has steps down into it, but can often be difficult to access without crawling on your knees to get at the magical waters. There are two taps nearby where one can retrieve the water. This well is believed to be a lot older than the Christian occupation and creation of this monastic site, probably as a Fairy Well or Pagan Shrine. Today visitors claim it is either St. Abban’s Well and/or St. Gobnait’s Well. From the Cult followings, I would think it has more to do with St. Gobnait than St. Abban even though technically I’ve read it is primarily called St. Abban’s Well. The Other well is up the hill by St. Gobnait’s Hut and Statue. It’s unclear which Saint claimed which Pagan well when they took the land.

In Neo-Pagan practice and visitations of the site, the well is circled either three times clockwise, or in a trio set of three times three. It is conducted clockwise to gain something, pay tribute to the well, or to weave a certain kind of magic. It is done counter-clockwise to unwind something, to banish something, or to undo a spell, curse, or action. It is common then to make an offering to the well or tree. The participant then goes to the well, collects water, offers it back to the earth, then either takes a sip of the magical waters or splashes it on their face. It is common to fill a bottle with the magic waters to take home. A bin of empty clean water bottles is located along one of the rock walls for those who forgot to bring a bottle. This well is very common location for seamen to collect water from to bring to their boats used for safe passage during their expeditions. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well. According to the stations, the rounds, or the turas, this is station 10: St. Abban’s Well. Every year on the 11th of February, the parish priest would bring out a 13th century wooden statue of St. Gobnait upon which pilgrims would measure a ribbon against the statue and wrap it around the figure, then take the ribbon home to use for healing magic.

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Next to the well is a large tree called a Wishing Tree which is part of any number of such trees found on this monastic site. Covering this particular tree are offerings to St. Gobniat (and the ancestral water spirits or Naiads of this well) in the form of rags (clouties/clooties – pieces of cloth tied around its branches), prayers, trinkets, tokens, pictures, charms, and/or a variety of personal effects from under garments, hair ties, belts, shoes, rings, jewelry, toys, prayer cards, or other effects. The belief behind pieces of cloth are that they are to get rid of an illness and once the cloth decays so will the illness. It is a concept of leaving something behind of themselves or their loved ones in need of healing.

Along the stone wall and around the well is an assortment of cups, jars, and/or bottles that someone can use to gather water from the well for drinking and/or blessing. As far as I know, the well water is not tested or certified, so drinking from such is at one’s own risk. Anything can get into these public wells and a variety of items from coins, pins, and garbage are sometime found thrown into them. When I visited there was a large bin of washed out plastic bottles for visitors to fill up with holy well water and take with them.

SECOND WELL: ST. GOBNAIT’S WELL (or ST. ABBAN’S WELL)

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Again, like the well above, no one is clear on who claimed this Fairy Well, but it seems to be primarily associated with Saint Gobnait since it is located in front of her house, hut, or kitchen. Both wells are part of the pilgrimage and rounds regardless. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well.
To complete the pilgrimage the pilgrim walks down the road to St Gobnaits well (Station 10). The pilgrim recites 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys and 7 Gloria, one decade of the rosary and drinks the water from the well. Like many holy wells in Ireland St Gobnaits well is associate with a rag tree and there is a tradition of leaving votive offerings at this tree. Below is a photo of the tree taken when I last visited here in 2006, as you can see is covered rags and bead and tokens left be pilgrims. I think it looks quiet lovely. Since my last visit most of these offering have been removed but a few are still to be found. This well seems a bit questionable as to the safety of the water, but is still one apparently drunken from. This well in in front of the round circular stone hut north of the statue called the “House of St. Gobnait” or the “St. Ghobnatan’s Kitchen”. Earlier evidence suggests that the site was an early pre-Medieval to Medieval bronze and iron working site which operated out of this hut. Evidence for this comes from iron slag, a crucible, and other metal working artifacts found during the excavation of the site. With evidence that the wells were Pagan shrines pre-dating Christianity combined with the metalworking has led some rumors to run wild that it could be the metal working site of the Tuatha D Danann’s Smith known as Goibnui who share phonetic similarities to the name of Saint Gobnait. There is no evidence found to this ‘hunch’ someone probably weaved online in a blog, but it does add a sense of urban lore to the site that would make it an exciting tidbit of mythos. (Especially since there really exists no solid evidence of any of the Tuatha D Danann legend site locations except folklore) In this hut, pilgrims etch a cross into the stones atop this well as well as the entrance stones in the hut during their turas.

BOTH WELLS:

Both of the wells are named after the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan (a.k.a. Saint Gobnait) of the holy pilgrimage site and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan“. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where her church Min Mr (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. There are two holy wells at this site, both of which are believed to pre-date St. Abban and Gobnait’s arrival to the land, most likely Pagan shrines or Fairy wells. Today these wells are called “St. Abban’s Well” (most likely ‘FIRST WELL’) and “St. Gobnait’s Well” (most likely ‘SECOND WELL’).

There are several wells throughout Ireland (and other countries) dedicated to Saint Gobnait. There exists a dry well known as St. Debora, Deriola, or Abigails Well that is north of Ballyagran in a high field on the left of the road to Castletown which is believed to be the original Saint Gobnait’s Well. It is currently dry. Legends run wild of a white stag that can be seen at this well especially during February 11th, the Feast day of Saint Gobnait. There are other wells and shrines such as the church site in County Kerry at Dunquin that has a well near Dungarvan in Waterford.

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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51 56′ 18″ N.

Continue reading Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells: St. Abban’s Well and St. Gobnait’s Well

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Tobar Ghobnatan (St. Gobnait’s House, Church, Cemetery, Statue, & Well)

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Tobar Ghobnatan
* Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *

Named after the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan, this site is a holy pilgrimage location and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan”. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where St. Ghobnatan’s church Min Mr (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. The site is believed to have been a pre-Christian Pagan site used to smelt bronze and iron. There are also two holy wells at this site, both of which are believed to pre-date St. Abban and Gobnait’s arrival to the land, most likely Pagan shrines or Fairy wells. Today these wells are called “St. Gobnait’s Well” and “St. Abban’s Well”. This Christian site was believed to have been founded first by St. Abban who founded a convent here and giving it to Saint Gobnait. It is however, primarily attributed to St. Gobnait, and both wells seem to carry her name and reputation, even though there is controversy as to which well belongs to which Saint.

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The Statue of St. Gobnait

St. Gobnait’s cult and laity, as well as the Catholic population of the area, often come to the site for recreation, hiking, prayers, petitions, and doing the rounds or turas. However, every February 11th, the date that St. Gobnait was believed to pass away (year unknown), has become her official “Feast Day” which calls for tribute and celebrations for her. Pilgrims to the site do these rounds on the feast day by coming to the statue (station 1) and processing in a clockwise direction around the site scratching crosses on the stones of each station as they do their rounds. Just to the left of the statue the pilgrims begin reciting three sets of prayers seven times each at each station making a very long day to the rite and ritual involved. These are seven “Our Father” prayers, seven “Hail Mary’s” prayers, and seven “Glories of Christ”. The statue was erected in 1950 C.E. The turas however are believed to be done in the general vicinity of the statue for at least since the 17th century. No date is certain when the pilgrimage and practice began.

St. Gobnait’s Kitchen or House
Next to the statue is a round stone circular hut that is believed to have been either the kitchen or house of St. Gobnait. During construction of the statue and excavation of the site, post holes were found suggesting that the site was used for production of various crafts. From the 1800’s until 1950’s the hut and site was in complete ruin. The hut and site was restored after the site was excavated in 1950 by M.J. O’Kelly who rebuilt it to its current state. The excavations suggested that the site was used for metal craft working up to the early medieval period based on large amounts of iron smelting slag, a crucible, and other metal working artifacts found on the site. There are also Bullaun Stones found on the site. These were believed to have been used to grind metal ores in. It is believed the hut was a later addition and that the site’s original first use was for bronze or iron working. The circular hut, which has been restored, has an internal diameter of 6 meters. It was believed to have been used by iron and bronze smelters. It is also around this time that the well in front of the hut was believed to have been dug (called St. Gobnait’s Well). The House or Kitchen was deemed the second station of the turas. Here is the best example of the crude crosses scratched into the stones and markers during the turas on the site. This is done on the portal stones when they enter the hut, and on some of the stones atop the wall. Since this hut has evidence of an earlier site for smelting iron and bronze, folklore ties it to an earlier being or Deity … that of Goibnui, the Smith of the Tuatha D Danann that might be whom St. Gobnait replaced. One of the holy wells stands before the entrance to the hut. This one is definitely listed as St. Gobnait’s Well. The main well, found on the right hand side of the road down the hill before one comes up to the right side of the road as one drives up to the site. This main well is also called St. Gobnait’s Holy Well, of which both were revered as a site of healing waters and magic from their early beginnings to this very date.

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The Graveyard / Church yard
The cemetery is a fabulous find just in of itself. Some of the grave markers are fantastically carved and decorated. Celtic crosses dot the landscape. There is a large sculpture of a woman believed to be a Goddess standing on an egg with a snake curled around her feet that is interpreted by some modern day Pagans as being a sculpture of the White Goddess. There is no documentation to authenticate this however. St. Gobnait’s purported grave is located here. This is marked Stations 3 and 4 on the pilgrimage stations/turas map. This consists of a small artificial prehistoric mound that looks like most other megalithic cists. On its south end is a large stone slab which is the location where many believe her body rests. Atop this stone pilgrims scratch the cross into the stone slab (Station 3). The slab atop the cist (Station 4) is also covered with scratched crosses. There are said to exist three Bullaun Stones here, the third of which may be in the station 3 stone slab.

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The Ballyvourney Church – Stations 5-9 is the medieval church that is located in the graveyard. It is one of the major stops for pilgrims doing their rounds and is a location of more cross scratchings/etchings that are made during the turas/stations/rounds. This church was built atop an earlier church that may have been the original Min Mr (a.k.a. Bairnech) church of St. Gobnait. Pilgrims begin at the northwest corner of the earlier foundation noted as station 5 and cite seven “Our Fathers”, “Hail Marys”, and “Glories” at each station. They go in a clock-wise direction circling the church saying a decade of the rosary visiting station 5 four times and all the other stations once. Station 6 can be found in the east wall window of the chancel where the altar was believed to first had rested. After prayers were made, they circle the church, re-enter, and pray at station 7 – rubbing the Sheela-na-gig carving above it which many believe is an image of St. Gobnait. Near the Sheela-Na-gig is the Flagstone of the Thief. The Flagstone of the Thief found in the graveyard and church ruins is believed to represent the tale when St. Gobnait fastened the thief and the cows he stole to the flagstone on which they were standing when they were caught, and the feet/hooves imprinted themselves upon the stone. There is a tale of this flagstone that states a robber once came to the church yard and tried to erect his own shrine here. Once Saint Gobnait learned of this, she took her bowl and threw it at the shrine, thereby destroying it. Since then, the bowl has been located along the west wall of the church and is a place where pilgrims go to touch it with a personal item used to gain healing.

Both of these particular carvings are believed to date from the 15th century C.E. From here the pilgrims would proceed to station 8 just outside of the south wall where the Chanel meets the wider nave. They would circumambulate the church again stopping at station 9 on the south side of the west wall just above the top of the steps at St. Gobnait’s Bowl. Pilgrims would reach into the bowl and touch the stone. Folklore states this bowl was used by St. Gobnait to defeat a local chief who was building near her monastery by destroying his fort. The final station is at St. Abban’s Holy Well (station 10). Here at the church each year on the 11th of February, the parish priest would bring out a 13th century wooden statue of St. Gobnait upon which pilgrims would measure a ribbon against the statue and wrap it around the figure, then take the ribbon home to use for healing magic.

No one knows for sure when the pilgrimages began at this site. Many believe early Pagan faiths came to this location for other reasons, most likely to pay tribute and make offerings at the fairy wells. Once Christianity took over the site, pilgrimages probably did not occur until after the death of St. Gobnait in the mid to late 16th century C.E. The earliest written accounts of pilgrimages to Ballyvourney date to the early 1600’s C.E. The Pope Clement VIII in 1601 granted a special indulgence of 10 years to those who came here on the feast day, went to Confession and Communion and prayed for peace among the “Christian princes”, for the expulsion of heresy, and for the exaltation of the church. Other works of art such as the poetry of Dibhidh Bruidar, the writings of Don Philip Silleabhin and Seathrn Citinn clearly demonstrate that by the late 16th century the Saint Gobnait cult was strong and thriving. Donal Cam Silleabhin during his escape from Bara came to this monastic site in 1603 C.E. with his men to pray to Saint Gobnait offering her gifts asking for her protection. In 1645 C.E. the Papal Nunico Rinuccini wrote about the Cult as well from descriptions of his visit. In 1687 C.E. Sir Richard Cox wrote about Ballyvourney as being home to the Gobnait cult and location of the holy relic that makes cures and miracles to the pilgrims there, referring to the 13th century figurine of St. Gobnait used by the parish during the feast day. Traditionally the relics of Saint Gobnait were in the care of the O’Hierlihy family. It was cared for by this family until 1843 when it was passed on to the Parish priest. Today, the figurine is in care of the local Parish priest.

It is worthy to note that a ring fort that could have had ties with the Pagan pre-Christian use of the site, was destroyed by a local farmer. Information about this incident can be found at http://corkarchaeologist.wordpress.com/destruction-of-ringforts/. There are other wells dedicated to Saint Gobnait throughout Ireland. A magical well in Dunguin exists by the school house that consists of a shrine and well. Another is in Kilgore called the “Tovar Ghobnait” that is enclosed with two pillar stones and a cross stone. It is an ancient stone with a water mark impression that holds rainwater, and is said that the bowl never goes empty. During the summer months it is also said that the wild roses growing around the site will never root if transplanted elsewhere. It was here that the fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place nearby as the location where he sought to atone for his sins at St. Gobnait’s shrine.

How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51 56′ 18″ N.

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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

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~ Tandoori House (Dublin, Ireland)

Tandoori House
* 1 All Saints Park, Raheny, Dublin, Ireland * Open 17:00 – 23:30 * http://www.tandoorihousetakeaway.com/ *

After a long drive across Ireland, we ‘couldn’t be bothered’ about cooking up a meal, so decided to see what we could find online for delivery in our area. We found this little gem with excellent service, fast delivery, delicious food, and affordable selections. Indian food at its finest. Much enjoyed and we were quite satisfied. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Experienced 12/20/2013 (Yelp Review)

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Cork Butter Museum

Cork Butter Museum
Cork Butter Museum

Cork Butter Museum
O’ Connell Square, Shandon, Cork, Ireland
+353 (0) 21 4300600 * www.corkbutter.museum

One of the most intriguing and interesting museums in Cork is the Butter Museum. My fiancee was quick to take me up the hill to this unsual museum that covers the history of Ireland’s most important food export and the world’s largest butter market. It’s definitely worth a gander and is enriching with the history of farming, commerce, and finance in Ireland. It doesn’t just focus on the food culture of early Ireland, but also covers the growth of Cork as a food trade center. The history of butter making is covered with a feature audio-visual presentation on Irish Butter, as well as a plethera of artifacts throughout history used in butter and food production. It can be done in about an hour, and only will cost you about 4 Euros to wander about. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

Butter Churn
Butter Churn

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Ballymacdermot court tomb

Ballymacdermot Court Tomb
County Armagh, Northern Ireland: “This fine court tomb on the south slope of Ballymacdermot Mountain dates from about 3500 BCE. It has three separate burial chambers in a gallery which was entered from the forecourt – hence the name. Funeral rites may have been performed in the forecourt before the bones or ashes of the dead were placed inside. When the site was excavated in 1962 a few fragments of cremated bone, probably human, were found in the two larger chambers. In the gallery, on the right side, you can see projecting stones (corbels) that support the roof. In 1816, John Bell of Killevy Castle reported in the Newry Magazine that he and the local landowner Johnathon Seaver – whose name is perpetuated in Seavers Road just south of here – had opened the tomb and found an urn containing pulverized bone. A thoroughly modern encounter took place in WWII when the tomb withstood an assault by an American tank which accidentally bumped into it during maneuvers. Despite these happenings, Ballymacdermot remains one of the finest best preserved court tombs in Armagh” ~ sign at Ballymacdermot tomb.

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Loughcrew Passage Tomb

Sliabh na Caill (Mountain of the Hag), also known as Lough crew, is a infamous passage tomb is one of the four main passage tombs in Ireland next to Br na Binne, Carrowkeel and Carrowmore dating to roughly 3,300 BCE. The site consists of cruciform chambers covered by a mound structure. Within, and on the outside of kerbstones are a unique style of megalithic petroglyphs including circles, spirals, lozenge shapes, leaf shapes, radiating lines. Site has three parts – two of which are on hill tops, Carnbane East and Carnbane West, and the less preserved Patrickstown. Mythology states that it was created by a giant hag who while striding across the land, dropped her cargo of large stones from her apron as she was traveling to her home at Slieve Gullion. Local green gritstone is soft enough to carve making up the orthostats and structural stones of the monuments. In 1980, the archaeologist Martin Brennan discovered that Cairn T in Carnbane East was constructed to receive the rising sun on the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes, shining down the passage and illuminating the rock art on the back stone. There are also alignments between Cairn L at Lough Crew, Knowth, and Dowth.

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Dn Laoghaire, Ireland

Dn Laoghaire
* Ireland *

A suburban sea-side town in Country Dublin that is properly known as Dublin’s Port for it is a central gateway for ferries travelling to Dublin especially since it is only 12 kilometers south of the city centre. Historically it was a major port of entry from Great Britain and therefore from 1821-1921 was called “Kingstown”. The town was named after the 5th century High King of Ireland Legaire mac Nill combined with the Irish word for “fort” (Dn) after the fortifications that lined up this coast in the past. The current town dates from 1820 atop an earlier village located around where the Purty Kitchen pub is currently located originally boasting of a coffee shop, a salt mine, and a small cove atop a craggy, rocky pasture overlooking the sea. After the 1807 tragedy of the catastrophic loss of troopships, Prince of Wales, and the Rochdale being driven upon the rocks between here and Blackrock estimating a loss of over 400 lives – a re-vitalization of the area was set into effect making it a new harbour with safer constructs put into place creating the West Pier when it took on the name of Kingstown until Ireland became a free state. By 1844 a “Atmospheric Train” was constructed to connect Kingstown to the Dalkey. A railway later replaced the train connecting Dublin and transforming the area to a seaside resort. After the British 59th Division marched up the road to Dublin to crush the Easter Rising, road changes took place connecting the village to its surrounding area. During World War II, stray German bombs struck the area. Its a popular little village and seaside shopping center frequented by many from Dublin. It is also the main ferry transportation hub from the UK to Dublin directly. Dn Laoghaire was its own borough and was the only town in Ireland to have its own Vocational Educational Committee even though its part of the Greater Dublin region.

Its East Pier is aligned along one of Ireland’s largest harbours and is where the ferry route to the UK is based. The piers are made of granite and is a popular location for people to visit, walk, and contemplate the universe. This was also the setting for the movie “Michael Collins” (1996). This harbour took over 42 years to build. The obelisk at the old ferry port terminal is the monument commemorating this feat.

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Hill of Uisneach

The Hill of Uisneach / Cnoc Uisnigh or Ushnagh, in the heart of County Westmeath, is a 182 meter high sacred hill that was once considered to be the absolute center of Ireland. Located along the northern side of R390, and 8 kilometers east of Ballymore, next to the village of Loughanavally – it is a pivotal connection of four adjacent townlands – Ushnagh Hill, Mweelra, Rathnew, and Kellybrook; and is the meeting point of the provincial borders of Leinster, Munster, Connacht, Ulster and Midhe. (Midhe was the once separate 5th province) and by so being, has been called the “omphalos” or “mystical navel of Ireland” atop which rests the Cat stone, the Ail na Mreann or “stone of divisions”. (The actual geographic center of Ireland is near the western shore of Lough Ree to the west). The site was seen as the tromping grounds of the tutelary Goddess riu who is seen as the personification of Ireland and is where she legendarily met the invading Milesians and the poet Amergin, after much debate, agreed to give the country her name. The site was most famous for the lighting of the Beltane fires and Druidic ceremonies, of which has been reconstructed with Irelands infamous Festival of Fires Celebration. According to the Lebor Gabla renn (Book of the Takings of Ireland) the first fire was lit here by the Nemedian Druid Mide and ever since, a fire was lit here during the feast of Beltane which supposedly can be seen from the Hill of Tara. According to legend, when those at Tara saw the fires lit at Uisneach, they would light the fires on Tara. According to the Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that the stones of Stonehenge were brought to Britain from the Hill of Uisneach. Some say the hill is also Riba or Raiba that was identified by Ptolemy (Ptolemaeus), the Egyptian/Greek astronomer when he wrote Geographia in 140 C.E. The site is rather large, spread out over two square kilometers including holy wells, wells, enclosures, barrows, megalithic tomb, and two ancient roads.

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Fresh (Dublin)

Fresh

* 1 Crown Alley * Temple Bar * Dublin, Ireland * 2 * phone: (01) 671 8423 * http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fresh-Temple-Bar/ *

One of Dublin’s little hotspots for fashion, club wear, and alternative garb … “Fresh” is in the heart of Temple Bar along Crown Alley, and boasts the best of alternative brands for vintage, punk, gothic, mod, street, rock, metal, and raver clothing, accessories, and fashion. Open from 11-6 mondays through saturdays, and sundays from 1 to 5. Great shop, great selection, and for Dublin, one of its finest. Lots of eye candy in the shop and good offers.

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The Meeting Place Statue, a.k.a. “The Hags with the Bags” (Dublin)

The Meeting Place Statue ~ aka The Hags with the Bags
* Lower Liffey Street * (near Ha’penny Bridge) * Dublin, Ireland *

Just across the Ha’penny Bridge, one will find the statue of two women engaged in conversation with shopping bags at their feet. This one is nicknamed “The Hags with the Bags” but is officially called “The Meeting Place Statue”. On one of the bags is written “Arnotts”. This is located along Lower Liffey Street. It was sculpted by Jakki McKenna in 1988. It was designed to reflect everyday life in Dublin’s marketplace to which it greets people to one of the area’s most popular shopping areas on Henry & Jervis streets, just after one crosses the Ha’penny bridge from Temple Bar.


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Sean O’ Casey Bridge (Dublin, Ireland)

Sean O' Casey Bridge

Sean O’ Casey Bridge
* Dublin, Ireland *

One of the best bridges to view the Jeanie Johnson from … The “Sean O’ Casey” (a.k.a. Droichead Shein U Chathasaigh) spans the River Liffey approximately 100 meters as a pedestrian swing bridge with two balanced cantilever arms to connect the City Quay to the North Wall Quay in the Grand Canal Docks area and the IFSC. It was built in 2005 by Cyril O’Neill and O’Connor Sutton Cronin Engineers as part of the large urban renewal scheme by the Dublin Docklands Authority to rejuvenate the area. It memorializes Sen O’Casey (18801964), a famous Irish playwright and member of the Irish Citizens Army who used to live in the North Wall area.

Sean O' Casey Bridge

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The CHQ Building (Dublin, Ireland)

The CHQ Building

The CHQ Building
* River Liffey * Dublin, Ireland * http://www.chq.ie/ *

A shopping center with future promise, as many of the stores are empty as they stand today. But big names like Starbucks, Louis Copeland and Sons, Fran & Jane, Carphone Warehouse, and Pilates IFSC have set up shop within. Historically the building was known as “Stack A” as a tobacco store with vaults below to store wine and was designed by the infamous engineer Scot John Rennie. It is a protected building under the Planning Acts, steeped with local history, and traditionally known as the “Banquet Hall” as it was used for the Crimean War banquet in the mid-nineteenth century which gave it its popularity.

The CHQ Building

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The Jeanie Johnson Museum Tour (Dublin, Ireland)

Jeannie Johnson Tall Sailing Ship & Museum

Jeannie Johnson Tall Sailing Ship & Museum
Dublin, Ireland

Sitting in the Harbour of the River Liffey, just outside the CHQ Building is the replica of the infamous “Jeanie Johnston” ~ the three masted barque built in 1847 by John Munn that brought settlers over to the New World during the great Irish Famine. This replica was completed in 2002 and now sits primarily as a onboard history museum with night activities and events. The replica was designed by former Chief Naval Architect Fred Walker with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich England. She is originally established as a ocean-going sail training vessel at sea and then in port coverts to a living history museum over the 19th century emigration between Ireland and the Americas. For 8 Euro or less, a guided tour takes you to her upper and lower decks giving a full narrated history of her chronology, feats, and sorrows. The main cabin demonstrates a picturesque view of what life was like onboard with numerous wax figures of her historic passengers. Overall the tour was masterfully done and a wonderful piece of Dublin’s maritime history. A must visit to any Irish tourist. Rating: 5 stars out of 5 by Leaf McGowan

Jeannie Johnson Tall Sailing Ship & Museum

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The Ferocious Mingle Market (Dublin, Ireland)

The Ferocious Mingle Market
The Ferocious Mingle Market

The Ferocious Mingle Market
* Thursdays to Sundays * 72 Thomas Street * Dublin 8 * Ireland * (086) 0282344 * Hours: Thu-Sun 11:00 – 18:00 * http://www.facebook.com/mingle.mkt * http://www.thejosiebaggleycompany.com/pages/FerociousMingleMarket-info.htm *

A great little odd and bizarre market open every thursday to sunday in the heart of Dublin’s Medieval district. Hidden behind a candy store is a passage back into time, a time of Steampunk visions and vintage affair. Live music sounds out every saturday and sunday with a cafe serving up a mean coffee and cake. Antiques, collectibles, art, vintage fashions, and oddities await. Much of the market takes on a “Steampunk” ambiance and flavor with an assortment of steampunk collections, gifts, and offerings. Every Sunday is fancy dress with costumes galore. After my first visit I was inspired to believe it would soon become a regular hangout! I vended the event once and had a splendid time (even though didn’t make much it was a great event). Every Second sunday it branches out to the Dublin Food Co-op for fancy dress goodness. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. [rating:5] ~ Leaf McGowan: visited 3/4/12, 3/24/12.

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Modern Statue of Queen Maedbh (Dublin)


Modern Statue of Queen Maedbh

* Burlington Road, Dublin, Ireland *

The Modern Statue of Queen Maedbh / Maedhbh / Maeve standing strong and naked while holding a bull’s head. Located on Burlington Road, Dublin, Ireland. Photo take June 6, 2012. The statue was presented in 2004, and sculpted by Patrick O’Reilly. It depicts a modern re-telling of Queen Maeve, representing the power & equality of Celtic women, told by its viewers as a symbol of brutality, kitch, polyandry, and obsession of a power hungry queen. As a ruler of both mortals and the legendary fae, she was a female ruler in Irish History, dominating over western Ireland (Connacht) around the 1st century B.C.E. Strong, powerful, beautiful, and passionate about love and war. She was legendary for her large armies and rumored to have slept with many of her commanders, motivating them for her tasks at hand, and using them at her will. This statue was supposedly created to symbolize this power of her, represented by her large giant fomorian-like stature, naked, with a verocious sexual appetite. Legend has it that she could sleep with over 30 men a day. Her holding the head of a bull in the right hand represents her main myth, the Cattle Raid of Cooley. As her husband owned a bull of superior strength, that outranked her fortune. She couldn’t have that, so as she needed one to compete, she went to war to take the best bull known in Ireland. “The bull of Ulster”. The spear represents her as a warrior, the bird her freedom as well as her enchantment. It is one of Dublin’s little most known statues down a street not often frequented by the public.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews and/or research articles are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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‘Freeflow’ (2006), by Rachel Joynt


* Dublin, Ireland *

Hidden in the walkway from the Jeanie Johnson to the Famine Memorial are embedded internally lit glass cobbles with watery shades of green and blue with artistic shells, fish, and other critters swimming in what she calls “Freeflow”. The art piece was commissioned by the Dublin Docklands Authority in 2006 from Irish sculptor Rachel Joynt and spreads along the North quays for a kilometer from Custom House Quay to the North Wall. She is also the artist known for “Perpetual Motion” (1995), Mothership (1999), and the giant cast bronze/steel sea urchin at Dun Laoghaire.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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