Category Archives: Europe

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor

One of the most infamous landmarks of Glastonbury is the Tor. It is extremely popular from the Arthurian legends. The Tor is a tall hill that ascends over 158 meters from Glastonbury and hosts panoramic views of the English countryside, viewing the three counties of Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. During the legendary Isles of Avalon, this would have been the highest point on the isles. Geologically the Tor rises from Lower lias clays and limestones from the Middle and Upper Lias to a deposit of hard midford sand at the cap 521 feet and called the “Tor Burr”. The Tor has a conical shape made up of horizontal bands of limestone, clays, and capped with sandstone. As erosional forces dug away with limestone and clays, the sandstone lasts resisting erosion creating steep slopes. Historically, this Tor would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels, but as the levels were drained over the ages for agriculture and other uses, it is now a hill blended ito the landscape. The terraces on the slopes date to Medieval times where the hillside was one of the few dry locations where locals could farm and graze animals. The Tor is believed to have been a sacred site of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years and still used today. It is believed to be a gateway to the Otherworld. Lithics and other artifacts show presence of humans here for thousands of years.

It was said that Joseph of Arimathea in 63 C.E. founded a settlement here. Archaeologically the earliest found was a 6th century settlement, the earliest found in Glastonbury and many believe was the first Christian community in the area founded by Joseph. Evidence from the 6th century was found during excavations of 1964-1966 that exposed occupation during this time, and a second phase of occupation from 900-1100 C.E. by the finding of a head of a cross that were probably monks cells cut into the rock on the summit, a tradition of a monastic site on the Tor was confirmed by the 1243 charter granting permission for a fair at the Monastery of St. Michael at this location.

During the 8th century, the Great Abbey was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century and then rebuilt becoming the wealthiest abbey in Britain, but destroyed in 1539 by the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

In the 13th century it is said the first Church on the Tor to be built was St. Michael’s Church in the charter of 1243 C.E.

These ruins are what you see today the most notable part of which is St. Michael’s Tower. These ruins are from the 2nd church replacing the original that was destroyed in the 1275 C.E. earthquake. This second church lasted until 1539 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The earliest legend after Joseph of Arimeathea is the mid-thirteenth century story of St. Patrick coming from Ireland and becoming the leader of the hermits here. He was said to have discovered an ancient Oratory in ruins atop the Tor after climbing through dense woods.

In the historic era, this is the location where Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury, and some of his monks were hung.

    “Glastonbury Tor, one of the most famous and sacred landmarks in the West Country. From the summit at 158 metres, you can get amazing views over three counties – Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. What is the tor? “Tor” is a West Country word of Celtic origin meaning hill. The conical shape of Glastonbury Tor is natural – due to its rocks. It is made up of horizontal bands of clays and limestone with a cap of hard sandstone. The sandstone resists erosion, but the clays and limestone have worn away, resulting in the steep slopes. A historic landscape: Before modern drainage, the tor in winter would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels. The terraces on the slopes date back to medieval times when the hillside was one of the few dry places where people could grow crops and graze animals. A place of pilgrimage: The tor has been a place of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years. Many thousands of people still visit each year, some for its links with religion, legends and beliefs, and others because it is such a renowned landmark. History of the Tower: on the summit is St. Michael’s Tower, part of a 14th century church. It was built to replace a previous church which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1275. The second church lasted until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. At this time, the tor was the scene of the hanging of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury. The Tor was the site of a 6th century settlement, the earliest yet found in Glastonbury. Some believe this was the first Christian community in the area, said to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea in AD 63. 8th Century: The great Abbey: A stone church was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century. It was rebuilt and became one of the wealthiest abbeys in Britain, but was destroyed in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 13th century: A church on the tor – The first written record on St. Michael’s Church on the tor is in a charter of 1243. The building was destroyed in an earthquake in 1275. 14th century- St. Michael’s Tower – in the 14th century, a new church was built on the tor, which survived until the Dissolution. St. Michael’s tower is all that remains. Glastonbury Tor rises from the Lower lias clays and limestones through the Middle and Upper Lias to a deposit of hard midford sand on the cap, 521 ft. high known locally as Tor Burr. This is more resistant to erosion than the lower levels making the slopes steep and unstable. These steep sculptured slopes, rising dramatically from the isle of Avalon in the flat somerset levels, have encouraged much speculation about the origin of the Tor in legend. The earliest reference is a mid-thirteenth century story of St. Patrick’s return from Ireland in which he became a leader of hermits at glastonbury and discovered an ancient ruined oratory on the summit after climbing through a dense wood, scattered fines of prehistoric, roman, and later objects suggest the Tor was always used by man, but evidence for actual occupation from the 6th AD was uncovered in the excavations of 1964-6, a second phase of occupation between 900-1100 was distinguished by the head of a cross and what were probably Christian monk’s cells cut into the rock on the summit, the tradition of a monastic site on the Tor is confirmed by a charter of 1243 granting permission for a fair at the monastery of St. Michael there. The present tower though later modified, is essentially 15th century and is associated with the second of two major churches which stood on the summit. The second one was probably built after the destructive earthquake of 1275. The monastic church of St. Michael closely associated with the Great Abbey in the town below fell into ruin after the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 when Richard WHiting the last abbot of Glastonbury was hanged on the Tor.” ~ information signs on the Tor, Glastonbury, England.

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Beckery Chapel, Hill, and Bride’s Mound (Glastonbury)

Beckery Hill and Chapel
https://historysshadow.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/beckery-chapel-monasticism-and-the-legend-of-king-arthur/

During my 2011 and 2012 trips to Glastonbury I spent some time wandering around the remains, ruins, and legends of the Beckery Chapel. It is the legendary tromping grounds of King Arthur. Several years ago, Archaeologists found seven skeletons with dates of 5th-6th century C.E. at the same location that in the 1960’s exposed over 50 other human bodies. It is now believed to be the monastic cemetery of the Glastonbury Abbey and town. Whether or not King Arthur resided here during his legend or not, it is a impressive historical cache. Of course it wasn’t until Geoffrey of Monmouth’s publications claims of King Arthur that brought attention to this place since the mid-12th century, and scholars believe it was hoaxed by the local monks to attract tourism dollars, attention, and a come-back to the church. England saw the ruling Angevin kings claiming descent off of Arthur, and many of England’s rulers claimed to be his true heir. The revelations of the early monasticism of Glastonbury and that which surrounds King Arthur made it a central place in the history of Christianity in England for over 1500 years. It is this hill that is believed to be the central location of the Arthurian legends. This is where Joseph of Arimathea disembarked after his journey from the Holy Land, planted his staff into the ground and gave birth to the legend of the Glastonbury Thorn. His staff turned into this thorn species, sprouting from his staff, and the name of the hill adapted to cover this story as “Wirral Hill” from etymology of when Joseph and his group climbed the hill they were all “weary” and therefore birthed the name “Wearyall”, or so the legend goes. As the thorn is said to have originated from the Middle East, it is believed to been spread to the area from a Crusader, and/or his staff made of its wood. For many years this thorn was celebrated atop Wearyall Hill. During the dissolution of the Abbeys, and destruction of Glastonbury Abbey, the mythos was moved to this chapel and hill. The most revered version of the thorn was re-planted atop the hill during the 1951 Festival of Britain, but in December of 2010, someone decapitated the holy thorn causing a local tragedy and killing the plant. A replacement met the same fate as did two other saplings planted in town destroyed. the only remaining are on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey and St. John’s Church. “Beckery” is said by some to mean “Little Ireland” to refer to the monks crossing the sea from Ireland to be at Beckery and the Abbey when St. Patrick was the Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey. Others say “Beckery” referred to the site as a Bee Keeper’s Island. Other myths claim the area was once a site of a Druidic Women’s College, but no archaeology exists to support these legends. Many believe the site was pledged to the Irish Saint Bridgid who supposedly visited the site in 488 C.E. to the community and chapel that existed there. It combined Celtic Paganism with Christianity. To those in Glastonbury, Brighid is called “Bride” and is central to the old settlement on Bride’s Mound. The name of Beckery is first recorded in a charter dated 670 C.E. by the Saxon King Cenwealdh when he gave the site to Glastonbury Abbey. References to “Bride’s Mound” seem relatively modern being labelled sometime around the excavations thoughthe area has been called Bride’s Hill for some time and Bride’s Hay or Bridget’s Island. A 1628 entry in the rental of the Cavendish estates called it “Bridhill” ‘neare Backrey mill”. This is the old Baily’s building at Bride’s Mill. 1799 sale called it “Bride’s Hill in the Occupation of Robert Bath.”

In the Arthurian Legends, the Grail Romance “Prose perceval” and “y seint Grael” – the High History of the Holy Grail had claims to have been written here with the stories archived in the Glastonbury Abbey’s Library. It describes a hermit spread out on the altar with the Virgin Mary and the Devil fighting for his soul. It is believed John of Glastonbury – one of Arthur’s chroniclers having access to the High History inspired him to locate the chapel at Beckery whose doors were guarded by two hands holding flaming swords and is where Mary gave Arthur a crystal cross. The Hill is supposed to be the location where the knight Bedivere casts Excalibur back into the waters after King Arthur is wounded during the final battle and is believed to be the bridge over the River Brue at this hill and is called “Pomparles”. It is also the chapel where King Arthur received a vision of Mary Magdelene and the baby Jesus. Were these waters Bride’s Sluice or Well? or the lost Blue Spring?

The site has shown use since Neolithic times through the Iron Age and the Roman period.The Chapel is a holy shrine dating over 1500 years of age to late Roman or early Saxon occupation of the site. The site was a small island off of Glastonbury surrounded by wetlands and cut off from the general villagers. There were rudimentary buildings made of wattle and daub at the time. There were no original stone buildings. The site is believed to have been abandoned after Vikings invaded in the 9th century during their attack of Somerset. It was in 789 C.E. that the Vikings began attacking England. The site fell in disuse and slowly dissolved into agricultural use, the ruins of the chapel were visible until the late 1790s. There is suggestion that the land may have continued to be used as a shrine since prehistoric times, Christian sites built atop old Pagan sites. William of Malmesbury wrote 1129 C.E. an Anglo-Saxon charter of 670 including Beckery island as one of the seven islands granted to Glastonbury Abbey by the Saxon King Cenwealth – the seven islands were the Isles of Avalon, Beckery, Godney, Martinsea, Meare, Panborough, and Nyland. Papal harter of 1168 claimed Beckery as the first of the islands of the the Glastonbury Abbey Estates. It is here that it was believed that St. Bridget visited in 488 C.E. from Ireland and stayed for several years on the island of “Beokery” where there was a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene that was later re-dedicated to St. Bridget.

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Blue Spring or Bride’s Well (Glastonbury)

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Blue Spring or Bride’s Well
~ Glastonbury, England ~

There is not much known about this Spring as all I heard about it was from locals and that it was one of many springs welling up from the caverns underneath the Glastonbury Tor. Some pointed in the direction of the White Spring and the Red Spring (Chalice Well). Some say it is the the Red Spring before Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail to the Chalice Well turning it Red. Others claim it to be the forgotten (and long vanished) Bride’s Well at Beckery Chapel and Hill. That would be the location I would go with.

In the Arthurian Legends, the Grail Romance “Prose perceval” and “y seint Grael” – the High History of the Holy Grail had claims to have been written here with the stories archived in the Glastonbury Abbey’s Library. It describes a hermit spread out on the altar with the Virgin Mary and the Devil fighting for his soul. It is believed John of Glastonbury – one of Arthur’s chroniclers having access to the High History inspired him to locate the chapel at Beckery whose doors were guarded by two hands holding flaming swords and is where Mary gave Arthur a crystal cross. The Hill is supposed to be the location where the knight Bedivere casts Excalibur back into the waters after King Arthur is wounded during the final battle and is believed to be the bridge over the River Brue at this hill and is called “Pomparles”. It is also the chapel where King Arthur received a vision of Mary Magdelene and the baby Jesus. Were these waters Bride’s Sluice or Well? or the lost Blue Spring?

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Bride’s Well at Beckery

The site has shown use since Neolithic times through the Iron Age and the Roman period. The Chapel is a holy shrine dating over 1500 years of age to late Roman or early Saxon occupation of the site. The site was a small island off of Glastonbury surrounded by wetlands and cut off from the general villagers. There were rudimentary buildings made of wattle and daub at the time. There were no original stone buildings. The site is believed to have been abandoned after Vikings invaded in the 9th century during their attack of Somerset. It was in 789 C.E. that the Vikings began attacking England. The site fell in disuse and slowly dissolved into agricultural use, the ruins of the chapel were visible until the late 1790s. There is suggestion that the land may have continued to be used as a shrine since prehistoric times, Christian sites built atop old Pagan sites. William of Malmesbury wrote 1129 C.E. an Anglo-Saxon charter of 670 including Beckery island as one of the seven islands granted to Glastonbury Abbey by the Saxon King Cenwealth – the seven islands were the Isles of Avalon, Beckery, Godney, Martinsea, Meare, Panborough, and Nyland. Papal harter of 1168 claimed Beckery as the first of the islands of the the Glastonbury Abbey Estates. It is here that it was believed that St. Bridget visited in 488 C.E. from Ireland and stayed for several years on the island of “Beokery” where there was a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene that was later re-dedicated to St. Bridget.

In the 1920’s a Pilgrimage route was created by Alice Buckton from Benedict Street and Porchestall Drove through what is now called “Friend’s Land” where they would stop to hang “clooties” or wishing rags on a wishing tree or thorn tree near the sluice known as “lost Bride’s Well” seeking blessings or healing before going up Bride’s Mound. This is also where it is purported that Dr. John Goodchild in 1897 received a vision to bury a blue bowl that he got in Bordighera, Italy as soon as possible after his father’s death. He placed it in the pond by this sluice near Bride’s Mound as instructed by his omen. He pilgrimaged to this lost well every year from 1899 to 1906 (minus 1905). In 1906, Janet and Christine Allen found the bowl in the pond but replaced it, then that October Kitty Tudor Pole removed it and took it to a family shrine in Bristol. The bowl was returned to Glastonbury and is protected by the Trustees of the Chalice Well. At Bride’s Mound there is a stone marker showing where the blue bowl was found but it is unknown if this is the exact location where the pond and sluice (lost Bride’s Well or Blue Spring) was.

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Some claim that the Blue Spring got its name “Blue” from the Blue Bowl that once existed there.

More information:

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. Searched for on 8/1/2011, 6/14/2012 and couldn’t be found. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England. June 14, 2012: Exploring from Glastonbury to Dundon Beacon, England. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. More info about the Blue Spring: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3414 & Beckery Hill/Chapel http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3416
(expected publication July 2012). More info on the UK: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=890. More information about Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403
(expected publication July 2012).
For more information visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

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Chalice Well

Chalice Well
~ Glastonbury, England * http://www.chalicewell.org.uk/index.cfm/glastonbury/ ~

Enter in the legends of King Arthur and the Holy Grail thou shalt enter the Chalice Well. It is one of the most infamous holy wells found in Britain and Europe. It is a classic example of a magical spring full of legends and lore surrounding it. It is located at the base of Glastonbury Tor. Its chalybeate waters are legendary and known to flow ceaselessly at a steady rate and temperature that is said to never vary. Many believe its the representation of the blood of Christ that miraculously sprang forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the Last Supper (The Holy Grail). To Pagans, it is the blood spring of the Earth Mother, the essence of all life, and her unbounded life force. Some say the spring evokes peace, love, and the essence of all life. The Lion’s Head fountain is where visitors can drink of the water and fill up bottles to take home with them. The gift shop sells empty bottles for visitors to do this. The Red Spring is portrayed as a symbol of the feminine aspect of Deity while the Tor is symbolized as the male aspect of Deity. The Blade and the Chalice. The Tower and the Well.

The well is also called the Red Spring or Blood Spring as it displays a reddish hue from the ferrous oxide oxidized at the surface. The reddish color is said to represent the rusting nails of the Cross that Jesus died on. The Well springs out 25,000 gallons of warm water a day and is said to have never failed even during times of drought. Legend has it the waters possess healing powers. The Chalice Well Trust maintains and protects the Spring, established in 1959 by Wellesley Tudor Pole preserving the space for pilgrims to enjoy the magical spring. The Spring and its buildings are labeled Grade 1 Listed Building in England Preservation. The Well was researched by the Exeter University School in 2009. They determined the well is fed by a deep aquifer in the lower levels of the Pennard Sands.

There is archaeological evidence on and around the Spring of lithics, pottery, and artifacts dating to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic Age. There is a shard of pottery dating to the Iron Age. Other shards date to Roman and Medieval Times. It is estimated that this site has been used for over 2000 years.

A garden has been established around the Spring centered around spirituality, meditation, and tranquility. Many events take place here annually. The major events are World Peace Day, Michaelmass, Samhain, Summer Solstice, and Winter Solstice. The Chalice Well charges admission to enter the gardens and to visit the well. A free outpouring is just outside the fence. Just to the East is another natural spring called the White Spring, possessing colorless waters originating from a shallow aquifer. This has been built into a temple. There is no charge to visit the White Spring.

bird @ Chalice Well, Glastonbury, England. June 14, 2012: Exploring from Glastonbury to Dundon Beacon, England. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. More info on the Chalice Well: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3407
(expected publication July 2012). More info on the UK: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=890. More information about Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403
(expected publication July 2012).
For more information visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

Christian Legend:
Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail (the cup that Christ used at the last supper to give his servants wine) to England and hid the cup here. When he did the waters were said to have turned red. It is said that Glastonbury is King Arthur’s tromping grounds. Over the well is the well cover for the Chalice Well that was designed as it was by church architect and Archaeologist Frederick Bligh Bond gifted to the gardens after the Great War in 1919. The two interlocking circles create the symbol of the Vesica Piscis and within the well lid design is a spear or sword bisecting these two circles, perhaps referencing Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur who is believed to be buried at Glastonbury Abbey. Foliage on it represents the Glastonbury Thorn. William of Malmesbury who first recorded the well described the well waters gushing as sometimes red and sometimes blue. Some say this is the legendary Blue Spring that has vanished and the Red Spring was the Blue Spring before Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail here turning it Red.

Local Lore:
The waters of the well is attributed to human blood – because the waters are red, the water coagulates as does hemoglobin, and the waters are warm. The Well is also a symbol and inspiration for the Eye of Elena in Sarah J Mass’ Throne of Glass series and featured in the Kingdom of Mei series as Christianity being a cyclical cataclysm.

Cornish, Welsh, and Irish Mythology:
Wells are seen as gateways to the spirit world or Other World, overlapping the inner and out worlds.

Islamic Mythology:
Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad in his commentary on the Quran considered the possibility that the story of the Seven Sleepers (from surah 18, Al-Kahf, “The Cave”) was based on the earlier legend of Joseph of Arimathea having come to Glastonbury, with the cave being a metaphor for England, though he considered the Catacombs of Rome a more likely source of the legend. (wikipedia)

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011, 6/14/12. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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Glastonbury

Glastonbury, England

Oh beautiful yet bizarre Glastonbury. I’ve been in and out of this village on backpacking trips since 2008 and haven’t been back since 2013. Glastonbury is a small village and civil parish located in Somerset England at the dry end of the low-lying Somerset levels 23 miles south of Bristol. The 2011 census stated it had a population of 8,932. The town has been inhabited since Neolithic times and there are evidence of timber trackways such as “Sweet Track” laying history in the area. The Glastonbury Lake Village was a bustling Iron Age Village located right next to the River Brue and Sharpham Park 2 miles to the west dating to the Bronze Age. Glastonbury was home to the Glastonbury Abbey that controlled the tow for 700 years. Many historic structures remain in the town from the Tribunal, George Hotel, Pilgrim’s Inn, Somerset Rural Life Museum, and the Church of St. John the Baptist.

Glastonbury was known as a center for commerce especially during the Middle Ages. This enabled the construction of the Market Cross, Glastonbury Canal, and the Glastonbury & Street railway station. Today it is considered a New Age community attracting spiritual people from all walks of life especially within the New Age Movement and Neo-Paganism much attracted to the legends of King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail, and Glastonbury Tor.

Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea stuck his staff into the ground and it mysteriously blossomed into the Glastonbury Thorn. There is legend of a landscape zodiac surrounding the town although no evidence of this exists. It is home to the Glastonbury Festival held in the neighboring village of Pilton that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

During the 7th millenium B.C.E. Glastonbury was inundated by floods caused by sea level rise that caused Mesolithic peoples to occupy seasonal camps on higher grounds in the area. Archaeological evidence of dated flints have helped archaeologists date occupation from the Mesolithic and Neolithic of the area. The Neolithic inhabitants exploited the reed swamps for the natural resources constructing wooden trackways through the area – “Sweet Track” trackway located to the west of Glastonbury dates to being built around 3806 BCE according to dendrochronology and is one of the oldest engineered roads in Europe. It was the oldest until the 2009 discovery of a 6000 year old trackway in Belmarsh Prison. The road extended across the marsh between the then island at Westhay and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick for approximately 2000 meters and was part of a network of tracks once crossing the Somerset Levels. It was built of crossed poles of ash, oak, and lime driven into the waterlogged soil to create a walkway of oak planks laid end-to-end and was built along the route of an earlier track known as the “Post Track” dating from 3838 BCE.

The Lake Village was built around 300 BCE and had around 100 inhabitants from 5-7 groups of houses each for an extended family with sheds, barns, and dwellings made of hazel and willow covered with reeds surrounded by a wooden palisade. The Village was occupied until the Roman period ca. 100 C.E. after which it was abandoned due to water level rise as it was built on a morass artificial foundation of timber filled with brushwood, bracken, clay, and rubble.

This evolved into the settlement that came to be called “Glastonbury” around the 7-8th century as “Glestingaburg” referring to Anglo-Saxon names for a person or kindred group settled in a fortified place. It is believed the founder of the town was named Glast, a descendant of Cunedda. There is reference to it being first called Ineswitrin or Ynys Witrin according to William of Malmesbury’s “De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie”. Centwine was the first Saxon patron of the Glastobury Abbey 676-685 C.E.

Legend has it that Saint Collen came to Glastonbury as one of the first hermits to settle on the Tor before the Abbey was built by Saint Patrick. Collen had struggles with the local faeries living in the area and was summoned by Gwyn ap Nudd at the summit of the Tor upon arriving entered a hovering mansion and King Gwyn’s armies, courtiers, and palace folk who attempted to lure him into the Otherworld. Collen dispersed the apparitions with holy water. According to Druidic mythology, this palace was made of glass and was able to receive the spirits of the dead who depart from the Tor, a passageway to the Otherworlds. This was why the chapel then church of Saint Michael was built on the Tor as Saint Michael was the chief patron against diabolic attacks which the monks believed the Faerie King Gwyn caused. The Tor was named after this palace of glass for the dead.

By the Middle Ages the town was largely dependent on the Abbey but also became a center for the Wool Trade until the 18th century. A Canal was built for trading connecting the Abbey to the River Brue. The dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 saw the execution of the remaining Abbot and his monks.

The town was revived in 1705 C.E. being granted a charter of incorporation and was dependent on an economy of trade relying on the drainage of the surrounding moors, an opening of the Glastonbury Canal and became a local parish part of the hundred of the Glaston Twelve Hides until the 1730’s when it became a borough of its own. By the 19th century it had many troubles caused from the Glastonbury Canal drainage and competition from the new railways causing a dip in trade and depression set in its economy. The Canal was closed in 1854 and dismantled, being replaced the same year by a railway. A wharf was built for the railway and used until 1936 when it was filled in. the Main line to Glastonbury closed in 1966. Industrial production of woollen slippers, sheepskins, boots, and shoes became the mainstay but saw folding manufacture in 1993 converting to form Clarks Village – a purpose-built factory outlet. In the 19th-20th century tourism became the mainstay accompanying the rise in antiquarianism associating the Abbey and mysticism of the town.

Many Archaeologists believe that the Monks of the local Abbey connected the fables of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, and Joseph of Arimathea with Glastonbury to meet the challenges of a financial crisis caused by a devastating fire burning the Abbey. This was perpetuated by writing of historians such as William of Malmesbury, Venerable Bede, Gerald of Wales, and Geoffrey of Monmouth. In 1191 the Abbey’s monks claimed to have found the graves of King Arthur and Guinevere to the south of the Lady Chapel of the Abbey Church. The remains were later moved and were lost during the Reformation. In modern times this led to the four year study by Archaeologists stated “we didn’t claim to disprove the legendary associations, or would we wish to” and “that doesn’t dispel the Arthurian legend, it just means the pit excavated (where Arthur is said to be buried) he rather over-claimed.” It is however believed a hoax to substantiate the antiquity of Glastonbury’s foundation and increase its renown. The Glastonbury Zodiac came from a 1934 artist rendering by Katherine Maltwood suggesting the landscape formed a map of the stars on a gigantic scale formed by features in the landscape such as the fields, roads, and streams situated around Glastonbury. She claimed the Temple was created by Sumerians in 2700 BCE. Ian Burrow, Tom Williamson, and Liz Bellamy, scholars studying this myth from 1975-1983 used landscape historical research concluded contradicted the idea. For example the eye of Capricorn she labelled was a haystack, the western wing of the Aquarius Phoenix was a road laid in 1782 to run around Glastobury, the Cancer boat consisted of a network of 18th century drainage ditches and paths and there is no support of the theory that a “temple” in any form existed. Today Geomancers claim Glastonbury to be the center of several ley lines.

Below is a list of places I visited and reviewed. I hope to have this expanded to a complete list of resources and places of interest within the next few years.

Sites of Interest:

More to come …

Lodging:

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    Glastonbury & Surrounding Area, a set on Flickr.

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Traditional English Breakfast

Full English Breakfast
~ Anglo-Saxon rooted European Countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, and England. ~

I was first introduced to the Full English Breakfast while travelling in Europe in 2005. It is also called a “Full Breakfast” in other parts of Europe. It is a common breakfast found in English-based cultured European countries like England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man respectively. It typically includes bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, tomatoes, and coffee and/or tea. It has regional variants but is also called a “fry up”, “Full English”, “Full Irish”, “Full Scottish”, “Full Welsh”, “Full Cornish”, “Ulster Fry”, etc. depending on where in Anglo Europe you are dining. It is really popular and common in all of Ireland and the United Kingdom being found in pubs, restaurants, cafes, and other establishments usually offered at any time of the day as an “all day breakfast”. It became a National Dish dating back to the 13th century very commonly originating from the country houses of the gentry who in old Anglo-Saxon tradition of hospitality would provide such to their guests, friends, neighbors, and relatives. It especially became popular in the U.K. and Ireland during the Victorian Era and is a suggested breakfast as found in Isabella Beeton’s Book of Household Management published in 1861.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Experience Courtyard

The Glastonbury Experience Courtyard
~ Glastonbury, England * https://www.unitythroughdiversity.org/glastonbury-experience-courtyard.html ~

One of the must see sections of Glastonbury as I experienced on my 2011 backpack tour of England is the Glastonbury Experience Courtyard. It was founded in 1978 by a Dutch couple named Willem and Helene Koppejan who bought the retain properties at the foot of Glastonbury High Street and converted to a shopping mall of unique shops and function rooms called the “Glastonbury Experience”. Most of the shops began with specialization on “arts and crafts” focused on contemporary spirituality. Willem passed before they finished their dream. For several years the project came out at a loss being supplemented by Helenes private funds until in 1987 Helene met Barry Taylor who was a management and financial consultant who also had a strong interest in spirituality. They incorporated Barry’s plan to turn everything around. It came about when a section of Glastonbury’s residents were also inspired to re-create Glastonbury as a great center for learning, teaching, and spirituality mimicking what they saw it was in the Middle Ages but appropriate for the 21st century. Several key institutions moved in and became based in the Glastonbury Experience including the Isle of Avalon Foundation, The Library of Avalon, and the Goddess Temple. A Pilgrim Reception Center and Sanctuary was also formed. By 1992 Barry and Helene set up the Glastonbury Trust whose purpose was to benefit the public through the advancement of religion and education as a charity. In 1997 they established an agreement that in the event of their deaths the ownership of the Glastonbury Experience would pass on to a new charity. In 1998 Helen died and the Experience was transferred to the Glastonbury Trust Limited. The Trust began setting up a center offering help, guidance, training, and healing for all aspects of spiritual growth and ecological awareness.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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The Goddess Temple (Glastonbury)

The Glastonbury Goddess Temple
~ 2-4 High St, Glastonbury, England BA6 9DU, UK Phone: +44 1458 837977 https://www.goddesstemple.co.uk/ ~

I first encountered the Glastonbury Goddess Temple during my 2011 backpacking trip around the U.K. and have since visited in 2012 and 2013. The Temple was founded in 2000 as a pop-up Temple then again in 2003 as a public permanent Goddess Temple space in the Courtyard of the Glastonbury Experience and house of worship. The Temple claims to the be first formally recognized public indigenous British Goddess Temple in Europe for over 1500 years. The temple is open to the public every day from noon to 4 pm for prayer, meditation, celebration, and worship of Goddess. It is a home base for 21st century Goddess worshipers to meet one another, network, converse, pray, worship, do rituals, and share the Love of the Goddess(es). The Temple moved to the Goddess Hall on Benedict Street in 2008 where they hold larger seasonal ceremonies, offer teachings, and Priestess training. They opened a gift shop also in the Courtyard offering spaces for Goddess artisans, crafters, makers, writers, and Priestesses to sell their creations to the public. In 2016 they expanded to the Goddess House on Magdalene Street for their Goddess Healing Temple and Education Center. A sharing library of Goddess Books is also available. There are various function rooms that can be hired by groups for Goddess-based lectures, workshops, rites, or classes.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011, 6/14/12. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Methodist Church Drinking Fountain

Glastonbury Methodist Church Drinking Fountain
~ Lambrook Street, Glastonbury, England BA6 8BY Phone 01458 442313 http://somersetmethodists.org/somerset_mendip_circuit_029.htm ~

There is not much available about this font, drinking fountain, and/or well. The Methodist chapel was built around 1843. To the left of the chapel where the well font currently sits was a pond for washing carts – this was covered over to form a brick-arched reservoir which was first mentioned in 1821 property deeds. The reservoir is underneath the lawn and contains over 31,500 gallons of water still accessed by the Fire Department when necessary and is owned by Bristol Water. The Well font is believed to connect to this and appears to be for drinking. At the time of my visit, there was a blue ribbon attached to it and a cup filled with water sitting in the font. No signs stating whether safe to drink or not but assumed such.

It is known by tourists as a “drinking fountain” and is inset into the front stone wall of the churches’ facade opening onto the street. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1250671 The sign to the left of it says “commit no nuisance.” Near the apex of the ornate drinking fountain is a hand that points to the right (or south) around which is inscribed “TO THE TOR”.

This is also the Methodist church that has the “Glastonbury Thorn Trees” on its property that oddly blooms twice a year instead of once and is from whence the budded branch during Christmas is sent to the Queen.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Chocolate Love Temple, Glastonbury, England


Chocolate love temple, Glastonbury, England

Chocolate Love Temple, 86 High St, Glastonbury, England BA6 9DZ, UK Phone: +44 1458 835479

A great little delicious shop in the heart of Glastonbury I discovered during my backpacking tour of 2011. Its intriguing, alternative, and ecstatic … the chocolatier within calls themselves alchemist artisans who focus on raw chocolate as a healing medicine. Offered is a variety of chocolates, cakes, treats, medicinal mushrooms, love drops, supplements, and super foods like bee pollen. A must drop-in for any chocolate enthusiast.

Rated: 4.5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Abbey and Gardens

Glastonbury Abbey and Garden
~ Magdalene Street, Glastonbury, England BA6 9EL – www.glastonburyabbey.com ~

A backpacking trip around Europe during the Summer of 2011 allowed me to explore these magical historic ruins. The Glastonbury Abbey was a Monastery founded in Glastonbury Somerset, England around 712 C.E. and is one of Britain’s scheduled monuments and grade I listed buildings. It is a popular tourist spot especially amongst pilgrimages to Glastonbury. It was said to have been the richest monastery in the country according to the English Domesday Book 1086 C.E. It is also said to be the burial grounds for Edgar the Peaceful, Edmund I, Edmund Ironside, and King Arthur.

A glass works was founded on the site during the 7th century. The Danes destroyed the area during the 9th century. Archaeology shows it was expanded in the 10th century. In 960 C.E. Dunstan became the Archbishop of Canterbury and in 967 King Edmund was buried here. By 1016 Edmund Ironside was buried here as well. The Glastonbury Canal was erected in the area during the 10th century and linked to the Abbey via the River Brue in order to transport stones to build the abbey, transport produce, grains, fish, and wine from the abbey’s properties. The 11th century saw rise of the abbey becoming central to the large water based transportation network from the canals and channels made connecting the Meare estate with the Bristol channel. 1066 C.E. the Abbey was in its prime for wealth and Turstin the Norman Abbot expanded the church adding an eastern segment to the east of the older Saxon church and further from the ancient cemetery. This was drawn back together by the abbot Herlewin constructing a larger church. By 1077 C.E. Thurstin was dismissed whence his armed retainers killed numerous monks by the High altar. In 1184 C.E. it was completely destroyed by a fire and then rebuilt during the 14th century. The Abbey controlled most of the surrounding lands and was responsible for the drainage projects on the Somerset Levels. By the late 15th century a Inn called the “George Hotel and Pilgrim’s Inn” was built for visitors to the Abbey. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 C.E. all 850 monasteries, nunneries, and friaries in England were dissolved and all 15000 monks and nuns dispersed, lands and buildings sold off or leased to new lay occupants. 1539 C.E. All the silver, gold, and remaining assets were stripped from the abbey. It was suppressed by King Henry VIII during the Dissolutioin of the Monasteries and Richard Whiting the last abbot was hung, drawn, and quartered atop the Glastonbury Tor in 1539 C.E. as a traitor.

August 1, 2011: Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury, England. (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=4287) (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. Glastonbury Tor, one of the most famous and sacred landmarks in the West Country. From the summit at 158 metres, you can get amazing views over three counties – Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. What is the tor? “Tor” is a West Country word of Celtic origin meaning hill. The conical shape of Glastonbury Tor is natural – due to its rocks. It is made up of horizontal bands of clays and limestone with a cap of hard sandstone. The sandstone resists erosion, but the clays and limestone have worn away, resulting in the steep slopes. A historic landscape: Before modern drainage, the tor in winter would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels. The terraces on the slopes date back to medieval times when the hillside was one of the few dry places where people could grow crops and graze animals. A place of pilgrimage: The tor has been a place of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years. Many thousands of people still visit each year, some for its links with religion, legends and beliefs, and others because it is such a renowned landmark. History of the Tower: on the summit is St. Michael’s Tower, part of a 14th century church. It was built to replace a previous church which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1275. The second church lasted until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. At this time, the tor was the scene of the hanging of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury. The Tor was the site of a 6th century settlement, the earliest yet found in Glastonbury. Some believe this was the first Christian community in the area, said to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea in AD 63. 8th Century: The great Abbey: A stone church was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century. It was rebuilt and became one of the wealthiest abbeys in Britain, but was destroyed in 1539

Legends of King Arthur surround Glastonbury as many believe it to have been Avalon with links suggesting the medieval monks of the Abbey having a connection to Arthur and that the abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea during the 1st century. Archaeological evidence suggests the abbey was founded by Britons early 7th century C.E. even though Roman and Saxons had occupied the site through its course in history. Many myths and legends place it as the setting for King Arthur tales and the Holy Grail. Archaeology tells us that Glastonbury fell into the hands of the Saxons during the Battle of Peonnum 658 C.E. as far west as the River Parrett and allowed the British Abbot Bregored to remain in power during the time. Bregored died in 669 C.E. and replaced by Berhthwald, an Anglo-Saxon abbott for several years.

Legend has it that King Arthur’s tomb as well as Queen Guinevere are buried beneath the High Altar. This was recorded in 1191 C.E. by Giraldus Cambrensis in the De Principis instructione where the Abbott henry de Sully discovered a massive hollow oak trunk containing two skeletons 16 feet beneath the altar, above it under the covering stone was a leaden cross with unmistakable inscription “Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arthurus in insula Avalonia” (Here lies interred the famous King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon). Archaeologists and Historians claim it was merely a publicity stunt at the time to raise funds to repair the Abbey from the fire.

The ruins were stripped of lead and dressed stones hauled away to construct other buildings and the site was given to the Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour by Edward VI. Seymour established a colony of Protestant Dutch weavers on the site. 1559 C.E. Elizabeth I granted the site to Peter Carew posting it in private holdings until the 20th century, stripping the ruins of more stones leaving only the Abbot’s Kitchen which was converted to a Quaker meeting house. The remainder of the site remained a quarry. The Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882 halted any more destruction to the site. The Bath and Wells Diocesan Trust purchased the lands and ruins in 1908 C.E. This was passed on to the Glastonbury Abbey Trust. By 1924 numerous pilgrimages to the Ruins began making it a tourist destination.

An occurence of the Glastonbury Thorn, a species subset of the Common Hawthorn was found on site. This was mentioned in the 16th century manuscript “Lyfe of Joseph of Arimathea” to having flowered twice in a year once normal on “old wood” in Spring and once on “new wood” in the winter. The tree is believed to have been propagated by graftings and cuttings with the cultivar “Biflora” or “Praecox” creating a custom of sending a budded branch to the Queen at Christmas initiated by james Montague the Bishop of Bath and Wells during James I’s reign. Trees have survived from earlier grafts including two other Holy Thorns on the grounds of St. John’s Church.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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White Spring

White Spring
~ Wellhouse Lane, Glastonbury, England BA6 8BL, UK +44 7340 288392 * https://www.whitespring.org.uk/ ~

Official Article: http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=4373

While backpacking Europe during the Summer of 2011 this was one of my favorite sacred spaces to visit, even more so than the infamous Chalice Well. The White Spring is a free-to-visit spring welling up in a Victorian pump house that has been converted to a temple and pilgrimage site. It offers calcium-rich spring water to all for free unlike the Chalice Well that charges high admission to enter their sacred garden. It was the concept and dedication to the well that strengthened the birthing of my decision to be a Water Protector and Springs Guardian for the remainder of my life. This space was monumental for this change from a Protector of the Ancestors (Archaeologist) to Water Guardian as my life’s purpose.

Within a few feet from one another, the two Isle of Avalon mysteries wells forth from the Earth bestowing blessings, magic, and healing to its visitors and pilgrims. Each offer different healing properties, the Chalice Well being the Red spring rich with iron, the other white with calcite, both from the magical caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor, with rumors of Merlin’s magic. There is actually a third Blue Spring that has since vanished.

A temple has been built here at the White Spring offering the gift of pure water that is cavernous, mysterious, dark, Gothic, and magical as contrary to the Chalice Well in a well lit open-aired garden. The interior has three domed vaults standing at 16 feet height with beautiful bowed floors some say mimic the illusion of a hull of a boat moored at the portal to the Otherworld.

The pools within were designed and constructed based on sacred geometry following the Michael ley line that flows through the space with shrines added honoring ancient energies and the Spirits of Avalon.

A company of volunteers watch over the Spring and temple who designed it, built it, and care for it on a daily basis. The site sees pilgrimages and visitors daily. Group ceremonies and meditations are also conducted daily during opening hours, including celebrations of the turning of the seasons, the full moon, and the new moon. Private ceremonies can be arranged. There is no charge or expectation of donations and all caretakers do not get paid.

The sanctuary is candle-lit and dark, the sound of the water flowing can meditatively be heard and is a guide for ceremony and contemplation. Talking or conversations is strictly discouraged as silence other than the Spring is desired, though songs are welcome and check with the well keeper if wanting to play musical instruments. No Cameras, mobile phones, or electronic equipment is permitted in the sanctuary.

Legend has it that Glastonbury is England’s most sacred site and is where the foundations of the earliest church in Britain was formed and may be the site of the earliest church in the world second to Jerusalem and was dedicated to Mary. (There is no archaeological evidence to support this legend) The Glastonbury Tor or the Holy Hill of Albion is also believed to be England’s most sacred mountain and a place of Ancient Goddess worship. The Tor and its caverns beneath host numerous aquifers and springs that well forth from its base. Many of the springs have dried up except the Red Spring (Chalice Well) and the White Spring. There is evidence of a monastic site at the summit of the Tor and archaeological excavations revealed it is likely that early Celtic Christian hermits once lived on the sacred site of the White Spring. In 1872 a well house was constructed over the spring creating a reservoir that was used by townsfolk who were suffering from cholera and therfore destroyed the beautiful combe that once was there. A historic document by George Wright in 1896 stated ““And what was Glastonbury like then? One thing that clings to me was the beautiful Well House Lane of those days, before it had been spoilt by the erection of the reservoir. There was a small copse of bushes on the right hand running up the hill, and through it could be, not seen, but heard, the rush of running water, which made itself visible as it poured into the lane. But the lane itself was beautiful, for the whole bank was a series of fairy dropping wells – little caverns clothed with moss and vedure, and each small twig and leaf was a medium for the water to flow, drop, drop, drop into a small basin below. This water contained lime, and pieces of wood or leaves subject to this dropping became encrusted with a covering of lime. For a long time I attended those pretty caverns with affectionate care, and Well House Lane was an object of interest to all our visitors”

The reservoir fell into dis-use as the high calciferous waters often blocked the pipes and by the 19th century water was piped into Glastonbury from out of town, the well house falling into dis-use and forgotten. In the 1980’s it was re-opened and reconstructed being used for drinking water for the town. The walls, floors, water pipes, and chemical paint added in the 80’s was removed. The high ceilings, bowed floors, and original stone walls were uncovered unveiling the cathedral-like structure you see today. By 2004 a new owner took over the building and erected the sacred space you can visit now. The temple was consecrated in 2005. In October 2009 various pools were built inside based on sacred geometry. Its design and layout is always changing. The seasonal altar changes at each turn of the wheel. The bower that forms the Brigid shrine is rebuilt with fresh hazel for Imbolc and a February 1st celebration held in conjunction with Chalice Well and Bride’s Mound.

The White Spring is dedicated to the Goddess Brigid – the Celtic Fire Goddess and Guardian of the Sacred Springs within, and a perpetually burning Brigid Flame flickers her magic. A shrine in honor of the Lady of Avalon is within as well as a shrine in honor of the King of the World of Faerie at the portal to the Otherworld. Legend has it that the nun named Brigid who was said to be a child in 525 C.E. filled with the spirit of the Goddess Brigid who was born in Ireland from a Druidic father named Dubtach and a Christian slave mother named Brocessa. She was raised in both traditions and chose to enter a monastery – making her an Abbess as well as a nun. Legend states she lived and learned at the Beckery in Glastonbury before founding her abbey Cill Dara in Kildare Ireland.

The Lady of Avalon is seen at the White Spring as the Lady of ancient feminine primary power as Mother, Earth Mother, Mother of God, and Mother of us all. She is forever conceiving and birthing yet remains unchanged as herself self-fulfilled as the Virgin Mother. She is a dark lady like the earth – dark, womb-like, safe, hidden, mysterious, vast, abstract, and protective. She is also called the Black Madonna.

The King of the Faeries represents nature as wild, beautiful, majestic, diverse, interdependent, and powerful. He represents the Fae, the Otherworld, and is King of the World of Faerie as well as all the nature spirits of this world. He represents the unity of both worlds.

It is said that the White Spring is a portal to the Celtic Otherworld. It is said that Gwyn Ap Nudd was said to ride through here.

More Information: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-white-spring-glastonbury-england

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Glastonbury Labyrinth

Glastonbury Tercentennial Labyrinth
~ St. John the Baptist Church, High Street,Glastonbury, England * https://www.unitythroughdiversity.org/tercentennial-labyrinth.html ~

While backpacking around England during the Summer of 2011 I had the pleasure to walk this labyrinth sitting in the Churchyard of St. John the Baptist Church off High Street downtown Glastonbury. It is a carved grass labyrinth made of seven circuit designs – and the path is delineated by blue lias stonework locally mined and the same from Glastonbury Tor.

This Labyrinth has no ancient roots or historic origins, it was a communal creation done in 2007 by students from St. Dunstan’s school and incorporated volunteers from the community varying in spiritual persuasion and walks of life.

The Labyrinth project came from the local geomancer and author Sig Lonegren. He proposed it in 2002 to mark the 300th year of a very important event in Glastonbury’s history. They founded a committee and discussed various sites but were turned down by objections from residents near the sites. The Reverend Maxine Marsh talked to her congregation about placing it in the Churchyard and was approved. Once constructed, they hosted a simple and meaningful interfaith ceremony weaving Christian and Celtic symbolism in blessing the four quarters.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Backpackers – Crown Hotel

Glastonbury Backpackers at the Crown Hotel
~ 4 Market Pl, Glastonbury, England BA6 9HD, UK +44 1458 833353 ~

Currently Closed. The summer of 2011 I visited this indifferent hostel and stayed a couple of nights. While staff were friendly they were short and seemed too busy to handle guests. The Price however at the time was decent and it fulfilled my needs. I did not completely feel safe there at the time and it may have been a location where my internet use was hacked and one of my credit cards compromised causing much frustration and necessities to save loss of funds.

Within a 16th-century coaching Inn above a local pub called “The Crown”, this was a popular backpacker’s hostel with budget twins, doubles, and dorms – some en suite with male and femal dorms, and six private rooms. Most of the rooms have showers and toilets, others are shared.

It is a popular cheap lodging option for those visiting Glastonbury and quite over-accomodated during festivals and events. The bar below is lively and hosts DJ’s, music, and events. Closed down and proclaimed closed permanently in July 2016. A January 2018 article states it might re-open summer of 2018.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Tribunal

Glastonbury Tribunal
~ Glastonbury, England ~

Late 15th century Townhouse. During my backpacking trip through England and Scotland the summer of 2011, I visited this unique 15th century merchant’s house called “The Tribunal”. It is one of Britain’s Grade I historically designated buildings. Much of the building’s history is unknown except that it was built in the 15th century atop an old 12th century wooden structure. The front wall seen in the pictures were added in the 16th century. Originally used as a merchant’s house, it may have been both a shop and a schoolhouse. Today it is the Lake Village Museum. The first floor has original Elizabethan Era window and ceiling panels. Upstairs in the front room sits an braced arched wooden truss roof. Owned by the English Heritage as a Lake Village Museum as well as a tourist information centre. It house various artifacts such as the “Glastonbury Bowl” that dates to the Iron Age. Other artifacts in the Museum center around the Iron Age as well as works of art from Iron Age Glastonbury Lake Village – the man made “crannog” island that was abandoned near Godney 3 miles northwest of Glastonbury. The village was built in 300 B.C.E. and lasted to the Early Roman period (100 C.E.) abandoned due to a rise in water levels. There were originally about 100 people living in the village in 5-7 groups of houses with sheds, barns, and a wooden pallisade. It was built atop a artificial foundation of timber filled with bracken, rubble, and clay. Local legend states it was a Tribunal, hence the name, for the local Abbey where secular justice was administered for the Glastonbury Twelve Hides, but there is no archaeological or historical evidence to support this. Legend also suggests it was the site for trials by Judge Jeffreys for the Bloody Assizes after the Monmouth Rebellion, yet no evidence exists to verify that legend. There is no recorded information why its called a Tribunal.

The door is an original and hosts a Tudor rose with the arms of Richard Beere who was an Abbot from 1493 to 1524. There is a possibility the house was used as a hospice during 1716 as there is a document describing “Beere’s Hospital” though unknown if its the same building. There are documents that seem to point to it being a commercial school for young gentlemen during the later 18th century.

There are two rooms with an attached kitchen on the ground floor. There is a staircase leading to the living quarters on the first floor. The front room may have been a storefront like neighboring buildings but wasn’t used as such after installation of the new front wall during the 16th century. There are also evidence that this room was originally partitioned. Within the room are recesses on both sides of the arched fireplace . The rear room is a hall with 16th century panels and four light windows and the remains of a large fireplace with a chimney blocked after the downstairs fireplace was installed. Ceilings have Elizabethan Era plaster decorations. Wooden stairs to the first floor replaced an earlier stone staircase which still have rubble extending from the wall. The roof has braced arched wooden trusses.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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August 1, 2011: Glastonbury Tribuna (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=38787)l: Late 15th century town house. (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403

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Waterford, Ireland

Waterford, Ireland

From Old Norse Veðrafjǫrðr, meaning “ram (wether) fjord”, Irish: Port Láirge is a port city in southeastern Ireland within the province of Munster. Centered in the Waterford Harbour it is a known port for ships travelling to and from Ireland. It is the oldest and 5th largest city in Ireland. Besides shipping, it is known for its glass-blown crystal known as the “Waterford Crystal”. In 2016 it was recorded to have a population of 53,504 residents and a metropolitan population of nearly 83,000.

The Port was first established by Viking invaders around 853 C.E. These long ports were vacated in 902 when the Native Irish drove out the Vikings. The Vikings re-established themselves here again in 914 C.E. under command of Ottir Iarla (Jarl Ottar) until 917, then by Ragnall ua Ímair and the Uí Ímair dynasty creating Ireland’s first city. By 1167 the deposed King of Leinster – Diarmait Mac Murchada failed to take Waterford and returned again in 1170 with mercenaries under “Strongbow” Richard de Clare the 2nd Earl of Pembroke besieging the city. King Henry II of England landed here in 1171 and declared int as a royal city with Dublin as capital of Ireland.

Sights:

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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August 1, 2012: The Dunbrody, Waterford, Ireland. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo
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The Dunbrody

The Dunbrody
~ Waterford, Ireland ~

This three-masted tall ship in barque style was built in Quebec around 1845 by Thomas Hamilton for the Graves family – merchants from New Ross, Wexford, Ireland. The ship originated as a cargo vessel transporting timber and guano to Ireland. From 1845 to 1851 during the months of April to September, she brought passengers to North America – helping people escape the potato famine. They could fit 4 passengers in an area of 6′ square and their children. The Brody had a very low mortality rate for its passengers and was not classified as a “coffin ship” like many others like her who lost roughly 50% of their passengers during the potato famine exodus. It is believed that was due to the fact that the captains John Baldwin and John W. Williams were praised to their dedication for the safe passage. There was one passage with 313 passengers out of which only 6 died. She was sold by the Graves family in 1869. She was then taken by her new owners in 1874 from Cardiff to Quebec and ran aground in the Saint Lawrence River. She was then salvaged, repaired, and sold – then in 1875 was foundered on the Labrador coast and lost. The ship you see here is a replica.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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August 1, 2012: The Dunbrody, Waterford, Ireland. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo
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To Tip or Not To Tip: That is the question – Tipping

To Tip or Not To Tip – That is the Question of the Day

by Leaf McGowan / Technogypsie Productions

I’ve always been on the border about “tips”, “gratuity”, and “tipping”. I never in my younger years saw it as “required”, “mandatory”, or “expected”. Even when i was a bartender I never expected it nor thought I should get it. After all I was just doing my job and I was paid a fare wage for it. It was nice to get a tip when it happened (and it happened often), i just saw it as a “hey thanks for doing an exceptional job”. Its true I was brainwashed by regulars to recognize them as good tippers and pouring extra liquor or giving them extra attention because I knew they tipped. But I was fair to all. I always saw it as a practice to thank a worker for being extra nice, going out of their way, or high performance. I wouldn’t tip someone who did a poor job. But these days, you’re expected if not required to tip a service worker regardless of doing a good job. The percentages have raised from the normal 10% to 15% to 18% and 20% in some cases. Really? That’s not only obnoxious, but criminal. The criminality of tipping, no tipping, less than minimum wages, etc. didn’t sink in until I became a delivery driver and experienced first hand the angst and stress than a customer who doesn’t tip causes a worker … especially when it affects their livlihood, wear and tear on their vehicle, or when that tip teeters the ability to cover the gas it took to deliver said food.

When my ex-family member became rapid about no tippers as she works in the food industry, it was definitely a flag seeing how hostile she got on the topic. It was definitely a clash between us. I tried to explain to her my thoughts about it, how it was meant as a gift for exceptional service, and that it should never be expected. In fact, many countries find the act offensive and many foreigners don’t do it. She shouldn’t get hostile on a bunch of Germans at her table who don’t tip her. They might not know the American custom or requirement. But she would just get seething angry. It was that seething anger and dishonesty in her persona that made her my ex-family member in the long run.

But she’s no different than many in the service industry – if you don’t tip or are a poor tipper, you can easily become the scum at the bottom of a barrel and seen as a disgusting, unappreciative, vile individual. There are servers and delivery personnel who have been known to create databases recording your details so others can avoid you, or worse yet, target you for pranks, discrimination, or mean revenge. It really is a problem. Some pizza joints have been known to have comments and notes about customers who don’t tip. The common thought is that if you are a bad tipper for any reason other than bad service then you are stealing from the server and are consequently a thief so should be held up to public ridicule. So various staff have made facebook databases, web sites, and public forums “outing” the bad or no tippers, sometimes including their names, addresses, and/or phone numbers obtained from delivery apps, receipts, or credit card slips. Even if there are no physical databases active on the web, darkweb, or a businesses’ computer system … there certainly are mental notes and staff who will remember your face, name, or address and may avoid serving you or giving you proper service. Its always best to be safe and tip – be considerate of the individual who is serving you. There is the Uber Eats drivers forum on “No Tip for Food Delivery? Boycott them.”; Badtippers.com (currently down); the Lousy Tipper database; NFIB – Should you publically shame a bad tipper?; Shitty Tipper Database; Lousytippers.com (currently down); https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/aug/17/the-website-which-names-lousy-tippers; the Shitty shitty tipper database; Bad Tippers Suck; and Bitter Waittress.

Then there is the facts that suggest tipping was born out of racism. Should you not tip because it was originally a racist act? Certainly not – because you’re not hurting the industry that is the wrong-doer, you are hurting the server/driver/staff that is struggling on less than minimum wages their employer are giving them with expectation that your tips will make up the additional missing income. This is detrimental to those workers and really damages their livelihoods, especially in America and the tourism industry. Unfair? certainly. The only way this can change is to attack the industry and get companies to pay their employees proper fair wages.

So what exactly is a tip? or gratuity? Gratuity is another term for “tip” which is a certain amount of money that someone “gifts” to another for excellent service. It is additional funds above and beyond the fees or pricing for a item, service, and/or food. It has become a custom in many of the world’s countries. In some places its simply just the extra change to round up to the nearest dollar amount, other times it is a sizable sum often left on the table to thank the server and/or staff. The amounts that people give varies from country to country, and in some countries it is considered insulting. Other countries discourage it. Some countries require it. Originally it became 10%, and more recently has increased to 15-20% of the bill’s total. Some employees are prohibited from tipping if paying for food or services on government payments – government workers in some areas would break the law if they tipped. Unfortunately the practice has become an important part of the income for various service workers like servers, bartenders, delivery drivers, uber/lyft/taxi drivers – and failing to tip the can be a detrimental effect on their livelihood. This is very common in North America. Some restaurants will automatically add a service charge/tip on the bill especially when there is a large party at a restaurant.

In most places, it is illegal for government workers to not only give tips, but to receive them as it can be seen as bribery. For companies that promote tipping such as restaurants, the owners see the act of “tipping” as a incentive for greater work effort. Some abuse the custom by paying lower wages to their employees expecting the tips to make up for the difference. This is where the process has become criminal and abusive of the lower class in the United States. It is in this regard that tipping expected or not, is actually quite arbitrary and discriminatory, adversely affecting livelihoods and lives. It has been proven that amounts of tips can vary based on age, sex, race, hair color, breast size, color of skin, and appearance rather than quality of service.

The etymology for “tipping” and “gratuity” dates to the 1520’s from “graciousness” or the French “gratuite” in the 14th century. The Medieval Latin “gratuitas” or “free gift” or “money given for favor or services”. The practice appears to have begun around 1600 C.E. and was meant as a “small present of money”. It was first attested in 1706 according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It was first practiced in Tudor England. By the 17th century it was expected that overnight guests in private homes should provide sums of money called “vails” to the host’s servants. This spread to customers tipping in London coffeehouses and commercial establishments. London in the 1890’s also had “crossing sweepers” who cleared the way in the roads for rich people to cross so that they wouldn’t diry their clothes, and they were tipped for this action.

Etymological differences in various languages can also translate the terminology to “drink money” such as “pourboire” in French, “trinkgeld” in German, “drikkepenge” in Danish, and “napiwek” in Polish coming from the custom of inviting a servant to drink a glass in honor of the guest and paying for it to show the guests generosity amongst one another.

Customs in varous Countries:

Africa/Nigeria: not common at upscale hotels and restaurants because the service charge is usually included in the bill although the employees don’t usually get any of it … this has been changing as establishments have begun to coerce customers to tip in the Western world manner even to the manner that there have been reports of security guards asking bank patrons for tips.

Asia: China – there is no tipping. Some hotels that serve foreign tourists will allow it, especially tour guides and drivers. Hong Kong – tipping is not expected at hotels or restaurants because a service charge of 10% is already added to the bill, but taxi drivers sometimes charge the difference between a fare and round sum as a courtesy fee so as not to make change for larger bills. Japan – tipping is very discouraged and seen as an insult (unless masked in an envelope). It also has created confusion. Indonesia – common in large touristy areas like Bali or Lombok where there are a lot of Western visitors. 10% is expected at full-service restaurants, and bar tipping is discretionary depending on the style of the bar. Pubs don’t expect tips, restaurants 10-15%, massage parlors 10-20%, taxi drivers 5%, bellboys $1 a bag. Malaysia – tipping is not expected, restaurants often add a 10% service charge, and if tips are left it is accepted and appreciated, but often is just rounding up. South Korea – not customary nor expected and can be seen as inappropriate behavior. Hotels and restaurants often add on a 10-15% service charge already embedded into the bill. Singapore – not practiced and rarely expected, though bars, restaurants, and some other establishments add in a 10% service charge compounded with the 7% goods and services tax – the staff rarely receive any of this. Taiwan – Not customary but all mid-high end restaurants and hotels have a mandatory 10% service charge which is not given to staff and made out as revenue to the business.

Europe: Tipping started in the United Kingdom and spread throughout, but not all parts of Europe accept it, some will be offended by it. Albania – It is expected everywhere and performance will vary based on requests for tips. Tips of 10% of the bill is customary in restaurants, and while porters, guides, and chauffeurs expect tips – duty-free alcohol is usually the best tip for porters and bellhops, but others may find it offensive (such as Muslims). Croatia – tips are sometimes expected in restaurants, but not mandatory and are often 3-5% of the bill. Clubs and cafe its common to round up the bill and its not common for taxi drivers or hairdressers. Denmark – “drikkepenge” or “drinking money” is not required since service charges must always be included in the bill according to law. Tipping for outstanding services is a matter of choice and never expected. Finland – not customary or expected. France – not required but what you see on the menu is what you are charged for. The French pay their staff a livable wage and do not depend on tips. Some cafe’s and restaurants will include a 15% service charge in the bill as french law for tax assessment requires. “service compris” is a flag that the tip has already been added to the bill but the staff may not get any of it. Tourist places are unofficially accustomed to getting tips. In smaller restaurants or rural areas, tips can be treated with disdain. Amounts of the tip are critical sometimes, such as at least a 5% for good service, and unless tips are given in cash, most of the time the staff won’t receive them if on credit card. Austria/Germany: Coat check staff usually tipped but tipping aka “trinkgeld” is not obligatory. In debates about minimum wage, some people disapprove of tipping and say that it shouldn’t substitue for living wages. It is however seen as good manners in Germany for good services. Germany prohibits to charge a service fee though without the customer’s consent. Tips range from 5-10% depending on the service. While Germans usually tip their waiters almost never the cashiers at big supermarkets. The more personal the service, more common to tip. There are often tipping boxes instead of tipping the person, and rounding up the bill is the most common practice as “stimmt” for keep the change. Tips are considered income in Germany but are tax free. Hungary – “borravalo” or “money for wine” is the tipping there and is commonplace based on type of service received, rounding up the price is most commonplace. Various situations will vary with tipping as either expected, optional, or unusual since almost all bills have service charges included. In Iceland, it is not customary and never expected except with tourist guides who encourage the practice. Ireland – tips are left by leaving small change (5-10%) at the table or rounding up the bill, and very uncommon for them to tip drivers or cleaning staff – it is the tradition thanks for high quality service or a kind gesture. In Italy – tips are only for special services or thanks for high quality service, but is very uncommon and not customary, though all restaurants have a service charge but are required to inform you of said added charges. Norway – service charges are added to the bill so tipping is less common and not expected. If done its by leaving small change 5-15% at the table or rounding up the bill. The Netherlands – it is not obligatory and is illegal and rare to charge service fees without customer’s consent. Sometimes restaurants, bars, taxis, and hotels will make it sound like tipping is required but it is not. Excellent service sometimes sees a 5-15% tip as in 1970 regulations were adopted that all indicated prices must include the service charge and so all prices saw a 15% raise back then so that employees were not dependent on tips. Romania – Tipping is close to bribing in some instances where it is used to achieve a favor such as reservations or getting better seats. tipping is overlooked often and rounding up can be seen as a rude gesture if including coins, otherwise one should use paper currency. Russia – its called “chayeviye” which means “for the tea” and tipping small amounts to service people was common before the Communist Revolution of 1917, then it became discouraged and considered an offensive capitalist tradition aimed at belittling or lower the status of the working class and this lasted until the 1990’s but once the Iron Curtain fell a influx of foreign tourists came it and it has seen a comeback. Slovenia – most locals do not tip other than to round to nearest Euro and the practice is uncommon. Tourist areas have accepted tips of 10-20%. Spain – while not mandatory it is common for excellent services. Tips in the food industry depend on the restaurant and if upscale, small bars and restaurants the small change is left on their plate after paying the bill. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, and hotel staff may expect tips in upscale environments. Sweden – tipping is not expected, but practiced for high quality service as kind gestures, but often is small change on the table or rounding up the bill mainly at restaurants and taxis. Hairdressers aren’t commonly tipped. Tips are taxed in Sweden but cash tips often are not declared. Turkey – “bahsis” or tipping is optional and not customary. 5-10% is appreciated in restaurants and usually by leaving the change. Drivers don’t expect tips although passengers often round up and small change to porters or bellboys. United Kingdom: England/Scotland – customary when served at a table in restaurants, but not cafes or pubs where payment made at the counter often between 10-15%, most commonly 10% rounded up. Golfers tip their caddies. Larger cities may have a service charge included in the bill or added separately commonly at 12.5%. Service charges are only compulsory if displayed before payment and dining, and if bad service, customer can refuse to pay any portion (or all) of said service charge.

North America:
Canada – similar to the United States, tipping is common, expected, and in some cases required. Quebec provides alternate minimum wage for all tipped employees, other provinces do so for bartenders. Servers tend to share their tips with other restaurant employees called “tipping out” or a “tip pool”. Ontario made a law in 2015 to ban employers from taking cuts of tips that are meant for servers and other staff as that became a bad problem until recently. Tips are seen as income and staff must report the income to the Canada Revenue Agency to pay their taxes on it. Caribbean – the practices vary from island to island, such as the Dominican Repulbic adds a 10% gratuity on bills in restaurants and its still customary to tip an extra 10%, St Barths it is expected tips to be 10-15% if gratuity isn’t already included in the bill, and most of the islands expect tips due to being used to it with tourists from the mainland. Mexico – In small restaurants most workers don’t expect tips as the custom is usually only takes place in medium or larger high end restaurants, and when it happens roughly 10-15% not less nor more as a voluntary offering for the good services received on total bill before tax is added (VAT – value added tax). Sometimes VAT is already included in menu pricing. Standard tip in Mexico is 11.5% of the pre-tax bill or 10%. Sometimes tips are added to the bill without the customer’s consent even though its against the law especially bars, night clubs, and restaurants. If this service charge is added it is violation of Article 10 of the Mexican Federal Law of the Consumer and Mexican authorities recommend that patrons require the management to refund or deduct this from the bill. United states – Tipping is a strong social custom and while by definition voluntary at the discretion of the customer, has become mandatory in some instances and/or required, very commonly expected. If being served at a table, a tip of 15-20% of the customer’s check is customary when good service provided, in buffets where they only bring beverages to the table, 10% is customary. Higher tips are often commonly given for excellent service, and lower ones for mediocre service. Tips may be refused if rude or bad service is given and the manager is usually notified. Tipping is common for hairdressers, golf courses, casinos, hotels, spas, salons, bartenders, baristas, food delivery, drivers, taxis, weddings, special events, and concierge services. Fair Labor Standards Act defines tippable employees as those who receive tips of more than $30/month and federal law permits employers to include tips as part of a employee’s hourly wage or minimum wage. Federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13/hour as authorities believe they will make up the difference in tips. The federal minimum wage is still only $7.25/hour. 18 of the 50 states still pay tipped workers the 2.13/hour. 25 states as well as the District of Columbia have their own slightly higher tipped minimums, while the remaining states guarantee state based minimum wage for all workers. Some states have increased this such as Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Guam require that employees be paid full minimum wage of the state they are working in. Tip pools are used as well but the employer is not allowed to take any, nor any employees who do not customarily receive tips such as the dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors. The average tip in America today is 15-16% with tipping commonly expected regardless of how good service was provided. A few restaurants and businesses in Amrica have adopted a no-tipping model to fight back, but many of these returned to tipping due to loss of employees to competitors. Service charges are often added when there is a large party dining and to catering, banquet, or delivery jobs. This is not to be confused with tips or gratuity in the U.S. which is optional and discretionary to the customer. Some bars have started to include service charges as well – but including these require disclosure to the customer. Until the early 20th century, Americans saw tipping as inconsistent with the values of an democratic egalitarian society, earlier business owners thought of tips as customers attempting to bribe employees to do something that wasn’t customary such as getting larger portions of food, better sittings, reservations, and/or more alcohol in their drinks. After Prohibition in 1919 alot of revenue was lost from no longer selling alcoholic beverages, so financial pressure caused food establishment owners to welcome tips and gradually evolve to expecting them. Tipping never evolved from a server’s low wages because back in the day before tipping was institutionalized, servers were fairly well paid. As tipping evolved to become expected and mandatory servers were paid less. Six states (mainly in the south) however passed laws making tipping illegal though enforcement was difficult, the earliest of which was passed in 1909 within the state of Washington. The last of these laws were repealed in 1926 in Mississippi. These states felt that “the original workers that were not paid anything by their employers were newly freed slaves” and “this whole concept of not paying them anything and letting them live on tips carried over from slavery” (according to Wikipedia article). Tips are considered income and the entire tip amount is considered earned wages except for months wehere tip totals were under $20. The employee must pay 100% of payroll tax on tip income and tips are excluded from worker’s compensation premiums in most states. This sometimes discourages no-tip policies because employers would pay 7.65% additional payroll taxes and up to 9% workers compensation premiums on higher wages in lieu of tips. Tax evasion on tips is very common and a big concern of the IRS. While tips are allowable expenses for federal employees during travel, U.S. law prohibts employees from receiving tips. Tip pooling is also illegal if pooling employees are paid at least the federal minimum wage and don’t customarily receive tips, but was repealed in 2018 so workers have more rights to sue their employers for stolen tips.

South America: Bolivia – Most restaurants have service charges included in the bill, but tips of 5% or more are sometimes given to be polite to the worker. Paraguay – Tipping is not a common part of the culture, there are often service charges included in the bill.

Oceania: Australia – Tipping is not part of Australian customs, so it is not expected or required. Minimum wages in Australia has an annual review adapted for standards of living. Many still round up the amount owed to indicate they were happy with the service as “keep the change”. There is no tradition of tipping someone who is just providing a service like a bellboy, hairstylist, or guide. Casinos in Australia prohibit tipping of gaming staff so its not considered bribery. New Zealand – like Australia, does not possess the tradition though it has become less uncommon in recent years especially with fine establishments and influx of tourism, or American tipping culture. It is expected that employers pay their staff fairly and that minimum wage is raised regularly based on costs of living. The only real tipping is for far and above normal service.

The varying degrees of gratuity around the world causes much problems internationally, as American tourists may continue to tip when travelling to countries where it is not custom, thereby setting precedent that evolves into expectation of Americans travelling abroad. Likewise, tourists from countries that find tipping rude or non-customary, may not tip when in the U.S. and infuriating staff that expect and/or depend upon it. Some Americans have been known to become aggressive, rude, and vindictive when they don’t get tipped and they may not realize the non-tipper is a foreigner who comes from a culture that doesn’t tip. The key is to know the culture you are travelling in. There is a high level of discrimination embedded into tipping culture, and many think the custom should be banned. According to Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics blog “Should Tipping be Banned?” they point out from Michael Lynn’s research that “attractive waitresses get better tips then less attractive ones. Men’s appearances, not so important.” “blondes get better tips than brunettes, slender women get better tips then heavier woen, larger breasted women get better tips than smaller breasted ones.” Hooters, an American chain has monopolized on looks for their waitresses and get away with discriminating upon those who don’t fit the look, and therefore the tip. Many will flaunt wealth by distributing big tips, and others do it to demean the worker to make them feel beneath them. After the abolishment of slavery, restaurants and rail operators embraced tipping as a way of getting free labor – hiring newly freed slaves to work for tips alone.


The newest industry being affected by tipping is delivery drivers who get paid $3.25 or lower for a delivery, don’t get paid to wait around for orders, sometimes are given some fees for mileage, but not wear and tear, nor reimbursement for the highly increasing cost of gas. So not only is a drivers time affected when someone doesn’t tip, but their vehicle, cost of gas, and expenses. As a delivery driver, I have gone on deliveries where what i received from a non-tipper and the company didn’t even cover the gas to get to their place and back. Remember that when considering if you should tip or not.

References:


  • Oatman, Maddie 2016 “The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping: Gratuities were once an excuse to shortchange black people. In fact, they still are.” Mother Jones News. website visited at https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/04/restaurants-tipping-racist-origins-saru-jayaraman-forked/ on 7/17/18.

  • Wikipedia 2013 “Tipping”. Website referenced at https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipping on 7/17/18.

  • Video: The Racist History of Tipping : https://www.facebook.com/196848580832824/videos/217512792099736/

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The German Iron Cross of Roswell

Iron Cross at Spring River
~ North bank, Spring River, Roswell, New Mexico ~

Embedded in the North bank of the Spring River by the Roswell Spring Hill Zoo is a heritage landmark that was created by German prisoners of War who were working on a flood control project that was part of their incarceration. It was in 1943 that a 50 man detail rip-rapped rocks on the Spring River banks. It was on the north bank between Pennsylvania and Kentucky Avenue that they made an “Iron Cross” on the bank. These men were prisoners of war imprisoned during World War II in a camp near Orchard Park. The camp housed more than 4800 German prisoners of war from the Afrikacorps Rommel’s men of the 8th army from 1942-1946. There were numerous residents in Roswell who were angered at this work and retaliated by pouring five yards of concrete over their landmark. The concrete over time washed away and it is said to be visible again.

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Park Inn By Radisson Shannon Airport

Park Inn by Radisson Shannon Airport
~ Shannon Airport House, Shannon Industrial Estate, Shannon, Co. Clare, V14 N763, Ireland | Phone: +353 61 471 122 | https://www.parkinn.ie/airporthotel-shannon ~

A luxurious (for Ireland) Inn located 2 km from the Shannon Airport that will give its patrons a good rest before and after their flights. I’ve had the pleasure of staying there a couple of times during flights to and from the United States to Ireland. It is also 13 km from the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park bringing tourists to the area. The rooms are bright, airy, and spacious – they offer free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, business desks, coffee making, and some rooms mini fridges. They also have a breakfast buffet offered for a surcharge. A casual restaurant, cozy bar, ad gym are also offered to patrons. They have free parking as well.

Rated: 3.75 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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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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Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=18471). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Leavenworth, Washington

Leavensworth, Washington

This remarkable little alpine tourist trap resides in the mountains of Chelan County Washington boasting a residential population of just over 2,000 residents. The architecture, flavor, and culture is reminescent of atypical Bavarian village. The town was incorporated on September 5, 1906 as a small timber community centered around the Great North Railroad that was completed here in 1893. It was founded by two brothers – Lafayette and Chauncery Lamb who moved hre from Iowa to build the second largest saw mill in Washington State in 1903. By the 1920’s the railway relocated to Wenatchee throwing Leavenworth into remission. In 1962, a committee called LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone) was established and partnered with the University of Washington in hopes of breathing life back into this failing small town. Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, two businessmen from Seattle, bought a failing cafe off of Highway 2 in 1960 and came up with a plan with LIFE borrowing ideas from the Danish themed town of Solvang California for inspiration. Beginning with the Chikamin Hotel, they duo remodeled the town in Bavarian style. Leavenworth boasts a good tourist crowd from Seattle and outlying areas that come for the cultural portal it establishes. It is also popular for its Nutcracker Museum that opened in 1995 and the Oktoberfest celebration it hosts each year. The area also boasts a continental Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny summer days and cold, snowy winter nights. Rainfall is limited by the Cascade rain shadow as well as by the anticyclone.

Leavenworth, Washington (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=18471). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Leavenworth, Washington (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=18471). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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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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