Ancient places and old souls

After eight weeks away on my own I was finally joined by my beloved to head "Into the west" and explore the ancient and magic places. It was with great excitement and some trepidation that I headed to Dublin airport to meet Phil who had flown in on the 'red eye' from Melbourne. Eight weeks was a long time to be apart and I hoped he remembered what I looked like! Of course, HE DID and we picked up a hire car and headed to the west coast to explore some of the wild places of Ireland (of course after he'd had a decent night's sleep).

Not many men, after 26 hours on a plane would look at the prospect of a week of traipsing through "bogs", ancient castles and graveyards as fun, but I chose well all those years ago, and despite Phil doing all the driving, he never once complained when I yelled "STOP" yet again, so I could walk around an old abandoned thatched farm house. We started our epic journey travelling from Dublin to Cork (the epic part was actually finding our way OUT of Dublin), once on the highway, we settled down and enjoyed the scenery, the mutually stimulating conversation and the little villages we drove through.

En route to Cork we stopped at the Rock of Cashell which to my great delight (and please forgive my ignorance), wasn't just a rock at all, but an amazing castle/ cathedral that sits on top of a huge granite outcrop. It is said St Patrick baptised a whole pile of converts here and there is an enormous cross in the forecourt that was supposedly erected in his honour. I won't ramble on about the history of the "rock" (as I've attached a link here for you) but what I want to tell you about is the "vibe" of the place.

This was the first ancient ruin we visited that held the echo's of ancient souls. I spent ages wandering around the old cemetery (which was to become a pattern of mine, but Phil is used to this), just looking at the old headstones and listening to the sad laments of the birds that nested in the ruins. The cold wind was blowing, the sun struggling to find it's way out from behind the black clouds and the shadow of the castle made eerie patterns on the headstones, but the rugged beauty of the place made me feel quite at home. There was a gentle melancholy about it that was almost comforting. Bizarre really, as I generally find sad places quite disconcerting, however here I felt peaceful and time just seemed to stop. I felt like I was connected to the land somehow, that I was walking on paths that were well worn, but that my steps were making new and different impressions. This was the beginning for me of a real journey of discovery and the "Rock of Cashel" was my gentle "easing in" to the sad and lonely places we were to visit over the coming days.

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