Posts tagged ‘Ireland’
“It’s 35 degrees Centigrade and the sky is black with thunder as we exit a bar in Villa Franca de Oca. We carry fresh “bocadillos” in our packs and hot mint tea and we’ll walk ’till dusk.
“I think we’re in for our first storm” I say.
” Maybe….” says Mark
Last night we had a wilderness experience off the beaten track; two sleepy sillouettes on a starry hilltop with a happy soundtrack of cowbells and frogs. And tonight we’ll sleep under a natural canopy in the Forest of “Oca” (Goose in Spanish).
” D’ya think we’re MAD? ” I say as we head off together, up a steep and stony path.
“Probably…” says Mark.
When we reach an interpretation panel by the wayside, we stop to have a look.
“Look” I say “There are Brown bears and ….. ” my eyes open wide and my eyebrows shoot up.
“Mmmm… ” says Mark
Back home in Devon my mum emailed me to say “Be careful of wolves on the forest tracks”
“What makes you think there are WOLVES? on the Camino? ” I tell her.
An almighty crack shatters the peace and tranquility of the Camino and the sky splinters into shards.
” A proper attack of aniseed balls” I say while the weather pummels our heads and necks as we run for the woods.
We cosy up under the tarp next to one massive deciduous oak.
“It’s almost fun” I say daring the storm.
We follow the trail upward and just as rain begins to fall, a perfect shelter pops up magically from the track. At the back of this welcome rain-shade is a lone pilgrim.
“I hope he doesn’t mind” says Mark as we head into dry-space.
“I’d do the Camino just for the VIEWS ?” says the sitting man bewitched by the panorama.
“I started out with my girlfriend” he tells us “but the Camino’s not for her”.
” Oh?” says Mark.
“Her pack was too heavy and she wasn’t enjoying it. She had to go back to work”
Our shelter companion for the duration of the rain is Paul Murphy.
” I’m an MEP” says Paul ,”for the Irish Socialist Party”. ” I’ve just lost my seat in Brussels so I’m out of a job in a week.”
We find we know nothing about members of the European parliament so Paul fills us in. “MEPs earn 90.000 Euro a year. ” he says. Now that’s a big incentive .
“As MEP’s we get 300 Euros per day every day we attend Parliament. Just for turning up”
” hmmm” says Mark.”Seems a lot”.
” But…..” says Paul “As a member of the Irish Socialist Party we pay ourselves the average national youth wage for Ireland.”
“The youth wage? I ask ” The YOUTH wage says Mark.
It’s still raining so Paul chats on. He’s signed in at a hostel for the night and has come out without his rain jacket . Luckily he has a lot of stories and is happy to share them with us. He is a persona non-grata in a couple of states. He was part of the flotilla taking supplies into Gaza, he was captured at gun point and ended up an Israeli jail, so he’s not very popular there.
“What was it liiiiike in Prison?” I ask my eyes popping.
“Oh” he says ” It was muuch better than the yacht.” ” I was so seasick, it was really horrible.”
We couldn’t have dreamed up a more humble and engaging pilgrim to be holed up with in the rain. And he has more stories.
“I helped broker a deal for striking miners in Kazakstahn” he tells us.
“You’re an activist” then?”
“Yes” says Paul “My party brokered an agreement between the government and the striking miners”
We smile expectant.
“But as soon as we left the country the miners were shot!”
We digest the news as rain drums on the roof above.
And before the rain ceases there is time to tell Paul about Claire and me about DREAMING PLACE and how we took Radio Dreaming back to play to Mary-Jane and other participants in Ireland in our Place-dreamer Pod and what a lot of effort went into the Kickstarter campaign.
” And did Mary-Jane get to hear Radio Dreaming at her homestead” says Paul.
” Yes she did!” in his mind’s eye an old lady is a-listening in the Pod, her eyes alight with dreams.
Our rainy meeting in the pop-up shelter on The Camino has conjoured up diverse visons. And now it’s time for Paul to head back down to his hostel for the night.
“What time are you up in the morning” he asks us as he gets up to go.
“Oh about 7.30 or 8.00 a.m”
Though the storm has moved away we decide to stay the night in the shelter. Its just too good to miss. So we eat our bocadillos, drink the lovely hot tea and lay our bags out for the night in this Camino dreaming place.
“D’you think the bins’ll lure in hungry wolves “I say.
“Yup says Mark.
Now he puts on his wooly hat.
“Buenas Noches” he says and he’s asleep.
In the morning we set off along a steaming trail into the big woods.
“Red riding hood would have been safe here ” I say, for the mystery of the wood is lost on the grit causeway the Camino has become.We gravitate to a pilgrim friendly ditch by the side of the Super-Camino where we walk in single file.
“I passed by for you at seven thirty ” says a voice from trail “but you’d already gone!”
“We had the Mother of all Storms in the night.” calls up Mark cheerily from inside the ditch.
This blogstory is one of several by Anna is writing about her journey with Mark on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail in Northern Spain.
Paul Murphy is AAA (Anti- Austerity – Alliance) Member of Parliament for Dublin South West. Paul’s website.
Find out about Paul’s popular AAA campaign to scrap water charges in Ireland .
“It’s my dream to own a kettle like that!” says Mary-Jane, her tiny frame tilted back to take in the beauty of our family-size kettle which hangs from the pod’s rear hatch. Its brown enamel surface is hand-painted with bright bargee swirls and flowers and it’s slightly scuffed.
We are bursting to say “here you are, Mary –Jane please take it as a gift from us; for hasn’t she just given us an envelope with money in it, to repay our visit just as if we are her own children or grandchildren? But we don’t and the kettle stays in our care, ‘cos without it who knows how can we boil water for our visitors’ tea?
Back on the road we decide we will gift the kettle, but later on when we don’t need it so badly. So when we get back to England it is carefully wrapped and sent over to its new owner, Mary-Jane of Tawny McKelly. So that if you pass by her cottage today or tomorrow asking for “a little water from the tap” just as we did, to quench your cyclers’ thirst, Mary -Jane will say, “You can, Aye, so you can surely, surely.” And then she’ll say, “Are you needin’ a cuppa tea o’ anything?” And when you say, “Yes that would be grand!” She’ll invite you in through the front door and you’ll l sit on the sofa by her dresser, decked with birthday cards and the radio still playing.
“It’s a long way you’ve come isn’t it?” she’ll say and “D’you want a chicken sandwich d’you?”
Recently we’ve been thinking about transforming renewable materials around us into things that we use in our lives and how that process is an important element in our Place -Dreamer Toolkit. We have discussed this idea in previous posts about string HERE and hidden technologies HERE.
Because we are fascinated by these simple, but ingenious technologies and processes, we’ve been revisiting our unique time with Ignatius Maguire on his family farm. Including his grandchildren, his family has been on the land for eight generations.
He gave us an extensive tour of the grounds and the traditional, human-powered technologies and farm practices that he chooses to use to keep it all going. He is unlike most of his farming neighbors who have opted for more modern methods to harvest hay, plant potatoes and grow grain. Like that of Margaret Gallagher (see our post about her HERE), his dream for his life is shaped and colored differently than most.
Here, he describes his simple reasons for his chosen life-style:
Ignatius is a good reminder that we all have choices about what lives we want to lead, what technologies we want to use in our lives and for some of us, what processes, tools and technologies we choose to use to transform raw materials into things we can use in our lives.
Look for the second half of this post, coming soon – “Transformation of Materials: Part 2, Knowledge and Action” featuring more of Ignatius describing the traditional practices that he uses on his farm.
On this day, enjoy a lovely description of the storied layers of the symbolic Irish Shamrock.
Happy St. Patty’s Day!
Our visit to the ruined poorhouse at Bawnboy in County Cavan was sobering and we had a lot of questions to ask of this austere building. The site is not open to the general public so our audio provides a glimpse. The hair on our arms stood up as we surveyed these broken buildings, their chimneys heavy with trees and windows blown.
Built to house 500 men, women and children and opened in 1852, the poorhouse was on way of addressing the poverty and destitution brought on by the Irish potato famine. The poorhouse was supposed to be grim, it was hoped that only ” the deserving poor” would seek its refuge, saving tax payers money. In order to keep costs down the governors even questioned the provision of supper to inmates! Families were cruelly segregated in an iron regime where harsh punishments were metred out for such actions as simply speaking to passers by. Only children were permitted to go out at all.
The building was later used by the community for a variety of purposes and some of it was even turned into private accommodation before finally reaching total dereliction. (Information sourced from: http://www.irishidentity.com/stories/bawnboyworkhouse.htm)
Listen here to our fears for the Geopark and decide for yourself – are our words romantic indulgence or premonition?
A very big and real threat now hangs over “our” Geopark and its beloved people, places and things. A license has been issued to the powerful mining company, Tamboran Resources, for the extraction of shale gas within the Geopark using the controversial process of “fracking.”
Far from Ireland Claire and I have been blogging away without doing anything until one day we realised that some of the most precious nature reserves are threatened along with the fresh water supply and clean air. We have written to Fermanagh Councillors with our concerns. Read our letter and the responses of individuals here – Dear Anna and Claire.
We agree with Councilor, Barry Doherty, (Sinn Fein) for Erne West when he says “We have so much natural beauty above and below the ground in this part of the world that to even contemplate fracking this area is surprising if not down right crazy.”
We join present inhabitants, organisations and councilors in demanding a moratorium on the license so that the Geopark vision keeps strong and the people, places and things of all Ireland remain vital and alive.
We cycled to an old church up the lane near our campsite at Holywell, Belcoo. Listen here as we speak the names of the local ancestors from the headstones into our handheld audio recorder.
Now we read local home place names of the Geopark ancestors and though some of them are by now familiar we can’t help our mispronunciations – do excuse!
Map: a visual representation of an area; a symbolic depiction
highlighting relationships between elements such as objects, regions, and themes.
As you can imagine, maps were important on our DREAMING PLACE
traveling residency, in more than one way!
We often depended on them to be shown places and information by others and to navigate roadways, paths, fields, parks and estates.
We mapped our journey in sound and in drawing and in some ways on this blog. We also discussed creating interactive maps as an outcome from the residency. These maps may still be on the way….stay tuned!
But there is really something special about maps that draw on senses other than sight for their creation or perception. Here is one example……
“…Marshallese navigational charts are not like our western-style maps; fishermen didn’t use them to measure distance or count miles. Instead, they used them as memory aids, reviewing them before a journey but not bringing them along. It is said that a fishermen would study his charts, leave them behind, and then lie on his back in the canoe, the better to feel the rise and fall of the ocean swells. He interpreted the map with his body memory, not with his eyes.”
Creative ideas can be illusive. If you approach them too quickly or too directly, they may turn tail and be lost. But like wild creatures they can be lured from their hideouts if conditions are favorable, perhaps at a particular time of day by a special treat. A ritual pot of tea, a piece of music, the sound of a waterfall or a beautiful pattern.
It may be enough to go outdoors and sit on a tree stump to allow the ideas to flow. It’s exciting to consider some of the forms and patterns we observe outdoors have companion patterns inside our bodies;, the swirl on our finger tips, the filigree of veins and in the very patterns of our lives and relationships.
So enjoy your shower or walk the edge of the lough and let the bubbles rise.
These Dreaming Place audio footprints were recorded at the watery edge of Lough McNean, Marble Arch Caves Geopark.
In our wanderings through the landscapes of the Marble Arch Caves Geopark, we came across many incredible decaying homesteads, architectural remnants of abandoned dreams left to be reclaimed by plants, land, water and weather.
It is as if abandoned architecture and belongings continue
to poignantly describe the cycles of history:
“better days” along with famine, economic hardship, immigration and
the forgotten dreams of this place.
Claire has a moment of revelation beside the waters of Poll Sumera, a magical place on the lower slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain. It is here that the waters that gather in the folds of the mountain’s flanks disappear into a labrynthine network of underground rivers to re-emerge sometime later at the fabled birthplace of the famous River Shannon; Shannon Pot.
Remember this lovely springer spaniel from the beginning of our journey? It turns out that scientists agree with us that non-human dreamers, like this lovely 4-legged, have a rich dream life.
So, according to scientists (as represented on Wikipedia’s dream page), “Sleeping and dreaming are intertwined….REM sleep and the ability to dream seem to be embedded in the biology of many organisms that live on Earth. All mammals experience REM. The range of REM can be seen across species: dolphins experience minimum REM, while humans remain in the middle and the opossum and the armadillo are among the most prolific dreamers.”
Apparently there have been studies that have “observed dreaming in monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, elephants and shrews [and] ….There have also been signs of dreaming in certain birds and reptiles.
Here is another interesting twist offered on Wikipedia:
In 1954 the theta rhythm was discovered by two scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles when experimenting with rabbits, shrews, moles and rats. The theta rhythm is the oscillatory pattern of electric activity in the brain. [Interesting discovery, but the idea of experimenting on animals makes me cringe!] This discovery lead to a commentary published in 1972 that explained differences in Theta Rhythm where defined by respective animal behaviors. Awake animals showed high Theta Rhythm when behaving in ways that where crucial to their survival, for example: eating and reproducing. This apparently was a response to a changing environment. The theta rhythm occurs during REM and studies suggest it “reflected a neural process whereby information that is essential to the survival of the species” is gathered throughout the day and is “reprocessed into memory during REM sleep”. In conclusion: “dreams may reflect a memory-processing mechanism inherited from lower species”.
Some scientists argue that humans dream for the same reason other mammals do. From a Darwinian perspective dreams would have to fulfill some kind of biological requirement or provide some benefit for natural selection to take place. Antti Revonsuo, a professor at the University of Turku in Finland, claims that centuries ago dreams would prepare humans for recognizing and avoiding danger by presenting a simulation of threatening events. This threat-simulation theory was presented in 2000.
This makes sense in a way, as we humans are in fact mammals. But how, I wonder, does this theory fit into modern human dreaming patterns? If dreams served to prepare us for danger in the past, what purposes do they serve now?
If you would prefer a religious/spiritual perspective over science, here is another take:
“God sleeps in stone, breathes in plants, dreams in animals, and awakens in man”
– Hindu Proverb
We climbed in the wide branches of two famous, ancient, entwined male and female Yew trees on the Crom estate. They are reputedly the oldest Yew trees in Ireland and possibly in all of Europe. According to the National Trust website, the trees were planted in the 17th Century, but other websites proclaim the trees to be much older – as many as 800 years.
The Yew Tree is now a rarity in Ireland, but the tree still has a mythic cultural prominence. Rich in mythology, symbolism and historic and prehistoric cultural uses, Yew trees are shrouded with mystery and power. The large, majestic trees have a commanding presence, not least because all parts of the Yew tree contain poisonous alkaloids, except for the bright red arils encasing its seeds.
As we climbed, swung and perched in the grand branches of the trees, we mused about the dreams shared and the hundreds of years of history witnessed by the arboreal pair. What do Yew trees dream of? How many dreamers have taken refuge in the protection of these trees and which of their dreams were caught in the great web of their branches?
We are sure that dreams and yew trees are tied up together somehow and here is a bit of proof. Read about a Yew dream from the 1600’s “Somnium ex Eubernea porta” from Mrs. Cl., of S. here.
For more information about Yew trees visit the Ancient Yew Group at www.ancient-yew.org.
Dream Egg and Nest created by Rae Dunn
In some ways, dreams are like eggs. After they are “laid”, given time, the right conditions, care, attention and incubation, they may hatch! The New Year is an apropos time to identify and reflect on one’s Dream Egg(s). We’d love to hear about them! (Dream Eggs can be shared in the comments field below.)
During our traveling residency in the MAC Geopark we embarked upon a dream “egg hunt”, a detective game of sorts to find dreams hiding in unexpected places.
Margaret Gallagher shared this beauty of a dream with us over a lovely breakfast at her thatched cottage.
Listen below to hear about her “dream egg” close at hand: