Posts tagged ‘Marble Arch Caves Geopark’
Radio Dreaming Pod Tour: Marble Arch Caves Geopark, Éire/Northern Ireland
25 April – 17 May 2013 Claire Coté (New Mexico) and Anna Keleher (Devon)
Part listening booth, part Place-Dreamer tool-kit, Anna and Claire’s roving off-grid installation features voices of Marble Arch Caves Geopark. A 5-part radio adventure, Radio Dreaming whisks you over-ground and underground in search of edible landscapes, wild dreams and myths of the land. Visitors to the Pod are invited to share a pot of tea, step aboard to listen or simply to dream.
Catch the pod at MAC visitor Centre 5th May 10am-5pm, Enniskillen Castle Museum courtyard, Mon 6th May 10am-5pm, Green Lake opening 15th May, 7-9pm Cavan town or look out for the Place-Dreamer Pod as it tours to off-grid locations in Cavan, Fermanagh and Leitrim through 17th or May.
Visit www.dreamingplace.eu/pod for info and venue updates.
There are many ways to find out more about a place. You can read up about it, swim in it, ask locals for stories, watch birds or go on a hike. As artists and Place Dreamers we have invented a tool for use in the field, which gives great insights. We used it a lot at MAC Geopark to help us obtain glimpses the unknown. It happens like this:-
1. We spread our our DREAMING PLACE mat; a blue ripstop nylon groundsheet that stops ticks from crawling onto us while we dream and keeps out the wet
2. We lie down and look up at the sky
3. We cover our eyes
4. We do nothing
5.We watch as images and sometimes sounds drift into view
6. We record the content of our “dream” either by telling each other about it, writing it down or by making an audio recording
So here we are on a millstone grit bluff on top of Cuilcagh mountain in the borderlands of Northern Ireland and Éire. It’s a place as much “on the edge” as anywhere I know. It has magnificent views over tarns and on the other side of the blanket bogs are incredibly green limestone hills. I’m speaking into my audio recorder about ancient Cuilcagh ecologies.
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.
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.
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:
Are dreams wild?
To help us discover more about Wildness we posed the question, “What is wild?” to Martina Magee, Geopark Development Officer and Education Director for Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
Listen to Martina’s response here:
On the theme of WILD….During an interview with cave geologist Les Brown he spoke about WILD CAVES…..which intrigued us. He explained that Show caves such as Marble Arch Caves (Marble Arch Caves Geopark) and Kents Cavern (English Riviera Geopark) have been altered to accommodate visitors, yet wild caves remain unmodified by humans and retain their essential wild nature. Find our recent post with Les Brown here.
We dreamt our collaboration into existence with 4 legs, 2 noses and 2 x 6th sense.
During our traveling residency, we “dreamed the world” in our own collaborative image by encountering two headed animals.
A two headed, two armed kid on the ferry cavorting up on deck in spitting rain alerted us to our double headed state;
a donkey with two heads watched us pass from an emerald field,
a double yellow kayak held us in its smile,
we laughed and cried,
the twin cultures of Cavan (Eire) and Fermanagh (N.Ireland) welcomed us,
we walked a bridge linking two cultures,
we spoke and were silent,
we dreamed by day and night,
we laughed at the double entendre,
we met Geopark officers from both sides of the border,
we listened to two trees kissing,
we remembered and we forgot,
we caught the landscape gazing at its reflection,
we experimented with ancient and modern,
we followed a bifurcation,
we walked a ridge joining two borders,
we looked east and west,
we ate breakfast side by side,
we spoke and listened,
we matched-up splitting images, played at duppies, captured mirror images with our cameras while the hills reflected in the sky,
we heard the drip, drip of water as it echoed into a cave,
we dreamt double,
we learned of old and new traditions,
we drew from twin imaginations,
we did science and art,
we pedaled sister bikes,
we heard how Bridget and her dad saw two houses where there was once one and thought they were tipsy,
we learnt Gallic and English names of towns and people,
our nostrils smelled in tendem,
we followed two rivers,
we minded and not minded,
we saw through the looking glass,
we worked with dual purpose,
we dreamed up past and future lives.