I prepare to leave Ireland with the usual mix of sadness that it’s over and eagerness to be home. We’ve spent two luxurious nights with the ghosts at Markree castle, we’ve climbed Knocknarea to visit Queen Maeve and celebrated with hot whiskeys at “our” local pub in Strandhill. We’ve been entertained with stories and chants by Noirin Ni Riain, one of Ireland’s best-known musicians. It has been a feast of the senses.
We have been here over Samhain in Ireland, like the Dias de los Muertos in Spanish speaking countries, and All Saints/All Souls days in the Christian tradition. It is said that the veil between the realms is thin at these times and it has certainly felt that way, the ancestors very close, reaching out, wanting to be remembered and for us to re-member them, take them into our bodies and hearts.
The ancient grey rocks, the bright green pastures, the mossy ivy-covered bent and tortured trees, all speak to us of the spirit in everything, close by whether we recognize it or not, never more than a breath away.
I am at home here in a way I don’t understand. It is in my body, my soul, that I feel it like nowhere else. It has happened each of the three times I’ve been here. I am captured by some magic in the place, especially on this rugged wild west coast. I leave a different person, more grounded, centred, connected than before. I am full.
I leave my prints on the Irish trees
As they leave their prints on me.
I leave my soul on the Wild West Way
Where the faery hammocks lay,
Their beautiful mandalas in the ferns,
Their gossamer magic on display.
What a land this is, this ancient soil
To summon forth our deepest wells
From times long gone and with us still
Calling, calling from the verdant hills,
Calling to we whose turn it is
To laugh and weep and dance and rhyme
Awake, awake, while there is time.