Four four years I have taken a small group of people to my Ireland, my ancestral homeland. Ireland is magical place; wonderful countryside, fantastic people who genuinely love Americans, phenomenal music, great food (really), incredible photo ops, wonderful sacred sites, and much, much more. This year's tour was unsurpassed in the level of enchantment. What makes these tours so special are the people who come on them, who participate in a chance to help, in our own humble way, heal the sacred lines of energy of the planetary grid structure, and make the world a better place. Most people who go to Ireland, take photos and drink Guinness. We do that too, but we give something back... through the healing intention of love and compassion, and this makes for a most magical enchanting tour. The follow photos are just a small selection of moments of our trip...and images can only begin to explain the essence.... the real magic is in the experience.... enjoy....
We begin each tour with a short orientation, things to expect and some common rules to make the whole experience better for everyone (like the buddy system... so no one gets lost... we even have a secret buddy system)... Here we are in a park in Limerick..... and Stoney, our wonderful tour guide, highlights some important aspects of making a tour like this so successful. Thanks, Stoney.
I invited Adam (fiddle) and John (guitar) to play a few tunes after I closed with a poem by John O'Donohue and Paddy recited the Lord's Prayer in Gaelic (you can see the labyrinth off to the left hand side as well. The magic begins....on our trip.
After playing a few songs to begin our sacred ceremony at the ancient monastery known as Glendalough (with two round towers), these guys just kept on playing..... Jon and Adam both live in Colorado, and are friends of mine. I invited them on this tour, as well as two other musicians (Dan and Ann) so we could have some great music at our beck and call. Boy ... were we spoiled.... Not only did Jon and Adam enchant the spirits, they enchanted us as well.
This is the original wall of the famous Clontarf Castle, some say over 1,000 years old. It's well preserved and makes for a great sight in the hotel lobby. The banners hanging here reveal a hsitory of the castle with various hallmarks along the 1,000 years of history. Very cool.
After our first group dinner in the castle, we had a night of incredible traditional Irish music with our group musicians....Adam and Ann on fiddle, Jon on Banjo (Dan on Guitar on far left) and everyone's feet tapping ...all night long... WOW! (even the waiters were impressed.)
This place alone, is worth the price of admission. No photos are allowed to be taken of the Book of Kells, in an adjacent room, but you can photograph this room all you wish... and for good reason... it's stunning.
Inside the Trinity College Library you will find the famous symbol of Ireland, the harp. It is said to have belonged to the the Iconic Celtic Leader, Brian Boru, but most likely not. But if makes for a great story.....
Ireland had over 300 wells (perhaps several hundred more). Water is considered a symbol of the divine and many sacred sites are often found near these wells. Many wells are associated with St. Brigid, a Pagan Goddess adopted into the Catholic Church as a Saint. This photo was taken by our guide, Michael Fox.
Sheela Na Ghee (sp) is a representation of a fertility Godess. While most have been destroyed by the Catholic church, this one, hidden for centuries in a stone wall and now made accessible is in great condition.
This incredibly well preserved portal tomb is a hidden gem. Found on private property, our tour guide has special access to it which made for an incredible sacred healing ceremony. What looks rather small outside, is actually quite large inside.
These guys were GREAT. No other way to say it. From the classic bar songs (No, Neh, Never and Molly Malone, even new classics like Steve Earl's Galway Girl) to the Bodhran solo's these guys rocked the house and was surely a highlight of the trip.
An arial view of the Hill of Tara, circles within circles at sunrise. A place of power and a very powerful place, indeed. I took this photo from a photo display at the entrance of the site. If you look carefully, you can see the Stone of Destiny in the middle of the top circle.
What was supposed to be a quick bathroom stop turned into a big delight as we discovered a statue in honor of the Beltane Stone Circle, which made for a perfect setting for a group photo. Those in our group who do healing touch recognized one of the healing symbols in the hands of the statue.
Dan plays/sings a few songs inside the stone circle, as did Adam, Jon and Ann, for was nothing less than a wonderful healing ceremony to this sacred site. I read a a poem by John O'Donohue and Paddy recited the Lord's Prayer in Irish/Gailic...It was a magical day, indeed.
After a little music, prayers, poems and meditation, the group fanned out to do some healing work with the stones. Here Bev is doing some healing touch with one stone in the stone circle. Each stone not only has a vibration but when placed in proximity, the entire circle of stones hums with a unified vibration.
The Beltane Stone Circle is an ancient neolithic site, the biggest stone circle in all of Ireland, that honors the cross quarter day of Beltane... May 1st, or May day. This photo was taken quite a way's from the actual circle, with a wide angle lens to capture the whole thing...
The food was excellent (perhaps the best I have ever had in Ireland), the view of the beach (and forthcoming sunset was unbelievable) but what this night most magical was the music. With a critical mass of musicians, phone calls were made and more people kept showing up. At one point, I think I counted at least five fiddles. Everyone agreed it was the best night of the trip...
After some down time at the Castle after a visit to the Beltane Stone Circle, we headed to a place for dinner called Smuggler's Creek which offers an amazing view of the beach and the bay to Killybegs.
I met a gentleman, a local from the area who told me that there are about four great sunsets per year at Rossanlaugh Beach per summer... and we caught one of them.. The luck of the Irish.
Ireland is known for its beautiful wool sweaters ( I have bought several) and where you have sweaters, you have sheep. This young fella was enjoying the ocean view at Slieve League, like the rest of us. As they say in Ireland, no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing... Exactly!
County Donegal is famous for these beautiful cliffs called Slieve Leauge, reported to be some of the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe. Some our our group hiked a path toward the top, others simply enjoyed the quite time to reflect and meditate.... all in all quite magical.
Our tour guide in the folk park described to use the different styles of homes in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Many houses (600-900 square feet, perhaps) would have as many as 8-12 people living in them...Our tour guide explained that this was the kind of house he grew up in in Glencolmcill.
Ann pulled out her fiddle and bow and gave us goosebumps with a wonderful rendition of an old Irish tune. Music really adds to our experience at these sacred sites as they no doubt add a whole new dimension to the healing energies we impart to Mother Earth here.
Dan sang a lovely song at the first stone as we walk along the road where four stones are spaced in the course of about 1-2 miles. This particular standing stone has carvings on both front and back...carved and placed here before the seeds of Christianity were sown. Now these stones are forgotten by many, yet still people come from far and wide to make the pilgrimage of the 13+ standing stones on a path of about 10 miles or so.
At the last stone pillar on this pilgrim walk, we again included some prayers, lots of healing energy, and of course some great music, as played by Adam in this photo... The Glencolmcill valley is simply magical.... a must see for all people headed to County Donegal.
We pride our Spirit of Ireland tours with several private house concerts of traditional Irish music, here featuring Chris Cassidy and his musical partner Ann on fiddle. An excellent night of wonderful music. Each region of Ireland is known for it's own style of music. As I often say, if you don't hear the music, you don't see Ireland... It's true.