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The Magic to be Found in Ireland

A few weeks ago, my wife and I travelled to Ireland to spend a long weekend with a couple of American friends there on holiday, to experience the mystic of the Emerald Island. There we were lucky to be blessed with sunny days with only a few calm Irish clouds.

We climbed some small mountains and walked through old forests – as I’m still reminded by my protesting muscles! We generally had a lovely time. There are two things we did which I think deserve special mention.

First of all, we went inside a small ancient castle that overlooked the wide silver ocean. It brought on thoughts of times long past. Just as we were about to leave something crawled out of a hole at the bottom side of the wall to shock us all, especially the female American, who jumped behind me with a mistaken belief of my willingness to take on this ghostly vision. Thankfully I didn’t need to live up to this expectation, as it turned out to be a young tourist from California, and the hole led to stairs that took us right to the roofless top!

Up there the sights, the atmosphere, and the pictures they produced in our minds turned a quick look around into a deeper experience and more fulfilling set of emotions, I certainly took to wondering how life could have been three hundred years before.

The second experience of note, which for me was the sweeter, occurred at a small country fair. As we happily looked over the unpretentious stalls with their carved figures, delicious smelling food and a whole lot more, I came across a limping poet with a white beard and friendly dog. His name was Kieran Cullen. Being a poet myself we got into a bit of conversation about the subject. A kind fellow he was, and I fell in love with a particular poem he had carved onto a piece of wood:

THE EPITAPH

Were you ever up on Carrokeel

When the moon was full and high

When clouds were scarce

And the stars they danced

Across the Northern sky.

That’s the place I like to be

Where boundaries don’t exist

And far off Benbulben is shrouded

In downy mist

Where Knocknarea and the Ox

Lies far off to the west

That’s the place where time stands still

The place where I’ll find rest.

   

We finally parted ways wishing each other the very best of luck with our poems. 

One day I’ll return to that peaceful Celtic land, and who knows, maybe he’ll still be at that market, carving his wonderful words on wood. 

Until then I will immerse myself in writing another book of poems.

Wishing you a happy face over these next few weeks.

Mark