Ancient hearts

PS: I’m home at last and happily tired!!  I checked posts sporadically while gone but will try to catch up with all wordpress friends over the next couple of days!!

The Land of the Standing Stones by Paul Anderson ( thank you Vicki)


The Stones of Macrie Moor

In the heart of the beautiful island of Arran,  with purple heather blooming on the hillside and sheep grazing by an abandoned cottage, there is a moor where a collection of neolithic stone circles lie- five in all, including one at the entrance poetically named Fingal’s Cauldron. The only way to get to them is to walk through the fields which can take about 40 minutes or so.

Scotland is full of these Callanish stones which predate the pyramids of Egypt. Their meaning and origin is surrounded in mystery along with their builders. I visited the ones on the Orkneys last year and could not help but be drawn into their powerful energy.

The late, brilliant science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, wrote a novel,  “Rendezvous with Rama” about scientific explorers who discover an ancient unmanned space ship sailing  past our solar system to an unknown destination. Inside they find a living biosphere in strange triple patterns.  The vanished alien builders, along with their purpose and quest remain a mystery and as the craft heads out into deep space the scientists must abandon their investigation. Clarke ended the story with the main character back on earth and waking up in the night, forever wondering why the Ramans did everything in threes.

These stones give you the same sense of mystery, awe and wonder. What is the significance of five circles? Of course, the main theory concerning the placements of the circles is that it is related to the solstices and seasons which would have been spiritually significant to the early farmers of that era.

Please note the little bird on the right hand stone in the first photo. He is also on the stone in the last photo. He and I had the moor to ourselves alone and he flew from stone to stone as I paid my respects to the old, silent ones. Here is my poor bit of poetic meandering.

an ancient guardian reborn

Priest and bard

he flies from stone to stone in reverent song 

and remembers.


And here is a photo from the old Birnam Oak Grove in Dunkeld.  These are the oldest trees in Scotland dating back possibly 800 years and to MacBeth!  (Infrared)

birnam oak

Rendezvous with Rama can be found on Amazon and Goodreads for all you science fiction/fantasy buffs and is a worthy read.

Muckross Abbey

Killarney and County Kerry are beyond beautiful!! An area of high mountain peaks, glass lakes, a huge national park, dramatic coast and rolling hills it truly is like stumbling upon a magical Oz.

muckross gardens

When I return home I will organize my photos but for now I was very taken with the wonderful and historic place of Muckross  Abbey and house. It is a major ecclesiastic site founded by the Franciscans in the 1400’s. Muckross house is a huge estate of woodland waterfalls (the Torc) and lovely gardens. The house was built by a Scottish architect and privately owned by one family. It was later donated to the Irish nation and is now part of the National Park.

muckross house (1 of 1)a

Muckross House


And my contribution to Leanne Cole and Laura Macky’s Monochrome Madness

The abbey courtyard hallway
courtyard hall

A few wanderings on the magic Isle

( just a few!)

It’s wonderful to be back in Ireland again!

-Oh, and by the way, The Queen is still Queen of Scotland!! I’m not sure what to think of that as we watched the news of the results of the Scottish referendum in Ireland.

In Dublin we had supper at the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland at a location that’s been  an inn or tavern since the 1100’s- great lamb stew and Bailey’s Cheesecake to die for! There was great “Craic” in a pub in Cork where we listened to the traditional Irish Music that I love.

The Wicklow mountains are breathtaking and there is a lake deep inside the mountain heart that is the jewel in the glen. The mist added to the atmosphere of history and wild beauty but for most of our stay the weather remained quite mild and often sunny.  Everywhere in Ireland, especially in the countryside you can turn a corner and come upon a grand estate behind the trees or a ruined castle on a hill.

Yes, that is me kissing the blarney stone  though it’s really not necessary as I already have the gift in my blood ( or so I think).  However, I should say, I am not a talker as a rule but if you get me started on a subject dear to me then you pretty much have to knock me on the head to shut me up.

As an interest to photographers, Father Francis Browne sailed on the Titanic,  boarding at Southampton and disembarking at Queenstown ( now Cobh) on orders of his Jesuit superiors.  While on board he took the superb (now famous) photos of life aboard the great ship before she sailed to her final, tragic destiny. He remained a keen photographer all his life.

I’ve written a bit more on the historic sites of  Ireland on my google blogger “Gateways and Journeys”  so as time is limited  I will leave this post as is and get ready to go and enjoy Killarney.

Do visit Ed Mooney for his histories of old ruins in Ireland.

The Real Scotland! I’m back in the Highlands again!

This is my vision of the true Scotland, the misty mountain, moor and glen of the Highlands. These were taken from the summit of the Ben Nevis range near Fort William, loved by hikers, mountain bikers and skiers, to the beautiful glens of Glencoe known for the infamous event where the Macdonalds invited the Campbell’s  for supper and the Campbells repaid  by murdering their hosts as they slept, including women and children (truncated version).  So life imitated art -reminiscent of the play about MacBeth’s ambitious treachery written in the 1600s!!

There is still a pub somewhere in the vicinity whose sign reads “Campbell’s are not welcome” over 350 years later!

At the moment the Scottish referendum is a resounding YES amongst highlanders and we shall soon see the historic outcome and ramifications. I am wishing the best for them on all fronts.

I also visited the beautiful island of Arran on the Firth of Clyde where Robert the Bruce is said to have encountered the spider (Try, try and try again) while hiding in one of the sea caves. It inspired him onward in his fight. Also the beautiful Macrie Moor with the standing stones and Fingal’s cauldron is there.

Castles and churches will follow in another post!  Travelling can be tiring and am not always able to get on line! I hope you enjoy my Scotland!

This will be my contribution to Leanne’s Monochrome Madness

Rosslyn Chapel

Scotland’s got light!! and much more!

I am at my B&B in a state of exalted exhaustion and a chance to catch up a little with emails and  posts as I can – and a post of my own.  My notebook is painstakingly slow so this will be it for awhile!!

One thing that strikes you in Scotland is the wonderful light!! I saw it the very first time I visited. It truly is a photographer’s dream and I’ve been taking lots of pictures. Even when the sky is stormy there is a radiance going on and a light show amidst the clouds. Here and there beacons of light are flung out from the tumultuous gallop.

Scotland’s stories are many and brave; from the stone of destiny and the throne of Scone* mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth “when we are crowned at Scone,” to the poignant loyalty of a little dog; Greyfriar’s Bobby.  There is the tragic battle and defeat at Culloden where the Highlanders, supported by Ireland and France, were outnumbered and out-weaponed  by the English troops during the last Jacobite rebellion. After, there followed a brutal repression and the devastating land clearances of the highlands.

The stories and courage of the Black Watch Regiment of the 19th and 20th century are also legendary

The referendum and vote of yes or no to an independent Scotland will be later this month. I’ll be in Ireland then but will be following that with interest.


A few Scottish landscape impressions and I’m off to the fairy glen on the Black Isle tomorrow.

*(Scone is pronounced Scune and not to be confused with scones!)


And here is my contribution to Leanne Cole and Laura Macky’s Monochrome Madness this week

memento mori

memento mori

from Greyfrars Kirk in Edinburgh

Bon Voyage and Happy Labour Day Weekend to all

And we’re off – first stop Scotland



The land of golf, haggis, and men in kilts

some of my favourite Scots


 and the late, great Robin Williams on Golf

(some profanity of course)





Our favourite road sign in Dublin















and some lovely Irishmen

and our favourite bus driver Stephen

and our favourite bus driver Stephen