I must apologize. Somehow WordPress changed my settings or else I did something unwittingly, and all my email notifications were turned off. I wondered why my email box was empty! I’ve tried to reset them today!
The Isle of Skye is the most amazing place and if you are ever in that part of the world I highly recommend a visit. Truly, rush hour in the highlands is a road full of meandering sheep so you must change all previous ideas of time and go with the less anxious flow of a breathtaking and ancient landscape.
and morning at the Torc waterfalls in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland
By the way I did not bring my tripod and I managed a slower shutter speed hand held!! ( not great but not bad!)
This is the month for all things ghostly and Ed Mooney is having his Spooktacular challenge for Samhain and Hallow’s Eve. I will be searching my archives or taking a John Adams Ghost Tour through Victoria in the hopes of coming up with more sites and events suitable. In the meantime I’m gearing up with images from Muckross Abbey in County Kerry.
I did not get a sense of anything wicked lurking in the halls of the old Abbey though it had a violent history through the centuries of raids and Cromwellian persecution. It had been built by the gentle Franciscan order and when my footsteps echoed in the upper rooms, I of course wondered if I was alone. How many footsteps had walked these galleries and might still be walking in the moonlight? At one point I couldn’t help myself! A vision of my old Catholic choir master appeared and as there were very few visitors that day (and hoping no one would think me too mad), I gave myself over. In the vaulted tower that was once alive with the sound of chants and hymns, of matins, vespers and compline, my intonations followed those begun centuries ago, drifting in a silent wave on their journey toward the seraphim.
My Kyrie eleison ( very humbly recorded at the abbey)
the song room
However, it’s a different story in the cemetery itself. There is a tale of a malevolent being called the “Brown Man” who according to witnesses was seen in the night at a freshly dug grave feeding on a corpse. The area is still claimed to be haunted.
Ed Mooney, the Ruin Hunter and author of Ed Mooney Photography on WordPress has got me going. He promises a ruin hunter badge. Well, we don’t have many ruins in Canada but we do have some interesting history such as that of The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson’s Bay. It was founded in 1670 as a fur trading and exploration enterprise, and now is known as “The Hudson’s Bay Company” or more succinctly “The Bay,” a very successful Canadian retail establishment.
While visiting Kirkwall in the Orkney’s, I walked between the beautiful Gothic pillars of St. Magnus, an old and historic Viking Cathedral. Originally built in 1137 it is named after a martyred Norse earl, Magnus Erlendsson who had converted to Christianity.
St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall
At the end of the center aisle I found a great surprise and one I’m ashamed to say, I had not read or heard about in my history books during school days. In a shadowed corner to the side of the main sanctuary there rests a man in leather and furs with a rifle and a book beside him. Tired from his endeavours he has fallen peacefully asleep.
It is John Rae, not a saint but rather an unsung hero, and another intrepid Scottish explorer of the “new world.” He was born in the Orkneys, near Stromness, studied medicine in Edinburgh, and in 1836 joined the Hudson’s Bay Company of Adventurers exploring the northernmost regions of Canada. Rae, became one of the first Europeans to winter in the arctic without a supply ship by living in the manner of the native Inuit.
In 1845 The Franklin Expedition set out to look for a Northwest Passage. Months became years but they never returned. Search parties were finally sent out in 1849 to no avail. In 1854 John Rae heard stories from the Inuit and with them was able to locate a few relics and some of the remains of the lost explorers, including what appeared and was later confirmed to be, cannibalized human bones. His private report to the British Admiralty on the tragic fate of the Expedition was “shocking and unwelcome.”
Rae returned to England in his later years. He was awarded the Royal Geographical Society Founder’s Gold Medal and ten thousand pounds for solving the Franklin mystery. However, he was never given the recognition he deserved, because of Lady Franklin’s effort to suppress the findings and to glorify her husband’s expedition in the public eye.
He died in London in 1893. His body was brought back home to the Orkneys and is buried in the kirkyard cemetery. His statue reads “John Rae, Arctic Explorer.”
I’m honoured to be part of Ed Mooney; The Ruin Hunter’s History Challenge. Ed’s blog has won many awards for his posts and photography of the historical sites of Ireland. Do visit his site if you haven’t already found him.
Here we are with yet another week of the Challenge. The last five weeks have flown by, and I got some more great images for you to see. This week we travel around England, Ireland, Scotland and then across Europe to Sicily. As always Im like a kid in a sweet shop and immediatly start googling these sites as they come in to find out all about their history. But as you all know, the Ruinhunter is a bit of a geek when it comes to such things. From the early Saxon Cross from Bakewell in Derbyshire to the Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. We then move on to the Neolithic Long Barrow of Wayland’s Smithy in Oxfordshire before travelling across the Irish Sea and down to Killarney National Park to see the famous Muckross Abbey. And with the winter chill slowly creeping in on us, we head off to a…
You can ignore this if you like and go straight to the image!! :D
Since getting back from my trip, a virus and dental surgery, prevent my energy from reaching it’s usual hyper state (a good thing? lol) and I have slowed down with blogging the last while. I think I read somewhere on Blogging Etiquette 101 that in order to be successful you must make a plan and stick to it on how often you intend to post- once a day, once a week etc etc. I can never be consistent or stick to any one plan myself! I do need time out once in awhile as many of us do.
A few bloggers I follow- photographers and storytellers seem to have disappeared entirely. I sent a couple messages but never heard back from them.
If I disappear I hope it will be into the Gobi Desert seeking ancient dragon bones like Roy Chapman. I might at last find a worm hole in my garden or perhaps a starry portal and end up in some wonderful historical era, or on a Pandora star system somewhere off the asteroid belt of Arcturus. Maybe I will find a few friends there too.
So here is my One Four Challenge from a great artist and photographer from down under- Robyn Gosby
a bit of fun with Dunvegan Castle
The Skye Boat Song Story
The tragic and last battle of the Jacobite Rebellion at Culloden Moor saw the valiant but poorly equipped Jacobites along with their French and Irish allies fighting the British Government forces in 1746. After a bloody and terrible defeat a courageous girl named Flora MacDonald from the Outer Hebrides helped Bonnie Prince Charlie (heir to James III of Scotland) escape by boat to Skye. Though many of the MacLeods fought with the Jacobite Glengarry Regiment, the ruling Dunvegan chief, Norman MacLeod, sided with the government and tried to find where the prince was hiding. Charles then fled to France.
As with King James, for a while some still hoped for better times “when the King comes back over the water.” but alas, it was never to be. The highland clearances or “expulsion of the Gael” continued on with many displaced clansmen leaving for the New World. Charles died in exile, a drunk and broken man.
Flora lived for a time in Dunvegan castle where one of her mementos, a lock of Charles’ hair, is on display along with letters and other artifacts of that turbulent time. She moved to America with her husband but returned to Skye later in life where she eventually died. Her statue stands in Inverness and the poignant “Skye Boat Song” is still played and sang today.