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Bards in the Woods at the Cavan Burren.

26 May

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Yesterday our Bards in the Woods gathering was at the newly opened Cavan Burren park. We had been to the park previously but it is now much improved with new roads and pathways and an unmanned interpretive  centre. There’s even some very clean public loos…

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and a covered picnic area.

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Spirits were high as we set off. Usually the views from here are amazing but yesterday was a very mizzly (mix of mist and drizzle) day.  A lot of money has been spent here…almost a million…and it’s still free to the public. Great new path here to this previously inaccessible area.

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Soon we were at Tullygobban Hill Wedge Tomb.

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Soon the bards and singers were in fine voice. Poems and songs came thick and fast. First class entertainment. In between there was lots of chatting…about the history and folklore of the place and of course catching up with people we hadn’t seen in ages.

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Our next stop was at the Boulder Grave. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of cremated remains here. Ancient rock art on the front of this huge stone.

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Lots of other huge boulders here too. These are glacial erratics which would have been dropped by the receding ice as the Ice Age came to an end. There’s also a spring well nearby.

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Interesting rock art here too…

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plus some dodgy looking fertlers hanging about. Only kidding! That’s my husband Andy and Tony Cuckson who played guitar and sang as we all had our picnic later. Such a beautiful voice he has too. The dog is called Obe. He is deaf and is reputed to be able to see the fairy folk.

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At this point the group split in two. Some people went on the steep climb up to the Giant’s Grave while the rest of us went to the more accessible Calf House Dolmen.

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The name calf house is because this was used at one point to house small farm animals. Originally the large slab would have sat on top of uprights to resemble a table. This monument is also known as the Druid’s Altar.

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Here Jan entertained us with a wonderful story about a witch called Alys.

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People are said to have lived in this place continuously until the 1960s.

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Beautiful stone walls here. I wonder how long since these were constructed? Lovely Beech trees too.

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Another shot of Tony and Obe the fairy dog.

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Hart’s Tongue Fern.

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This sinkhole has only been discovered recently. It is well fenced off for safety.

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After a couple of hours we were feeling peckish so back to the picnic area where a great spread was laid. Everyone brings a contribution for the picnic table. We had salad, sandwiches, hummus, olives and a multitude of sweet offerings. I made an Orange and Almond cake which you can see in the pic. It was all devoured gratefully in the midst of chat and song. A fitting end to a lovely afternoon at this special place.

The Cavan Burren Park is part of the Marble Arch Global Geopark and is recognised by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). It comprises 124 hectares on the slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain. Megalithic tombs, hut sites, rock art, stone walls and glacial erratics survive here from pre-historic times.







Clogher stone fort.

10 May


After our explorations at Coolavin House (see previous post) we decided to visit Clogher Stone Fort. Just down the road it is on the lands of the Coolavin Estate.


The entrance is under the stone arch and through this lovely iron gate. I believe this is called a kissing gate.


A short walk through an area with some lovely trees…mostly Beeches…brings one to the fort.


Sitting atop the hill in all it’s glory is the ancient fort.



The walls are 15 feet thick and about 10 feet high. It would have taken a lot of labour to build this so it would have belonged to a fairly wealthy family. It is estimated to have been built about 2,000 years ago.



It would have been built for defensive purposes. ..the family  living in huts within the compound. Amazing to think that 2,000 years ago our ancestors would have been climbing these steps to survey the countryside for friend or foe on the horizon.



There are 2 souterrains within the fort. Souterrains are believed to have been used to store perishable foodstuffs and as hiding places during raids. These ones are also said to lead on to tunnels which emerge about a mile away.


We really had a lovely time here amongst the trees and the stones…two of my favourite things.






9 May


Whilst driving to Sligo from Ballaghaderreen a few weeks ago I spotted the above sign.  A Victorian Gothic Mansion for sale! Had to be checked out! A few enquiries revealed that the house was empty. The last resident had passed away a few years ago.


With my friend Justine in tow off we went to check it out. Well if I won the lottery I could be a potential purchaser!  Isn’t it just beautiful? Built in 1850 Coolavin House is  in great repair even though it looks like not much has been done to it since it was built. Even the windows are original…



and all the beautiful cast iron gutters are intact.


Beautiful archway and front door.


Lots of lovely antiques visible through the windows.


This stuffed bird has seen better days.


If only old places could tell their stories. I’m sure this place has many a tale to tell.


Really enjoyed looking round this old place. Could even imagine living there…


but the reality is I didn’t win the lottery…actually as usual I forgot to buy a ticket…and the place is already sale agreed. C’est la vie!

The Stone Circle.

19 Sep


On the way home from Terra Nova on Saturday last, (see previous post), we simply had to stop at the stone circle at Grange. Stone circles are fairly common in Ireland and stand as a reminder of our Celtic heritage. Considering they were all built 4 or 5 thousand years ago it’s amazing they are still standing. A testament to the skill of the builders. A people many like to think of as primitive… I think not!


This circle is the largest in Ireland…150 feet in diameter.  The largest stone is 13 feet high and estimated to weigh 40 tons. Some feat to move that into position. No heavy machinery in those days but of course people worked together to achieve community goals.


The entrance to the circle is on the east side and locals say the rising sun on the Summer Solstice reaches the exact centre of the circle. Others say it is aligned to the rising sun at Lunasagh.


There are over a hundred stones in all and the outside of the circle is surrounded by a wide bank of earth.


There are 2 other stone circles and a standing stone nearby but we were happy to spend some time absorbing the vibe here before heading off on the 3 and a half hour drive back home to Roscommon.

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