Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mystery tour

Get ready for a long post. But it's mostly pictures. It's called a Mysery Tour because it visits ancient sites that we can only guess about some of the meanings behind what's been found.

Three small buses took us to five historical/sacred sites within a short distance of Dublin today. Isn't this bus cute?

Aeman drove my bus, and he was an excellent guide with lots of interesting historical facts and stories to tell. He and another one of the drivers speak Irish/Gaelic. It's so beautiful when they speak it, quite poetic. No, we couldn't understand it, but they just recited some lovely song lyrics.

We stopped first at Fourknocks, where we took a group photo (photo after next) on top of the burial mound, which happens to be 5,000 years old. See the lady in the back row, third from the left, the one Glen is pointing at? She's not in our program. We're calling her the mystery lady.

Yes, that's me in the group photo with the only runaway hair of the bunch. What's up with that? Local magnetism? No one else's seems to be blowing in the wind.

We were all able to fit inside the burial chamber, where stones with designs, like this one by Inge, still puzzle scholars. This site is older than Stonehenge.

Aeman and the other two drivers took turns explaining the sites throughout the day.

Second we drove to Mellifont Abbey, a Cistercian monastery built in the 12th century.

By this second stop I had managed to calm my hair down, plus it was raining.

Third was Monasterboice, known for its amazing collection of Celtic crosses.

And some non-Celtic ones too.

Fourth, it was the Hill of Slane with its panoramic view, statue of St. Patrick, and climb-able ruins. It was here that St. Patrick lit the first paschal fires to defy the nearby Celtic kings at Tara.

The fifth and final destination was Tara, my favorite. This place is so special to me, I had to be quiet, away from the students. I let them play and run on the hengiform while I greeted the beech trees in the churchyard. Man, I hate that I can only visit them for 45 minutes once a year. By the way, I mistakenly thought the trees were yews until this year.

I love beech trees' smooth bark.

It was hard to leave my tree parents today.


Rauf said...

For mother earth this is just a few seconds ago Ruth. We have done our best to alienate ourselves when we are alive, but we become an integral part of the earth when we die, we become the elements. We ARE the elements but we have refused to think so. We think that we are individuals. We are not. We are the process, we are the network. we are the growth.
I am glad that you have understood that. When you hold a blade of grass in your hand, it is you.

Ruth said...

rauf, you said it.

I don't think a person knows this until he/she feels it, from inside. It is not head knowledge, even though we can think of it as true. It is heart knowledge.

Ginnie said...

I know you're in paradise, Ruth, when you are in these places. I told Donica yesterday, and then again just now (she's working from home today!), that we need to go to Ireland together. She has been several times without me and I was there too long ago. Next time, we will go together, maybe next year!

Ruth said...

Ginnie/Boots, so glad you and Donica will go together and share this fair isle. I become more attached to it with each visit.

freefalling said...

Gee you have a nice face, Ruth.

There is a book by Peter Carey called Bliss - at the end of the book it has the most beautiful description of dying - it encapsulates a lot of what Rauf was describing. Ever since I read it (when I was about 18) it tied me to the earth.
It's a wonderful book - I highly recommend it! (It's been made into a great movie too).

Ruth said...

Freefalling, I need to read that book and see that movie. It's ringing a bell too, like I've heard about it before, but not this directly. Thank you.

If there's anything I've learned in the past few years, it's that there's no difference between us, no boundaries, no "other."

Thanks for what you said about my face. Here's a smile for you. :)

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

SO enjoy seeing Ireland through your eyes Ruth ... I had a wonderful visit with my Mother, Sister and Auntie in the late 90's and did not want to return home ... it was a fantastic tour of the land ... seeing your view I realize just how much more there is waiting for me there one day ... our bus driver's name was Tommy O'Riley ... could listen to him talk all day long :)
~*~ Patty

Ruth said...

Patty, the Irish accent is like a song. The life and personality that usually goes along with the voice makes being with the Irish a real joy.