Ireland: Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The weather has changed and it has been raining for most of the day. A very good day to sit in Meadowfield’s dining room and work on the manuscript for the book. It got to be around 1:30 when I thought I would walk over to the village for a sandwich and a cup of tea. I put my rain jacket on to prepare for my walk and was surprised that the rain had stopped and that the air was warm and balmy. The walk to the village only took a few minutes and soon I was seated at a one person table in Logue’s Lodge and had ordered my sandwich and tea. I brought along a book that PJ Curtis wrote and gave to me when we met last Saturday, “The Lightning Tree”.  I’m in the habit of bringing something to read when I go there for lunch or to have my supper. The last time I ate at Logue’s I brought along a small publication about the Burren to read. The text consisted of the usual information about the Burren –the dry stone walls, Cliffs of Moher, Poulnabrone, etc. At the very back of the publication I found this that I wanted to record and pass on:

“Despite man’s long presence in the area, it is the spirituality of the Burren that a surprising number of people find most striking. They can see “as in a glass darkly” the hand of a creative higher power writ large in the fertile desert. For them, confrontation with and recognition of the mysterious spirit of the landscape may be of almost a mystical moment. In recent years, environmentalists, attempting to minimise the adverse impact of tourism, have drawn strength and courage from their recognition of this quality of sacredness to face succeeding hostile Irish governments backed by funding from the European Union.

Some fourteen or fifteen centuries ago, Christian holy men and women, evidently attracted by the same sublime spirit and the deep solitude inherent in the area, came here to live in prayer and mortification “in desert places, sustained by herbs and water and alms”. Mac Creiche (who some think belonged to the pre-Patrician era) was probably the first. Enda of Aran was here, he who is acclaimed as the founder of the Irish monastic movement which was to spread as far as Eastern Europe. Colman Mac Duaich lived under Sliabh Carron’s cliffs with his cock and mouse and fly. From her motherhouse, close to the sea in Doolin, Lelia appears to have ruled her paruchia, a network of religious centres, from Killarney in Kerry to Kiltartan in Galway. In 1194, only eightly years after Cistercian monks founded their famous house at Clairvaux, their brethren felt called to come to Corcomroe and, in dedicating their latest foundation to Saint Mary of the Fertile Rock, further endowed the area with the “law of quality”.

The “law of quality” means that, to the person who is willing to receive energy from a place held sacred, the more of this life energy or grace (call it what you wish) will be granted to them. Even today, the visitor who is open to the mysteriously compelling charisma of the Burren finds the “law of quality” still valid and capable of filling one’s cup according to its capacity.”

O’ Ceirin, Cyril. (2000), The Outlandish World of the Burren, Rathbane Publishing, Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, Ireland