Showing posts from March, 2007

Ireland's Visitor's Centres

On our travels, with our Celtic Ways tours, we love to include visitor’s centres that serve the ancient sites and locations we visit. A good visitor’s centre provides A presentation of the sites, legends and the area A shop selling affordable guides, books and souveniers A cafe for lunch, snacks and beverage A toilet – usually the most essential first thing with any stop There are two type of visitor’s centres There are the large multi-million euro centres such as Bru na Boinne that is the entry to Newgrange and Knowth, Cliffs Of Moher, and Clonmacnoise the famous monastic site, high crosses and introduction to Celtic Christianity. Then there are the small town and rural centres, that we like to support, like Kells that presents the heritage of the Book of Kells, its local high crosses and monastic site. The Dolmen Centre north of Ardara presents its heritage of local megalithic dolmens. Our favourite is the Cruachain Centre in Tulsk, Co. Roscommon that presents the vast local heritage

Should Men Lay Down Their Swords?

In addition to the various "Save Tara" campaigns against the building of the M3 motorway interchange near Tara Hill, campaigns that also seem to challenge each other, there is also challenge regarding who is truly the Arch Druid of Tara, and even a challenge over whether such a position should exist. I am not going to quote names of the Arch Druid challengers, but one is a man and one is a woman and both are claiming to be more druid than the other. Both also carry and teach totally different stories of the Tuatha De Dannan and each say the other's story is wrong. This seems to be a continuation of a lesson we have not learned, the lesson of what happens when spiritual wisdom is attempted to be structured into a religion, sometimes disguised as being called an "order" and no longer expressed as a craft. Tlachtga – The druid woman To refer to my own thoughts, or maybe faith, I believe that nearby Hill of Tlachtga, now listed on maps as Hill Of Ward, is the true s

St. Patrick's Day?

It seems that each year this day becomes a bigger and bigger world event, a major celebration of the year that is gaining equal, and often bigger, stature than Christmas and Halloween. Its quite remarkable and quite an honour to be connected to a country of just over 5 million people, though it seems like 50 million worldwide who claim first generation connection and 500 million worldwide who claim second or third generation connection. It is a day that confuses me, though. Pubs, sports and drinking rules. Its the one day that nobody can get enough of "traditional" Irish music and song, that most would switch off if they heard it during the rest of the year, but even try to sing it on this day. Professional Irish singers and musicians love this day because they can charge 3 to 4 times their normal fee for a performance due to the laws of supply and demand. There's not enough performers around for this day .... but these performers struggle to find work on the other 364 d