Tuesday, August 10, 2010
August 10... the Stones of Ireland...
As you cycle through the region there are literally hundreds of "ruins", although there is no real way to tell if they are from 2000, 1900 or 1800 or beyond. Billy the Tour Guide explained that many were abandoned during the Great Potato Famine.
The picture above is a ruin that apparently dates back to the 1400's if I'm not mistaken. It's across the road from the Croagh Patrick. That mountain (Croagh = Mountain in Gaelic?) is an honoured and religious place which many people come to and climb as a pilgrimage.
The Irish use stone to build homes, fences, monuments, to hounour their dead.
The Irish's relationship with stone is such that on the Aran Island, Mother Nature even spits the stones back at the land by virtue of the ocean. You are warned not to walk along a certain part of the coast there as you could get hit with a stone!
I wonder at the stories that could be told about these ruins. Whose lives happened here, whose deaths, what joys and sufferings? The landscape of Ireland speaks to me of endurance, of an impenetrable spirit that will last .... like the stones that so define them.