The Hare in the Moon

She sat making notes about where she was heading, when to meet for lunch, and (most importantly) what time she needed to be back.  She didn't want anyone to be waiting on her, much less a bus full of Pilgrims.

As they stepped out into the morning sun, they surveyed the area and headed toward their predetermined destinations.  Some would remain on the bus and head to Yeat's Grave.  She had decided to explore Sligo with the others, taking advantage of a shopping day.

The woodcarver's shop was easy to find and once they stepped inside, they were greeted with a smile and a friendly hello.

Two wooden statues were chosen from the window and he was more than happy to treat the Pilgrims to a retelling of the myths that inspired them.  Taking a piece of paper from his cluttered workspace, he wrote down the story as he spoke, so that they would remember.

"The Girl of Many Gifts" - photo by Sky F

"The Girl of Many Gifts" - photo by Sky F

Photo by Sky F

Photo by Sky F

An hour had passed and it was time to go.  She wanted to be certain not simply to wave and say thank you over her shoulder as she left, but to look him in the eye.

"I wanted to be sure to tell you that Vyv sent us.  She said to say hello but wasn't sure if she'd be able to drop by today."

"Well then, you'll need something to prove you were here.  What is your favorite animal?"

"A hare.", she replied.

He moved to his saw and cut a small square of wood from a plank.  Turning to the vice, he clamped it in place and began carving, telling another story as he worked.

"It was thought that hares weren't very common here in Ireland.  But the truth is, they are so good at hiding, they are rarely seen."

Photo by Tiffany Lazic, author of "The Great Work".

Photo by Tiffany Lazic, author of "The Great Work".

The carving finished, he removed it from the vice and handed it to her.

"Here you go.  Thank you for coming to see me."

It wasn't simply the gift of the carving, but the opportunity to hear him tell the stories and to experience the passion with which he told them.  The heart and soul of Ireland resides in those stories and in the people who are kind enough to share them.

Irish Book Haul !

I wouldn't be much of a writer if I didn't bring home a book or two from my Bardic Journey, would I?

I was completely captivated with "The Eve of St Agnes", a breathtaking stained glass masterpiece on display at Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin.  Created by Irish artist, Harry Clarke, it was inspired by the John Keats poem of the same name and commissioned by Mr Harold Jacob for his father's home.  

I stood before the display for some time and (because the photos I took didn't nearly do it justice) was delighted to find this book in their gift shop.  You can learn more about it here :

I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon shopping in Sligo and absolutely loved it there!  I was told to be on the lookout for this book, so naturally I scooped up a copy as soon as I saw it.  

I also found this!  If you take the time to chat with any of the residents of Sligo, they will tell you about the myths and legends centered around the area.  The Goddess is very much alive there and is kept alive, thanks to those who share these stories!  

I bought both books from Libre, a fabulous shop!

Last, but most certainly not least...

I had the pleasure of meeting Lora O'Brien, who guided us on a tour of Rathcroghan.  We started at Rathcroghan Mound, where Medb, Queen of Connacht is said to have lived.  Then we ventured to The Morrigan's Cave (a journey not for the faint of heart I can assure you).  Both of which I will tell you more about another time.  For now, I will say that Lora is an excellent resource not only regarding the land, but the mythology associated with it.  I hope to one day buy her a pint so that we can chat about it in greater detail.  I am certain she has many great stories to tell!

I purchased my copy from Lora directly, but you can find her books (as well as her blog) on her website.

I very much look forward to diving into these and will certainly write up a review for each once I've had a chance to do so.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for more posts and pics from my Bardic Journey to Ireland!