Monday, July 27, 2009

Some Magic, Perhaps

I'm always in search of a holy well (or two),
and at the tourist office in Dingle
I asked the young woman behind the counter
if there were any to be found on the peninsula.

She said, "Oh, well, yes, there are many, you know.
But they're hard to find."

She highlighted in orange the location of a few
on our map, but warned that they wouldn't be
easy to ferret out. Usually, I've found, wells
are marked with a sign of some sort: no problem!
So we ventured out into the heavy wind
and threat of rain, engaging in my favorite
Irish activity: backroading.
(Or, as Paul puts it: getting lost.)

Map in hand, we turned off the main road
onto a narrow road, and then onto an even
more narrow road rimmed by fuschias eight feet tall
and at the height of bloom, and crocosmia bending
and leaning over our "path."

Nettles and bracken ferns flourishing so lushly
and so tightly packed together that it was impossible
to peer past the roadside into their dark undergrowth.

Periodically a sparkle of sun between charcoal clouds,
and then lashings of rain and then sun again,
in all of maybe two minutes.
And warm -- short-sleeved warmth.

It's easy to imagine how a culture of fairies
and "little people" sprang up in this nearly-tropical
landscape. There seems to exist a dormant magic here,
something hovering just beyond the unfolding
of each fiddle-head fern. A trilling tune, perhaps,
or a jig. I keep my eyes and ears open.

So. Back to the well-search.
We kept arriving at the gravel-end
of someone's driveway, cliffside, Dingle Bay
crashing below us, and no holy well,
not even a sign for a holy well.

In the end we settled on the stunning ruin
of Minard Castle -- not what we set out for
but glorious, anyway, in its disrepair!
One can only imagine what tales and secrets
its mossy walls guard....

And the best part: we were the only ones there!


  1. O, wonderful.

    Our friends, composer Peter Gordon and his now wife, video artist, Kit Fitzgerald, spent part of the most intense period of their early romantic involvement in Dingle.

    During which Peter compose, among other works, "Dingle Music," which is most definitely a jig. Thought you might like to know that. :)

    Love, c.

  2. Completely, utterly fabulous, T.!

  3. This is just stunning! All the photos, well, I can just feel as though I am actually there!

  4. i'm fascinated by those holy wells too. i've seen a couple but not many. we once followed a sign for one in county kerry. the signpost said it was 3km down a road, so we drove and drove and drove and drove and finally came to a fork in the road that indicated the holy well was down the fork--you guessed it, 3 km.

    (we did eventually find it.)

  5. Our Scotney Castle spring (not sure what defines a holy well?) is guarded by two huge Yew trees. Their girth measures not in inches but hundreds of years. A truly spiritual place not many of our visitors find.

    T. I don't know whether you visit my blog? I wrote about it on 14 May... 'I think I've...'

    I suspect we sing 'sometimes' from the same song sheet. Me I'm too jolly, loud; you so calm. Fools and angels come to mind.