Marks of Devotion in St. Magnus Cathedral….Thinking  of Ireland….A Memory & A Meditation…..

by Bernie Bell - 10:12 on 08 December 2022

Marks of Devotion in St. Magnus Cathedral….

Pretty much what the title says it is….


And, as usual, my tuppenceworth re. marks in cathedrals…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/01/28/making-our-mark/


Thinking of Ireland….

Bartholomew Barker has visited another dead poet’s grave – that of W B Yeats in Drumcliffe Cemetery, County Sligo, Republic of Ireland….


This got me thinking and remembering……and commenting on Bart’s blog…

You’re in the land of my ancestors – and there’s still a lot of us there.

Re. his grave in Drumcliffe churchyard…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/11/15/one-memory-leads-to-another/

(By the by – if a person is sitting on the toilet in my Nephew’s house, they can see straight across to Knocknarea. It’s said that if you can’t see the mountain, it’s raining, if you can see the mountain, it’s going to rain. That’s the Irish weather for you.)

I’d say it doesn’t matter if they’re his bones or not – it’s the thought that counts.

Here’s one of my favourites by the awld fella himself….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/02/18/the-stolen-child/

This includes a picture of Glencar waterfall. My sister lived near here and we’ve visited it many times over the years. In 2004 we found that this sign had been erected. It’s because the Council are worried that ‘someone’ (the ubiquitous ‘someone’) might go too near the edge, fall in, sue etc, etc. Glencar is a beautiful place, W.B.Yeats wrote ‘The Stolen Child’ about it, so, what do they do? Block the view of the falls with this sign…..

The irony is that now, if someone wants to take a picture of the falls (which people always do), they have to lean over, off the path, to do so – which IS dangerous! Instead of people being taught to have common sense, and expected to use common sense, they have to be nannied all the time. I asked my Uncle Anthony who lived in the area all his life if there ever has been an accident at Glencar. No, nothing has ever happened there, his opinion being that anyone with any sense doesn’t lean over, and if they do, they get what they deserve and might have more sense next time!

And there’s Lissadell House – home to the Gore-Booth family who were great friends of Yeats. And Lough Gill which holds the ’Lake Isle of Inishfree’ – did your taxi driver tell you about Beezie – who lived on Cottage Island – known locally as Beezie’s Island?

You’ve really stirred up memories.

Thinking of Dublin – I sent this as a ‘comment’ to an article about profanity – but it wasn’t posted.....

“After-thought…remember the band ‘The Pogues’ – short for Pogue Mahone – being the anglicisation of the Irish Gaelic póg mo thóin, meaning “kiss my arse”.
I have a small brass pig called póg mo thóin – a souvenir of a visit to Ireland.

And there a song called ‘Monto’ – which is v. rude & disrespectful…

‘The Queen she came to call on us,
She wanted to see all of us,
I’m glad she didn’t fall on us,
She’s eighteen stone,
Mr. me Lord Mayor, sez she,
Is this all you’ve got to show to me?
Why no, ma’am, there is more to see,

Póg mo thóin,
And he took her up to Monto, Monto, Monto,
He took her up to Monto, langeroo,
Goodnight to you’



A Memory & A Meditation…..

In the year 1998 Mike and I were visiting my sister Bridget who lived near Sligo town in the Republic of Ireland. We decided to go for a drive round the  Horseshoe Pass. It’s not so much a pass through the hills, as a curving road, in a horse-shoe shape, in the hills.  https://discoverbundoran.com/2020/03/gleniff-horseshoe-a-local-getaway/

We drove into the horse-shoe, stopped the car, and would have liked to go up the nearest hill, Truskmore,  but there was a big metal gate in the way – a BIG one – high up and wide across, so, philosophically, we decided to just mooch about a bit and enjoy the place for what it is and what we could see around us, including Benwiskin Mountain – like a wave breaking….

Then, a man drove up in a van.  He told us it was his mountain, and said he’d take us up it if we liked. He unlocked the gate, we went through, and drove up to the top, where we saw……..

A vista – looking round, below us we could see the sand of a stretch of coastline,  Knocknarae  (aka Queen Maeve’s Grave) http://www.megalithicireland.com/Knocknarea.htm , and more hills with vales between.  The weather was very – atmospheric – big clouds and rain sweeping through, then the sun shining in shafts into the vales.  It was a wonder.

Photographs couldn’t catch it, but my ‘mind’s eye’ could.  The scene stayed in my memory.

We went back down the mountain, and Bridget was keen to give the man ‘something for his trouble’ – he said we could buy him a pint if we saw him in the pub.  That’s Ireland for you.

Some months later a friend asked me to write a meditation and then lead a group through that meditation, and so I wrote the following……….

"Truskmore Visualisation

Sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor, hands relaxed in your lap, eyes closed, breathing gently and evenly....

Now picture a veil of pure white light enveloping you from the top of your head, right down to your feet.  This veil will protect you, so that no harm can come to you on your travels.

You find yourself in an encircling valley, with soft, green hills around you....

You start walking across the soft turf of the valley floor....cross a small stream...and start to climb steadily up the side of the central hill...

You walk steadily up this hill....feeling the springy turf underfoot, breathing the clean, sweet-smelling air, and noticing the landscape unfolding around and beneath you as you walk...

You find yourself at the top of the hill, with the surrounding landscapes spread out beneath you...

There is a wide sweep of countryside: a seascape with beach, sand dunes and rocks...

There is another hill below you.....crowned by an ancient mound....surrounded by valleys and rolling fields with hedges and trees...

You now choose one of these places to visit.  When you have chosen - you can be there in a thought....

Having gone to your chosen landscape, look around you.  What do you see?  Is there someone there to meet you?  Do they want to take you further into their landscape?  Do they want to tell you something?  Is there something you want to ask or tell them?

Follow your guide, or your instincts, and explore what you encounter...


When you are ready, say goodbye to your chosen landscape - for now...say goodbye to anyone you may have met there....and find yourself back on the top of the hill above the encircling valley.....

Start to walk down into the valley...enjoying the sights and sounds of this peaceful place...cross the little stream....cross the valley floor.....come back into the room and back to sitting comfortably in your chair....

When you are ready...open your eyes and smile at your companions."

Afterwards,  one woman told me that the last she had seen of her dog was when he was ill, and died.  A painful memory for her.  During the guided visualisation she met her dog again, on the beach and they ran and played together. So her last memory of him changed from one of his illness and passing, to one of them running and playing together, on a beach. This made her very happy.

When Ben-The-Dog joined us we named him Benwiskin after the mountain then his name got shortened, to match his size.  



Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/02/10/living-in-a-box-then-and-now/



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