AN ANCIENT FRIaRY IN KILLARNEY

Muckross Abbey, Killarney

It is with great enthusiasm that on this very wet November morning I finally sit down to write another blog post.  Life is busy and it travels very fast.  Lots of nice things have happened during the summer and the beginning of autumn.  It has been a most beautiful, warm and sunny summer season here in West Cork, very enjoyable to have door and windows open and to practically live outside, this I adore!  We have had good days and bad, one of those was Ian’s fall, but he has healed well and is back in good form now.  He has been busy designing and making a glorified Zimmer frame which will help him not to have another fall.

 I have attended a short course about biodiversity in West Cork run by WILD WORK and facilitated by SECAD, which I thoroughly enjoyed and learnt from.  It was run locally in a most beautiful natural setting, there was also an online part to it.

But right now I would like to share some photos and chat about a visit to a Franciscan friary which my daughter and I visited during September.  We were on a rare outing; in fact, we had been given the chance to go away for a weekend while Ian’s daughter Anna and her partner came over to be with him.  To say that I enjoyed that weekend is an understatement, and it did me the world of good.  My daughter Tjorven’s company was lovely as always. 

So, we visited the interesting Muckross Abbey in Killarney which according to the Annals of the Four Masters was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary.  It is situated on the site of an earlier monastery which was built by a Saint Fionan in the 6th century.  It’s remarkable that the site is still so well preserved keeping in mind its turbulent past, but with many repairs and restructuring it stands well preserved today.  The building style is Hiberno Romanesque.  In the embrasures of eight of the windows of the dormitory are fragments of wall paintings, this is not very noticeable, and I regret that I did not see this, only read about it later. 

In the middle of the courtyard which is surrounded by a vaulted cloister stands a magnificent ancient Yew tree.  It is thought to be as old as the abbey itself.  Surrounding the abbey is an old graveyard and yew, beech and other native trees. The church of the abbey also contains some tombs, one of them seems to have a rusted handle!

We visited in the late evening and the place gave us that special feel that goes with observing ruins, thinking about the life the monks will have led, the stillness of the peaceful and natural surroundings felt by us now, and yet knowing what violent encounters those monks would have had over time, being driven out, returning and rebuilding, to be finally driven out in 1652 by Cromwellian forces. 

This was just one of our exploits during out visit to Killarney, it was well worth spending the time there, but more of that in another blog post. Here follow some photos that speak for themeselves.

Muckross abbey lies peaceful in its natural surroundings, a beautiful memorial of the monks who spent their lives there.

THOUGHTS OF AUTUMN

Summer has been long, warm and dry, how lovely it has been this year and still it continues though it is almost the end of September. The beautiful warm sunshine illuminates the now autumn colours. Day by day the leaves are turning red, yellow and all shades of brown. Pungent scents fill our lungs, it is a delight to our minds and souls.

My sister and I were discussing food for the soul the other day and while giving it deep thought I know what it is that often feeds my soul; it is what I find and observe in nature, meditation on it and thankfulness for it.

Last weekend my daughter took me to Killarney in Co. Kerry and one of our plans was to walk in the national forest which is one of the remaining ancient forests in Ireland with many native trees. The two days we spent there were very restorative. The beauty of the trees laden with their seeds at this time was what inspired us, we talked about it, it made us cheerful and light-hearted. We rested for coffee and cake at a thatched roof cottage and sat out in the sunshine with leaves lightly twirling around us, our conversation deep and yet full of excitement at being in a place where we felt not a care in the world.

This delightful cottage where lovely coffee and cakes are served

Though this was the first time I had a break since before covid time, I have gathered quite a collection of photos over the summer that are now waiting to be used and written about in my blog. So watch this space! (I will as well 🙂 )