Irish saints are a mainstay of Irish history. A sixth-century monk named Brendan, who would later become known as St. Brendan the Navigator, set out in his tiny seal skin boat with his fellow abbots to a far away land called Hibernia, the name given to Ireland by the Greeks. They voyaged across the cold Atlantic shores toward a wild, mostly untamed territory. They were looking for grace or a way to come closer to God.They came from Britannia (England), Germania (Germany), and Rome as well as all over Western Europe. They wrote Latin and poetry, spoke different languages and came from the highest social ranks. After blending with the Irish, they became the record keepers of genealogies and stories. They became known as the most learned men of Europe. Whether they learned from the Celts or the Celts learned from them is inconsequential. The first Irish monks in Ireland were born .. and Ireland would be changed forever by their arrival.. Continue reading
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The Sun Palace by Brighid O’Sullivan
West Coast of Eire/ AD 520
West Coast of Eire/ AD 520
Bevin would never have believed that a man she trusted like a brother would have betrayed her so easily. But here she was. Seated adrift for all she knew. No shore in sight. Arms and legs tied. Blood pooled in her wrists so that her fingers felt like dead wood. She felt cold, confused, and dazed as a newborn calf. Was she hallucinating, she wondered, brought on by the intensity of the birth? She had felt the same when her son was born, had labored in agony for days. Even when it was all over, she remembered his birth continued to haunt her. She had dreamt of something inside her clawing at her bones, a sense of being ripped and scraped from the inside out, the child ‘s head squeezing and pushing. This was not like that however. How many days had it been since the birth? Two? Three? Four maybe. She felt no pain at the moment. Only terrifying rage.
The Celts believed water had magical properties, hence the holy wells of Ireland. One reason might have to do with how the water got here. Though there are many myths about the beginning of civilization, one theory is that the world was covered in water, flooded so to speak, and when the waters receded, the most holy of it was left behind, perhaps seen as a passage between the earth and the Otherworld. The most holy and the largest of the waters, ( in Ireland at least) the River Boyne and the River Shannon. The water of holy wells was also seen as a regenerative life-force, perhaps to grow back severed limbs, make a woman conceive or give great wisdom when drunk or bathed in it. Continue reading