(Featured Image: “The Invisible Mountain” oil on canvas 2019. 1.5 X 1m approx)
I call it the end because The Crystal Path is a project I have been working as an artist on this last year and it stretches from Drogheda to Keem and weaves across the irish countryside following ancient paths, old solar and stellar lines of force. They are leylines of energy known in celtic Ireland and europe for their importance. They are almost lost now but are in need of renewal . It is a journey which takes place also in another dimension. It is inspired through a dream I had which I describe elsewhere.
Keem (pron. “kim”) Achill
Hy Brasil/ Stones at Annagh
An Choim (The Mountain Recess)
I say I’m starting at the end because this is one of the furthest outposts in Ireland that my dream has taken me to. It takes me into the past and the future. There are symbolic reasons too for this journey , some I am aware of as part of the goal of this quest and there are others that become known to me as I travel the ancient highways, the remnants of which are still visible upon our precious emerald landscape.
The trip to Keem started when showing a sketch of “ The Crystal Pilgrim “ to my freind who is a computer expert about the dream it illustrated and he told me that where he spent most of his summers in his youth has a pure white Crystal Quartz mine. I instantly had the urge to visit Keem for a second time.
The first time I was there was at 17 years of age when I cycled over to the west of Ireland from Dublin with my Father. The furthest point I reached was on a very hot day in the summer of 1981.
It took all my effort to cycle over the brow of a steep hill at the furthest most westerly point on Achill Island at the end of the road to find myself overlooking the most beautiful white sandy beach you could imagine in a small and perfectly sheltered cove there.
The ultramarine blue water in large waves fell onto the unmarked sand. This approach led to a golden pointed arch which was a small carved stone bridge under which flowed a freshwater stream directly onto the sand from the steep incline. This is turn led to a whitewashed block of 4 terraced army houses created for the British soldiers that were originally stationed there on lookout duty.
The men and their family’s occupied these houses and each soldier took their turn to climb a very steep green yellow brown grassy shoulder upon which leaned another lookout building a couple of hundred feet higher again.
It must have been a lonely post in the cold windy winter twilight and early daily dawns from where the sentry gazed out over the infinite horizon searching for any sign of enemy ships. Perhaps they also looked out for that mysterious land of Hy Brasil that may suddenly appear on that horizon. It was last seen and visited in the 1880’s and charted on maps even earlier than that. It’s not unusual for land on Achill itself to suddenly disappear. The beach at Dooagh disappeared last year. They are hoping it will return. But they are not expecting it. 38 years ago I had pitched my tent at it not realising how precious a place it was, because it disappeared in 1984 three years after I arrived there. Sean Molloy who works for Achill Tourism was interviewed in 2019 by the Irish Times to tell It made a brief appearance in 2017 only to be washed away in the weeks before the story.
In Keem, which is at the very end of the road, the whitewashed block contains 4 terraced houses each one with one round window , each one a season for every part of the year. The place changes its shape in my mind. It becomes something else. The reason I am brought here is to journey along the crystal path and that Crystal is visible after I first get past the obstinate and purple stained sheep that lie on the narrow tarmac road and refuse to move for cars. That crystal is visible as the road becomes white sand mixed with pure white quartz and limestone rock which lets you know that you are leaving the material world behind. This is a dream. A dream of another place. All you hear are the waves pouring onto the edge of the island. Large rocks are framed by the wild grasses and scarred by perfect white streaks of quartz. As you approach the houses you enter a portal.
From there I gazed out at night to see an almost cloudless sky framed by the two shoulders of the cove. There I saw Orion fall into the sea as if he tripped over Hy Brasil and into the river of the Milky Way.
The houses are an observation deck for the stars, no manmade light to spoil the arrangement, no sound to disturb your contemplation.
There is no electricity in the army residence. The family that own it now have deliberately kept it that way. We make a fire and use candlelight to light our way through the house. For me it is bliss. Keem is a place away from place.
to be continued in Part 2