(8) Strength: The Glen of Aherlow

(8) Strength: The Glen of Aherlow (low res NFT version)
PlaceCard No.Date
The Glen of Aherlow, Tipperary“8” 02 August 2020
Spiritual/Esoteric  refGaeilgeEytmological Root
Our Lady and Mór Mumáin“Gleann Eatharlaí”The Glen between two highlands

I hear the song in my head  “Sean O’Duibhir a Ghleanna “  celebrating the 1798 rebellion. About a mans effort to escape the English. My grandmother sang that song to me every day that I stayed with her many summers in her house. Maybe her song worked some magic upon me. I don’t think I have ever really conformed and I like the romantic idea of a rebel especially today even if the reality is a painful prospect in these times too. 

View of The Galtees from Tipperary Town

What are the things that make us who we are? For me this is one of them . A special place, a memory, an eternal now . It remains… as I quickly change and grow older. I have photographed and painted the Glen of Aherlow a number of times over the years. Galtee Mór, overlooking the glen can be seen from the bedroom window of my grandparents old house. The origin of the word Galtee is not definitely known. For a long time it was called “Sliab Crocta Cliac” which means “Mountain of the harps of Cliac”. Then it was called “Sliab gcoilte” which means “the mountain of the woods”,  It is in the heart of Munster and very much part of the history of this area, a golden vale.  There is actually a town called Golden out the Cashel road from Tipp town there where you can see the ruins of Athassal Abbey if you make a turn off a hidden road at the bridge over the wide river that flows through the town.

Athassal Abbey, Golden

The name ‘Aherlow’ is derived from the Irish, ‘eathralach’ meaning between two highlands. Within the valley and throughout the hinterland there are a variety of prehistoric  sites such as the megalithic passage formation “Darby’s Bed” situated on top of Duntryleague Hill, on the westerly extension of Slievenamuck Hill. 4000 years old it is believed to be the grave of Oilill Olum, who was one of the early kings of Munster. Early Christian sites dotted across the area are signs of the prominence of symbolism of water amongst the people of that time. You can visit to St Pecaun’s Holy Well, St Berrihert’s Well & Kyle and St Sedna’s Well in Clonbeg Churchyard where you can enjoy the peace and serenity of these early Christian sites. Life giving wells are often associated with the ancient Irish goddesses such as Mór Mumain and in the Christian legends of St Brigid who absorbed into her mythology the stories of the Celtic Goddess Brigitta.

The Glen of Aherlow

Within the five lakes of the Glen of the Aherlow river lay strength itself, all the loughs are said to be enchanted. The legend goes that King Cliac played on his harp outside the palace of the king of Munster but failed to win the hand of the kings daughter. He then went up on the Galtees and played his two harps together. The hill burst open and formed Lough Bel Seod which means “Lake of the Jewel mouth” or “Lough Bel Dragan which means “Lake of the Dragons mouth” The five Lakes in the Galtees are:- Muskry, Farbrega, Borheen, Diheen and Curra or Corrig.  Its a fitting image to have of an area with close links to Irish traditional music that the very lakes themselves were borne of music.

Satellite image of The Glen showing the five lakes and “The Lake of The Jewel Mouth”

If you are looking, this is a good place to find The Divine Feminine expression of God and She is in all the places I know here. The province of Munster with this vale at the heart of it is named after the ancient goddess Mú or Mór Mumain the Great Mother. The strength of the Feminine Holy Spirit has seeped into medieval Irish Christianity and was revived in the image of the Mother of God , Our Lady, Holy Mary. Ireland is intimately connected with a sense of the Holy Goddess. There are signs everywhere. Even within my own life it’s presence is signified within my mothers family as she one of three sisters, each with three daughters…. and from my fathers family where he has three sisters. I am happily, constantly reminded of the deep meaning of the precious triad, the triple Moon Goddess from our ancient past. The importance of the triple moon form, the waxing crescent moon, the full moon and the waning crescent moon to the people living in ancient Ireland was evident in a simple design called a lunula, so named because of their crescent moon shape. Its a golden neck piece worn by our celtic ancestors which can be seen in the National Museum today.  I am reminded by the presence of my own three sisters, my wife Laura who is one of three sisters all expressing this sacred triad mentioned often in the mythology of the White Goddess.  I am blessed with the protection of this constant triangle of love. The form of 3, the triangle, allow connections in the landscape to become known and it is the form which was built upon in through the positioning of ancient sacred sites to create what I call here “The Crystal Path”.

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