Since I’ve been back from Paris, I’ve hunkered down into the quiet of the hermitage and have spent lots of time reading, writing and resting.
I have grown to love the wild-weathered days, like today, where the force of the wind rails against these stone walls like waves beating on bold rock and pieces of charred peat rustle around like dust bunnies in the bottom of my fireplace.
I’ve taken many beautiful walks through the foothills of the Ox Mountains and to the peaks of green hills that roll out picturesque fields like red carpets.
I walked alongside a small flock of sheep for an entire hour.
I washed my face in the sacred waters of St. Patrick’s Holy Well at Aughris Head.
I’ve been enjoying the company and conversations of our family dinners and Sunday brunches, which we have once or twice a week. A lot of the guests are here long term so we’ve become quite close.
I’ve wondered at the hundreds of roofless ruins—large monasteries, churches and houses—that seem to me as common as the grass is green.
Apparently, the churches were dismantled under the reign of Henry VIII and Cromwell, in order to fund the crown and convert the Irish Catholics to British Protestantism. Monastic property was sold to fund Henry’s military campaign and a guesstimated 3 million monks, nuns, and friars were forced to find new ways of living.
As for the houses, most were made of stone so the walls have remained long after the roofs have deteriorated. Now, gardens, even trees, grow within these ancient ruins.
Yesterday we visited Downpatrick Head, which was stunning.
On the way home from Downpatrick’s Head, we visited one of the best preserved Franciscan Friaries in Ireland, Rosserk, which was founded for the Franciscan Third Order around 1440.
The adventures continue!