Monday 2 January 2012: Toberaleen
Wild, blustery day, sunshine and showers, hail and rainbows but I needed an adventure. Himself is not yet comfortable with the art of inquiry, so I went off on my own towards Dunbeacon, primarily in search of a holy well. On the way I stopped off at a tinyburial ground nestling in a little walled enclosure, chock a block with stone markers. These would all date from the famine and bear no names but I liked the way modern burial are still taking place and new graves jostle with the old.
I then went high into the mountains and parked where I thought the lane to the well was. I found myself in a tiny hamlet, a barking dog the only live thing. I followed a tiny wet path, over gate into a field - it all looked suitably wet and ancient but then I found myself welly high in bog and no sign of anything. Disgruntled I returned to the car whereupon two people miraculously appeared. Did they know of a holy well? Yes, they did and they were happy to show me!! There is no way I would have found it on my own, as they led me through someone eles's land (they were in Cork but wouldn't mind), over fences, through bracken, leaping over streams and finally we arrived - literally in the middle of nowhere and now covered over by rusty sheets of corrugted iron was Toberaleen. With difficulty we lifted some of the sheets and peered inside - revealing a large square stone cladwell, full of clear clean water. Miraculous!! What was it used for originally? Who came here? How did they find it? And how amazing to find John and Kim just when I needed them. Very satisfactory.
I then progressed to take in two standing stones and thestone circle they were marking . Annoyingly, after I'd trudged across fields, I couldn't get close to the stones as there was a ferocious barbed wire fencearound it - too high for me to climb over with doing myself a mischief. I will be back!
Enough excitment for one day, tea and yet more chrismas cake now.
PS - one year ago, maybe my favourite pic and one that has started some relentless inquiry!
Edit: I've found out that toberaleen means well of the flax - all clear now???