Sunday, May 19, 2019

Tawnylust Lodge & the North Leitrim Adventures

Several years ago,  I was fortunate to find myself living for a year in the wild and woolly hills of North Leitrim, Ireland.  This month I returned there, taking my daughter and her husband.  We stayed at Nuala McNulty's self-catering apartment Tawnylust Lodge - the exact spot where I lived for the first four months of my year-long residency.  I could not have chosen a better spot to nest and to fall in love with the best-kept secret in all of Ireland!

No matter which direction you look from Tawnylust Lodge the view is spectacular ~ 

The apartment has a patio and a large picture window - the perfect vista for daydreaming.
You are surrounded by green pasture land, and stunning hills.  The sky provides an endless and changing panorama.  Truly, a feast for the eyes and solace for the busy mind.

There is so much to explore in this area and Tawnylust Lodge is the perfect home base!

Fowley's Falls near Rossinver is a lovely walk through the woods.  The nearby Organic Centre is the perfect stop for tea or lunch and a look around. Pick up some healthy food and fix a meal in your self-catering apartment at Tawnylust Lodge. 

Everywhere - under the trees, behind an ancient rock, - nature reminds us all of what is truly important in life and allows us the chance to reconnect and nourish our heart and our soul. 

The nearby town of Manorhamilton, with its impressive castle, great pubs and a cafe is well worth a look. Just outside the town is a wonderful forest area, Milltown Woods, with a picnic area and easily accessible walks along the Bonet River.

Sligo, located not far from Manorhamilton, is a bustling and fun town.  The Garavogue River is the heart of this town which reaches toward the Atlantic Ocean.  It was also a favorite haunt of W.B. Yeats who gained much of his inspiration in and around this area.

Surf's up!  Just outside of Sligo is Strandhill which offers an open vista of the Atlantic and the surrounding hills.  And, yes, you can surf from here. For a more relaxing time, soak yourself in a warm seaweed bath while you listen to the waves and unwind at VOYA Seaweed Baths.  I've soaked there three times and brought a few visiting friends. It is a wonderful healing experience.

One of my very favorite spots near Sligo is Carrowmore ~ "home to the largest and oldest collection of stone circles and dolmens known from neolithic Ireland."  The perfect blend of our very earliest history and our mythology. 

At the end of a day's adventures Tawnylust Lodge is the ideal home to return to!
Photograph copyright Nuala McNulty

NOTE:  Unless otherwise noted, all images are by Denise Sallee, All Rights Reserved, 2019.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ancestral lands: Trim and the Boyne River

Image by Denise Sallee. All Rights Reserved, 2019.

Walking among my ancestors along the banks of the Boyne River in May.  Exploring, imagining and conjuring up my mythic and historic past. In the dark of winter 1996 I came to Trim at the end of my first sojourn in Ireland. I was tired and ready to return home. From Kildare I had driven to Trim and checked into Brogan's, a room above the pub. Here, I told myself, I would spend my last few days in quiet, recouping somewhat from what had come before.  And, preparing myself for re-entry into what I believed then was the real world that waited for me in California.

Then I met Bóinn ~ the Irish goddess of the River Boyne. She spoke, I listened, and was forever changed. 

Trim and the river have been a central part of every trip to Ireland since that time.  Even when I lived for one incredible year in North Leitrim, I spent time on the Boyne.
Image by Denise Sallee. All Rights Reserved, 2019.
Very recently I returned to Ireland after nearly nine years.  I decided to wait until my last four days to go to Trim and again I took a room over the pub at Brogan's.  I spent many hours each day walking the banks of the Boyne - usually very early in the morning or at twilight. This time, however, I had knowledge of ancestors who had walked as I did along the river. The family, Anglo-Normans from Wales, were in Meath as early as 1200 and closely associated with the de Lacy and Mortimer families. So now I communed with Bóinn and with my ancient ancestors.  Trim castle, situated along her banks, held deeper meaning for me now.

Image by Denise Sallee. All Rights Reserved, 2019.

Trim is a portal to the past.  The castle, the ruins of the old abbey and many other locations evoke a powerful sense of history. 

Image by Denise Sallee. All Rights Reserved, 2019.

Image by Denise Sallee. All Rights Reserved, 2019.
Image by Denise Sallee. All Rights Reserved, 2019.

And, there will always be the river....
Image by Denise Sallee. All Rights Reserved, 2019.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

National Print Museum of Ireland

An unexpected discovery near my hotel is the National Print Museum of Ireland. It is located in the renovated Beggars Bush Barracks which "In 1827...was established as a British Army military barracks" and the museum is in the Garrison Chapel building. The Irish "Free State forces were based here during the Civil War" which was in reaction to the Anglo-Irish Treaty with the United Kingdom that resulted in the division of  Ireland and established what we now know of as Northern Ireland.  It was this treaty in the early 1920's that forced Ella Young to leave her beloved Ireland and relocate to California.

The museum has many treasures of early printing in Ireland and it also is home to the original of the Proclamation of the Republic that was read by Patrick Pearse at the General Post Office and kicked off the 1916 Easter Rising and yet another war for Irish independence. It was very moving for me to read the proclamation again knowing that this time I was reading the original.

I also viewed an exhibit of print work on the moon landing of 1969 that "explores Ireland’s response to the man landing of the moon through print. Given the historical significance of the events of July 20th, 1969, a range of coverage was evident across the island." Here is the front page of The Irish Times:

Since I'm always willing to subvert the modern paradigm I really enjoyed this artist's work on the potential reality that the landing was just a hoax - but then I've been questioning the US government since 1967:
I ended my day's journey back in the Dock area shooting with my film camera. Met another serious photographer there who was quite taken by my unusual camera. He and I had a lovely chat together. The film photos will have to wait until my return and the film is processed. Here are two iPhone snaps from the Dock - it was a sunny late afternoon and everyone around me was enjoying the moment at day's end.