Trip Advice

Trip Advice

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Posted Tue 5 Feb 2019 5:07 PM
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I would love to visit Ireland to see the places that the Irish legends say are "thin places" - where Heaven & Earth are closer and the Past & Present are closer.
To experience the countryside and the small towns, staying in different Bed & Breakfast Inns and enjoying local pubs and music each night. 

Any and all suggestion would be appreciated. 

I have an Irish/Scottish heritage - maybe the land of my "elders" is calling me. I don't know but would love to find out


Thank you
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Posted Tue 5 Feb 2019 8:29 PM
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Hi Keith.

Very interesting topic - Thin Places. Never heard of it, so I googled it and I've included some links. Now, not sure they are academic, but some of the websites seem to take a reasonably objective approach for example by including sources.

Your term "...where Heaven & Earth are closer" made me think of Dark Sky areas, and your term "Past & Present are closer" made me think of the ancient monuments, mounds, passage tombs, dolmens and stone circles.

Dark sky: there are many areas in Ireland with dark sky - just like in the US west. When you combine that with the past, it narrows things - I know that in the past everything got dark.

West Cork (incl. the Beara Peninsula) has many stone circles. County Sligo has Carrowkeel, Carrowmore and Creevykeel of which at least Carrowkeel is located in a dark area (Heapstown as well). County Meath has Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth - though I don't know to what extent there is dark sky above the Boyne Valley. Meath also has Loughcrew Cairns, which should be in a dark sky area. Perhaps Hill of Tara should be listed as well.
County Kerry has 5 stone forts - don't know if stone forts count as thin places. Then there are the beehive huts on the Skelligs, and there are many (small) monuments on the Dingle Peninsula. Kenmare stone circle is on the Iveragh Peninsula.

Of course there are many more places, but this could be a starting point.

Links:
Mindie Burgoyne owns http://www.thinplace.net/ which is a blog with references.
Mindie also runs https://thinplacestour.com/ which lists a number of books, including some non-fictional books, for example "The Travellers Guide to Sacred Ireland". That book could be good - I've seen it many places. Mindie Burgoyne sounds like a capacity and might be the place to start.
A couple of more links: https://www.irishamericanmom.com/.
https://thewildgeese.irish/

Poul
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Posted Tue 5 Feb 2019 9:22 PM
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Hi Poul 

Thank you for you response, I will check out the links that you provide

I initially heard the term Thin Places many years ago and at that time, it was attributed to the Scottish; I think that ultimately that it stems from the early Christianity and the true spiritual nature of their beliefs at the time

I was watching a video of guitarist John Doan called A Celtic Pilgrimage and many of the songs that he performed was written as he journeyed through Ireland. He starts off mentioning the Irish belief of Thin Places and experiences that he had during his time there

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz7MAQzgiSs&t=1791s

Thank You Again 
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Posted Tue 5 Feb 2019 9:56 PM
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Hello Keith,

That sounds like a wonderful idea! I'd love to give you some tips to help you plan the ultimate trip to the land of your ancestors.
  • Drombeg Stone Circle - a circle of 17 standing stones, dated between 153BC and 127AD.
  • Brú na Bóinne - an area filled with history in County Meath, including Newgrange, a 5000 year old tomb.
  • Boa Island - here you can find a carved stone called the Janus Stone, which is over 2000 years old, and predates Christianity far back into Celtic times. 
These are just a few ideas, and hopefully you'll receive many more from our other members. :) Check out Ireland's Ancient East as well for more inspiration.

Staying in B&B's is a great way to get to know the island and the people, and you can find all tourist board approved and recommended places to stay here. Simply select the town, city or area where you would like to stay, and all of the available options will pop up. Is there anywhere in particular you would like to spend the night, or anything you wouldn't want to miss?

The Emerald is filled with music, from live trad sessions in your local pub, to wonderful festivals. Take a look at some of the options here.

Do you know when you would like to visit? The thin places kind of remind me of Halloween, when the veil between our world and the spirit world is thinnest. Halloween (Samhain) originated in Ireland, and it is a magical time of year for a trip. 

Lastly, do you know where on the island your Irish roots started? If you're ever interested in finding out more, we have a genealogy section full of experts who would love to help! :)

I hope this was helpful, and if there is anything else you need, please don't hesitate to get in touch. 

Warm regards, 

Melin
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Posted Tue 5 Feb 2019 10:29 PM
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Thanks Keith.

That's a nice YouTube video. John Doan mentions Donegal. Donegal is gorgeous, and I presume one could find thin places there as well whether or not one has to be sitting at a dolmen, stone fort or stone circle.

Melin mentions Haloween. I didn't think of that, but I like the concept of Samhain as a (time of) thin place.

If you go to Scotland, you have to go to either Callanais on the Outer Hebrides or Clava Cairns near Inverness. There must be many more, these are just the two I can think of.

Poul
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Posted Wed 13 Feb 2019 12:54 AM
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Hi Melin

As I have been looking at the B&B's in Ireland - what would a typical breakfast be for most in Ireland?

Also to rent a car, what are the regulations as far as driver's license & insurance? Don't know that my insurance here in the States would like the idea of insuring me abroad.
I also noticed that traffic is on the opposite side as the USA - I used to work at a surface mine that all of the traffic was on the opposite side as the typical highway and if I went to a shopping center, once I got onto the parking lot, I would immediately go to the opposite side. I had a lot of people yelling at me during those days LOL

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Posted Wed 13 Feb 2019 10:09 AM
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Hi Keith, 
Your typical full Irish breakfast will have bacon, black pudding, baked beans, sausages, tomatoes and eggs, as well as a potato or hash browns. You also get some (usually home made) soda bread to go with it. In Northern Ireland they serve the Ulster Fry, with potato bread and soda farls.
Car rental companies will usually offer insurance, and I recommend reaching out to them about the options. They would gladly tell you more. 

We indeed drive on the left side of the road here, and it's good to hear you've already got to practice a wee bit. :) You'll get used to it before you know it! 

If you have any other questions, please feel free to give me a shout, and keep us posted on your travel plans! 

Warm regards,

Melin

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Posted Wed 6 Mar 2019 11:12 AM
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Hi Keith,

Thin places are defined as specific sites with a mystical quality - where the veil between this world and the eternal world are thin.  Ireland is littered with these places, some of which Melin has mentioned.  However, some are not so familiar and are a must see for the pilgrim traveller.

Might I suggest also visiting the North of Ireland?  The Causeway Coast and Glens offers an array of mystical sites such as Glenariff Woodland with a defined walk which winds into a gorge with rushing water, waterfalls and mystical plants including a rare woodland plant known as St Patrick's Cabbage.

Amongst the well known tourist sites on the coast, such as the Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, another place which may be considered as thin is Whitepark Bay Beach.  Tucked into the vegetation overgrowth of the cliffs are the remains of passage tombs, considered sacred to the ancients.

Perhaps something to think about on your trip to Ireland!

Should you require help with accommodation or have any other questions, please get in touch and we will be happy to help - http://www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com/

Best Wishes
Alison


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