We have been to Glendalough twice before. It is an hour or so’s drive from Dublin in Wicklow to the south and is the site of one of the most important monastic settlements in Ireland dating from the 6th century. It is beautiful countryside and you do get a strong feeling of peace and tranquility which is why we enjoy returning there.
There are many parts of Ireland that have a definite “spirituality”, however you define that. I think it is perhaps a coming together of the millennia of habitation together with the natural beauty and presence of the landscape and the elements that have formed it. I don’t have words to put it any more eloquently than that but I think that the great mystic Irish poet, W B Yeats does.
I have therefore decided, for this post, to show some of my photos of the Glendalough landscape accompanied by words from Yeats’ poems that I believe may be relevant to the images. Of course, they are out of context but his words do conjure up powerful, if at times, obscure, images in their own right. Below each photo is a matching extract from Yeats. Then at the end a few photos without caption which I thought were also worth including. Perhaps you can compose your own poetry for these!
Interestingly, Yeats also wrote a poem entitled Who Goes with Fergus? It’s a complex poem with several layers of meaning and I doubt very much whether he was thinking of me when he wrote it but nevertheless, I will leave you with the invitation of the first three lines:
Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood’s woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
I know of the leafy paths that the witches take
Who come with their crowns of pearl and their spindles of wool,
And their secret smile, out of the depths of the lake;
(The Withering of the Boughs}
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
(He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven)
O hurry where by water among the trees
The delicate-stepping stag and his lady sigh,
When they have but looked upon their images –
Would none had ever loved but you and I!
(The Ragged Wood)
O hurry to the ragged wood, for there
I will drive all those lovers out and cry –
O my share of the world, O yellow hair!
No one has ever loved but you and I!
(The Ragged Wood)
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
(The Lake Isle of Innisfree)
I wander by the edge
Of this desolate lake
Where wind cries in the sedge:
(He Hears the Cry of the Sedge)
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;