Saturday, 4 July 2009

Scregg House Scregg Knockcroghery County Roscommon

Scregg house a short ride from Newpark Country house, is currently owned by Peter Kelly, who descends from the O'Kelly chieftan Sean na Moy O'Kelly. This is also an old georgian house in the country that has not been lived in for over twenty years, looking inside I felt a hundred years was more acurate suggestion, it is a shame that such an amazing building in a good location has deteriorated to such an extent, but the heritage people have been involved and have repalced the roof and windows which is a start to saving such a jewel in the country, the owner himself is quite happy living in his modern little bungalow beneath bless him!

There is something especially moving about this wonderful Georgian house and the location, I felt amazingly uplifted just being there, It was a really wonderful experience and would fullfill anyones expectations interested in Dickens classics, as walking up the battered old steps and entering inside the door of Skregg house I immediately was transported into the pages of a Charles Dickens novel. By the time I had reached the third floor I fully expected to open a door and see a wisened, bitter and decaying Miss Haversham, sitting in her chair surrounded by the cobwebs and dead birds!

So if you are interested in Georgian houses and the classics just have a wander with the owner, if he is not busy , he is such a curteous man I am sure he would oblige you with a look around old skregg house.
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Friday, 3 July 2009

The Sacred Center of Ireland - Uisneach

The sacred center point of Ireland in pagan times, the navel of ireland is found in Uisneach. Here at this point , the sacred division is marked by the erection of stones, from here ireland was divided into four, the meridian divides the two halves, then the horizontal cut divides those parts again. From this point at Uisneach the five provinces were created: Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Connacht, and Meath, the latter around the centre at Uisnech. The name Meath is derived from the Latin word media meaning the middle. This sacred point, the navel, became the Seat of the High kings of Ireland.

Invaders came to ireland using its rivers for accesss, due to the central location of Uisneach it was its own natural sanctuary. Nemhedh is credited with lighting the first fire at Uisneach. He pushed the Formorians, the legendary giants with one eye, one arm and one leg, to the coastal fringes. Legend also has it that the followers of Nemhedh eventually dispersed across Europe and were succeeded by the Fir Bolg, who are said to have come to Uisneach, and from there they divided the country.

Each province was ruled by one of five brothers responsible for prosperity, order and justice for all. It is recorded that each provincial king, when attending these assemblies, had to wear a 'hero’s ring of red gold' which he left behind on his chair as a tribute for the High King.

Apart from Nemedh, the centre is also linked with Lugh, who came here to rescue his mother’s people from the heavy taxes demanded from them by the Formorians. After their defeat, Lugh ruled from Uisneach, and it is said he died here also, as Uisneach was the sacred point of his land, its sacred hill, It emphasizes the tradition of the king identifying himself with the sun, marrying the land, often identified with the goddess. Many ancient traditions followed this concept, In ancient Egypt the pharoah was also identified as the son of Amun Ra the God of the Sun.

Archaeological digs have revealed that huge fires were burnt at Uisneach from Neolithic times onwards. This area was a site of a druid fire cult. Bealtaine 'bright fire' is when the ritual fires are rekindled from the Sacred Fire at Uisneach. From here at the centre, Éiru renewed her annual promise to bear pasture. Bealtaine is the traditional time of Fertility Rites and the celebration of natures flowing energy and rising power. A time for singing and dancing, the Festival of Expectation, The return of the green. The nearby circular sanctuary, was defined by a ditch, together these two concentric beacon rings around the central Uisneach fire point have been identified as a 'fire eye', which has been discovered on several megalithic depictions, such as the “Hill of the Hag” at Loughcrew. The Old Irish word súil means both 'eye' and 'sun', and it seems the fire's burnt here connected them both.
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The Mystery

According to ancient Irish oral tradition, the poem entitled ‘the mystery' was poem by Amergin, a Milesian poet who came to Ireland hundreds of years before the Christian faith.

'The Mystery'

I am the wind that breathes upon the sea
I am the wave of the ocean
I am the murmur of the billows
I am the ox of the seven combats
I am the vulture upon the rocks
I am a beam of the sun
I am the fairest of plants
I am a wild boar in valor
I am a salmon in the water
I am a lake in the plain
I am a word of science
I am the point of the lance of battle
I am the God who created in the head the fire
Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the moon?
Who teaches the place where couches the sun? If not I?

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Thursday, 2 July 2009

Irish harp has a possible link with ancient Egypt

The Irish love of music is expressed through the harp, its soothing tune and vibrations create instant harmony within the human cords, and transport us to another realm of space time and harmony.

Celtic harps can be found on carvings dating as far back as the 12th century, with surviving examples of actual instruments dating back to the 15th century.

The harp legend tells us that Dagda, a chief among the Taatha De Danaan, owned the first Gaelic harp. However, the harp was stolen by the gods of cold and darkness and given to the Fomorians, a group at war with the Taatha. Seeing this, the gods of light and art, Lugh and Ogma, entered the Fomorian fortress, recovered the harp, and restored it to Dagda.
The gods then gave Dagda two secret names for the harp and called forth summer and winter. From then on Dagda could play Goltrai, Geantrai, and Suantrai…Music that could make men weep, music that brought joy, and music that lulled men to sleep. Thus, Celtic harps became known as the dispensers of sorrow, happiness, and rest.

In the days of the Celtic chieftains, the harpist was the most honored musician and ranked only behind chiefs and bards in social class. The harpists, often blind, would play as the bards recited poetry for their lords. And, when war came, the harpist would bring forth a golden instrument encrusted with fine jewels in order to lead men into battle and spur them to great deeds.

In the Museum of Trinity College, Dublin, there is a small harp known as Brian Boro's harp, which is asumed to be the oldest instrument of the kind now remaining in Europe. It has one row of strings, thirty in number; the upright pillar is of oak, and the sound-board of red sallow. The minute and beautiful carving on all parts of the instrument, attests a high state of artistic skill at whatever period it was executed. As the harp is only thirty-two inches high, it is supposed that it was used by ecclesiastics in the church services, there is evidence of the harp having existed from the first introduction of Christianity. Harps of this description are figured on the knees of ecclesiastics on several of our ancient Irish stone crosses.

The form of the harp has been incorrectly represented on Irish coins. It was first assumed in the national arms about the year 1540. When figured on the coins of Henry VIII., the artist seems to have taken the Italian harp of twenty-four strings for his model; but in the national arms sketched on the map of Ireland in the State Papers, executed in the year 1567, the form is more correct. That the Irish possessed this musical instrument in pre-Christian times, cannot be doubted. A sculptured harp at Nieg, in Rosshire, are believed to be the earliest delineations of the perfect harp. there is also a harp on one of the compartments of a sculptured cross at Ullard, county Kilkenny. This cross is supposed to be older than that of Monasterboice, which was erected A.D. 830, and this is believed to be the first specimen of a harp without a fore pillar that has been discovered out of Egypt. If the Irish harp be really a variety of the cithara, derived through an Egyptian channel, it would form another important link in the chain of evidence, which leads us back to colonization from Egypt through Scythia.
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In the northern part of the lake of Loch Ree (Loch Rí or Loch Ríbh) The site of the first monastery founded in the early Christian era in Eire, which contains the remains of several ancient churches. In Irish legends, it was also on this island that Queen Maeve was also killed. The Viking Turgesius controlled a ring fort from here here; on its shores until his death by drowning in Lough Owel.

We arrived at Clonmacnoise one sunny sunday afternoon, to see the ruins of an old fort standing proud on a man made hill guarding the natural curve in the lake, many small cruise boats moored up beneath it that had lazily roamed the lake.

The fields were full of poppies and buttercups. Walking to the visitor center we passed a carved wooden statue of Adeh the son of Oriel who had died in 606 A.D on pilgrimage. There is an entrance fee into the center from which you have access to the remains of the first christian churches in Ireland.

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Nellies Rock - A portal tomb near a stone circle in Les Carrow Eire

A short 10 minute drive from Newpark Country House in kiltoom, County Roscommon, takes you to the village of Les Carrow where you will find the remains of an ancient Portal Tomb known to the locals as 'Nellies Rock', it is a huge capstone of rock resting on two side entrance stones, it is known as Nellies rock, as a poor woman took refuge under it and raised her child there.

In 1927 the unburnt remains of a powerful young adult male were found beneath the center stone of a small circle of stones, after this discovery two small bronze age urns were found containing burnt human bones were also found near the northern edge of the stone circle, they had been placed on a limestone rock and buried 4ft beneath the surface.

In the gardens of Newpark Country house we have taken our inspiration from this local celtic ancint bronze age landmark, and having unearthed vast amounts of stone from the rear gardens, we are creating a garden in harmony using the inspiration of the ancient Celts, we are creating our own portal tomb, and a stone circle, which will compromise of 7 stones, as 7 is a mystical number, the stones in our gardens we will name 'the seven hathors' . Many ancient religons and beliefs have so many similarities, Hathor was a mother goddess of love joy and fertility, and in her temple in Dendera, there is a room called the seven hathors, as it was believed that these seven hathors were an oracle and could offer the future destiny of a child on its birth.

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