On John R.’s Christmas Window
Druids or Starlings
Last week I posted this photo which I took while walking along the clifftop in Ballybunion. This is what I wrote:
Druid’s Lair is located on the Cliff Path Walk north of the town, overlooking a sheer drop to the rocks below. This area is steeped in folklore and legend, with magnificent views of the Wild Atlantic Way in the distance. Deep in the pages of Ballybunion’s history is a story of Druid worship, when this turbulent epoch saw human sacrifices made to the Celtic god Mananann.
It is said that centuries ago, on May mornings as the dawn broke, sacrificial offerings were made to honour the Celtic god. This involved placing a victim at the abyss near the Scolt facing the Shannon Estuary. Specially-chosen executioners commenced the gruesome ceremony by striking blows to the victim’s head; a garrote was then used to complete the sacrifice, and the body was cast over the cliffs into the raging tide below.
Today the area is quiet and peaceful, allowing visitors to enjoy the walk along the cliffs, blissfully unaware of the blood-thirsty history behind the name Scoilt Na Dhrida!
I was contacted by Jim MacMahon who told me that he knew this place as Scolt na Droid, a reference to the starlings that gather there to this day.
So I went back to Ballybunion.ie. No starlings. I consulted Danny Houlihan’s book and discovered that Ballybunion.ie had got its information from there. I contacted Danny and he says that indeed this place is known as Starlings’ Cove today but he heard about the old mythological name from a family whose ancestors lived in Ballybunion before the Famine. So Ballybunion people, Scolt na Dhrida or Scolt na Droid or maybe Druid, take your pics.
Do You Remember the Year of The Gathering?
There we were at The Seanchaí at the very first meeting of North Kerry Reaching Out, an organisation set up to entice emigrants back for a visit.
Recently I went to Aghadoe to visit the grave of a recently departed very dear friend. It’s a very beautiful part of Killarney that is fairly new to me.
This looks like the remains of an old tower or keep. The sign below sheds no light on its history.
In the graveyard is the ruins of an old albbey and as we have seen in any other such churches around Kerry people are now buried within the walls of the church.
While I was in the churchyard I explored a little and I found over the hedge is the newer lawn cemetery. I had not encountered a private cemetery like this one before. It’s very uniform and military looking.