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Spirited Ireland

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Doors and Windows

enjoy music while reading:   Green Gates
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Ballina Moyne Abbey

Ballina - Moyne Abbey

Old ruins and especially their windows and doorways always fascinated me - the flickering lights and shadows on ancient stones, the idea of doors being thresholds, windows as a symbol for an open mind or a mind that wants to break free but has to pass the gate of inner freedom first. I often sat down right underneath the archway with eyes closed trying to imagine the people that walked in or out, hasty or in prayer, chatting or in deep thoughts, bowing down or looking up to the wide stretching arches. However, doorways and windows can be closed or open, but the ruins taught me, the older I get the more I should open up my mind.

Ballinskelligs

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
 
George Bernard Shaw

More random quotes of the Irish poet here

Images of Ireland - Co.Kerry - Ballinskelligs
Images of Ireland - Co.Clare - Bealaclugga Corcomroe Abbey

Bealaclugga - Corcomroe Abbey

No window is too narrow to give not at least a tiny perspective on life's essential chapters.

Cashel - Hore Abbey

Amazing, how the sun suddenly broke through the dark clouds and dived the stones in golden light. Minutes before Hore Abbey looked spooky.

Images of Ireland - Co.Tipperary - Cashel Hore Abbey
Images of Ireland - Co.Tipperary - Cashel Hore Abbey

Cashel - Hore Abbey

I found a very interesting sermon about doorways, written by Mary Wellemeyer, who's member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, but that doesn't mean I advertise the UUC with the link. There's just a lot of wisdom in this one sermon worth to read.

Cashel - Hore Abbey

The cloister in monasteries was built for slow walks in silence circling around the center, usually a garden, sometimes a well - a place where the thoughts should rest or concentrate.
Only one of the pillars of this cloister is left like a forefinger raised as if to say:
 
'Wanderer, hold on, don't walk to fast, take your time for a look into the center of life.'

Images of Ireland - Co.Tipperary - Cashel Hore Abbey
Images of Ireland - Co.Tipperary - Cashel Hore Abbey

Cashel - Hore Abbey

Look at this slender, elegant pilar. It doesn't demonstrate might, but transcendence. I wonder, what may have inspired the sculpture to build such fragile stonework?

Clonmacnoise

To cross a portal like this means, to leave something behind before you enter the hall, the outside world, bad thoughts, stress, burdens, pressure, noise. That counts for cathedrals as well as for ruins of churches. The three keepers above the entrance remind of being serious and devout. In fact a touristic attraction looses a lot of this old meaning of portals.

Images of Ireland - Co.Offaly - Clonmacnoise
Images of Ireland - Co.Offaly - Clonfert

Clonfert

Not only wise men in stone watch the people going in and out. The doorway of this romanic church in Clonfert wears many faces of biests, that seem to say: 'Careful, wanderer, to step into this church could mean to never be the same as before, leave the biest outside, go in as an empty shell and come out as a new person.'

Cong - Ross Abbey

And if you are going to use the confession, make sure, no one is listening, well, no one except the usual cow. But she is under the vow of secrecy.

Images of Ireland - Co.Galway - Cong Ross Abbey
Images of Ireland - Co.Galway - Cong Ross Abbey

Cong - Ross Abbey

Symmetry is the base of the middle age architecture. May be it's the reason why some find harmony and balance for their life in old monasteries and churches, no matter how ruined they are. The romanic doorway descibes a perfect semicircle, the upper world in the old beliefs, the windows are wonderful mosaics, each one is unique.

Dingle - Gallarus Oratory

Small the hut, narrow the door, and a weird face looking at you through the window. Not comfortable enough? It was raining cats and dogs the other day and it was 100% dry inside.

Images of Ireland - Co.Kerry - Dingle Gallarus Oratory
Images of Ireland - Co.Kerry - Dingle Gallarus Oratory

Dingle - Gallarus Oratory

I was brave enough to get closer to the strange face, some earth-spirit or who would you say is watching us here?

Kilworth - Gate

At the edge of the fields we know lies a hedgerow, a very ordinary sort of hedgerow containing a rustic gate. Hedgerow and gate delineate the presence of a place which is neither here nor there, neither up nor down, neither in nor out, neither real nor imagined. The hedgerow and its rude gate are a threshold of sorts, a doorway or liminal space, and like all liminal spaces, they are a place of strong magic, not simply a barrier between here and there, as they appear to be at first glance. Like all liminal spaces, hedgerow and gate are also a corridor or passageway into the unknown (but occasionally glimpsed and heard) mysterious worlds which lie beyond the fields we know. Within the liminal space of the gate/hedgerow and beyond it lies something rich and strange, a dimension which is by times, extraordinary, creative, exhilarating and terrifying.   Source: Kerrdelune

Standing there in the early chilly County Cork morning, I started to believe in the above words.

Images of Ireland - Co.Cork - Kilworth Gate
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Mullet St. Dervla

Mullet Peninsula - St. Dervla

Windows - and doorframes are both, a port and protection. And they finally show the immense gauge of the walls. The window may be narrow, to narrow to pass it, but there's a saying ... who can pass it won't go to hell. And the trick is, pass it with your eyes, from the inside to the outside, and the panorama of the bay with the holy Croagh Patrick in the background just gives a feeling of being in heaven. And may the devil fly off with your worries.

Mullet Peninsula - St. Dervla

For students of Buddhism, particularly Zen, doorways, gates and thresholds are powerful symbols and metaphors for mindful living and the plane of earthly existence. Buddhist literature contains an abundance of references to such places and commentaries on them. In Buddhist practice, anything at all may become a doorway or gate, and beyond each and every one, enlightenment and the Buddha are waiting to be discovered. Through the simple act of entering a doorway or stepping onto a threshold, one acknowledges and makes a commitment to something which is at the same time smaller and greater than the self. One meditates on the intrinsic nature of the threshold, on the random thoughts which form there and are held within the space, on those who travelled the path before us and came to this place, and on those who are yet to come. When one is thinking of other beings, doorways and thresholds become gates of compassion and realms of Tara.   Source: Kerrdelune
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Mullet St. Dervla

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