Recently, I read the following phrase … Mo Anam An Bhaile*. Translated from Irish to English means My Soul’s Home. It resonated with me as a way to explain my continued desire to return to Ireland. I find that as I arrive an internal compass kicks in; flickering in all directions and trying to point me towards that elusive ‘place.’
With each destination that I visit a part of me whispers ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ There have been some places that have called me back, such as Cahir and Kilkenny. Many have been nice, but I leave thinking … not here. But there is more to Ireland than I have explored, hence the reason to spend the second part of this trip in the Midlands.
So far, my focus has been primarily in the center of the country or the western side of the Midlands. I have visited some high tourist areas, such as Clonmacnoise and Birr. I hopped over to Galway, and skirted the eastern area of the Midlands by stopping at Kells and Trim. Yesterday, as I reflected on the past week, I thought … it isn’t the Midlands.
Today was a new day. I travelled to the heart of the Boyne Valley which is the eastern side of the Midlands; close to the coast. My goal was the ancient passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, along with the Hill of Tara, the political/spiritual center of Celtic Ireland. As I crossed the River Blackwater and followed the River Boyne from Navan through Slane my internal compass seemed to settle.
I spent five and a half hours at the Newgrange/Knowth complex and then another two hours at Tara, which also included time with a flock of sheep. Both places seemed to blend into the countryside. My focus was as much on my surroundings as it was on the monuments. I stayed until the sun started to set.
Yes, sun. It was another perfect, sunny day. And … now I know where to focus my energies.
*Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland by Christy Nicholas.