Gryphon Park
Ireland 2000:

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Ireland - 2000

In September of 2000, we took a two week tour of Ireland. Our starting point was Shannon Airport on the west coast. Shannon Airport is located at the southern end of County Clare on the west coast. Flying into Shannon, I got my first glimpse of the Irish countryside with its glowing green patchwork of the fields separated by stone walls.

County Clare

Cliffs of Moher

The next day we set off to see our first tourist site, the Cliffs of Moher. When we arrived, it was raining and very foggy but we trudged out to the cliffs anyway. At the cliff's edge we could hardly see anything due to the fog. That was a big disappointment to me. We headed on to Doolin. While exploring Doolin, we went down to sea and were able to see the Cliffs of Moher clearly. The rapid change from clear to rain to clear again was my first lesson in just how changeable the Irish weather is. We headed back to the Cliffs of Moher so I could get a good look at the 700 foot high cliffs.

Carran Church

Heading out of Doolin, our plan was to see the Poulnabrone Dolmen and then head on Galway city. Along the road we came to this ruined church which turned out to be a special place. It's built over a ceremonial mound from prehistoric times. To me, it's fascinating that the people of 4000 years ago, as well as the people of 1000 years ago, find the same site sacred. I too felt a special sense of peace at the sight.

In the church yard, we met an gentleman named Paddy McNamara who has done extensive research about the church and shared with us some of the special points about the church. He pointed out to us the symbol of the Knights Templar and the knight head pictured below. He also told us the rocks visible in the church yard were tombstones from freedom fighters killed in an 18th century uprising against the British. The uprising failed and the families were allowed to bury their dead in the church yard but were not permitted to mark the graves with the names of the dead.

Symbol of the Knights Templar

Poulnabrone Dolmen

The Poulnabrone Dolmen sits on the edge of the Burren. The Burren is a very rugged, rocky region. The Dolmen sits on top of a rocky mound and in photographs looks larger than it actually is.

Poulnabrone means "the hole of the sorrows." The gentlemen we had met in the yard of the Carran church told us that what the dolmen sits on is more significant than the dolmen itself.

The power of the Dolmen is not in its size but rather the energy it radiates. Although I'm not a person believing in the supernatural, I had the feeling at the Dolmen that it is protected by some force I cannot define.