Category Archives: Beliefs

Spirit of Place – Dingle Peninsula

This experience shared by Nicole really resonated with me on account of my own inexplicable experiences in the West of Ireland. Experiences which continue to inspire me to this day.

Nicole shares her deeply moving account of feeling a connection to Spirit of Place. Cheers, Kitty.

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Your Podcast episode on Spirit of Place spoke to me, and experiences I had on my visit to Ireland two years ago in June of 2017.

dingle clogher head

I was driving on the Slea Head Drive on Dingle peninsula. The weather on my trip had been for the most part, kind to me. There had been drizzles and a few showers, but generally pleasant weather.

This day it was raining like it meant it, water pouring from the sky with no stopping in sight. As I was driving, I noticed Clogher Head Car Park that looked over a lovely view of the ocean. I pulled over with the intention of sitting in the warm dry car and taking in the scenery and possibly poking my head out to take a few photos. rain puddle (2)

I was ready to leave, when I noticed what appeared to be a standing stone, off to the right.

I am not one who is afraid of a little rain and while I did not have rain gear, I had purchased a small inexpensive umbrella that I thought would service me well enough for a short exploratory walk.

I stepped out of the car and now realized just how hard it was raining, the west wind blowing it so hard that it made any attempt to stay dry under my poor excuse for an umbrella futile. Still, I was drawn to the stone and pressed on.

clogher head dingleWhen I reached the stone, it stood about six feet tall patches of lichen adorning it. It surrounded by a litter of stones that may have at one time been a circle but now just appeared to be randomly scattered on the land.

As I was about to head back to the dry warmth of my rented car, I noticed a foot warn path leading up a hill, and even though I was already quite wet I decided to see where the path led. mud path (2)

I began my walk up the hill holding my umbrella against the wind and rain with little effect. About half way up the hill, the wind suddenly shifted around and now coming from behind me. It first turned my umbrella inside out and then breaking it making it less than useless to battle the weather. Of course I thought, “Well, that is that, I should go back to the car” but the path continued to call me and I pressed on.

Those who have been on the west coast of Ireland know that the winds can be harsh on even the nicest of days, with rain for them to blow it is absolutely brutal. Small drops of water hitting you propelled by the wind turn into wet pellets shot from a gun.

The thought that I was crazy and should turn back returned to my mind over and over. Still , I kept making my way up the hill, cold and soaked to the skin. The top was in view now, and even with my goal so close, I kept thinking I should turn back.

I passed a pile of stones that I now believe was a cairn. The summit was just a short distance now and any thoughts of returning to my car had vanished. When I reached the top, I looked out over the ocean I could see the curve of the earth and felt as though I could see the whole world before me. I stood there and began to weep. I have no explanation why, nor can I fully describe the feeling that accompanied my tears.

clogher head (2)

They were not tears of joy, nor is awe, grief as close as I can come to describing what I was feeling. I stayed for a while, crying with the rain, I don’t know how long I stayed, but at some point I went back down, and sat in the car, engine running heat blasting to warm as well as dry me.

To this day I have no idea what drove me to climb that hill in what was the worst weather of my trip. I feel that the tears I shed had something to do with the cairn, and the standing stone.

I have researched the area, written to various people and agencies to find out anything about what that place may have been in the past. I can find no record of the stone or the cairn anywhere. They are not even listed on the National Monuments Service website. After two years of research, no one seems to be able to help me and I still have no idea why I was driven to climb that hill, why I wept there.

I can only guess, it was the spirit of the place.

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HB4116I would be happy to hear anyone’s thoughts on this experience, if they have had similar experiences in Ireland or elsewhere or even just speculation.

This has ‘haunted’ me since and any thing that might help me understand what happened and why would be welcome.

I have attached the picture of the standing stone I mention in my story.

Nicole.

 

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Banshee in Arkansas

I had a Banshee encounter 6 years ago.

Grammy Pat and Papa Joe were the Godparents of my grandchildren. They were friends that were as close as blood. We had moved into Grammy Pat and Papa Joe’s house because we had lost our house to a flood and they were moving to Oklahoma.

dawn2

I like to sit on the porch early in the morning, especially in the fall and drink my coffee with my dog, Tala. This particular morning it was almost Dawn and the light was soft and pink.

We began to hear someone walking through the woods. Then it sounded like a woman wailing and moaning like she was in terrible pain. The sound was coming closer through the woods.

Tala started whining and pacing. Then she headed over to the door, frantically scratching at it to get in. I walked over and let her in.

veil (2)

I stayed because I thought it was a vixen moving through the woods and I might get to see it. When I finally saw it, it white and humanish.

I freaked out because the word Banshee went through my mind. I ran in the house. My husband and son thought I had lost my mind. My husband said the noise was just a vixen.

I knew better.

I had seen it. Grammy Pat was killed in a head on car accident three days later.

And yes, both of our families have Irish and Scottish blood.

I swear that this a true story.

Carolyn

Vision of Banshee

My Mam was diagnosed with cancer which devastated us. cottage

My daughter, 9 years old, myself and my mother. We had lost so many to that dreaded disease that we had thought it had finished with our family.

My daughter and I stayed with Mam in a lovely bungalow beside the sea. We became her carers, with help from official NHS carers and as luck would have it, this being a small town, we knew the carer.

She became part of our little family as we helped Mam battle against the disease which wanted to take her away from us.

I’ve always believed in the good folk from an early age and told my daughter about them too.

So, one night we were all asleep when something woke my sixth sense, (don’t know what else to call it) and although my body stayed in bed I was aware of walking through to the living room.

I could hear my Mam talking but no one replying as I went through the door.

banshee8 (2)Standing in the middle of the room was a tall being all dressed in white with long grey hair.

She wasn’t quite solid and as she noticed I was there she turned and her face lengthened and her mouth and jaw opened far too wide for my liking.

I became frightened and started to say the Lord’s Prayer to the four corners of the room, as you do and I found myself back in my body and wide awake. I ran through to the living room.

It was empty, my Mam was sleeping.

Upon thinking about it, I apologise to the lady as I realised she was our banasidhe and was preparing Mam for the journey she was going to take to the Summerlands.

As I think back now, I feel blessed that I saw her and also feel safe that she is around us.

 Adele.

Granny hears the Banshee

Vee shares some memories of her Granny and her extraordinary life: being born and raised in a cottage built within a Fairy Fort!

It is clear the Good People looked kindly upon Vee’s Granny, as she had knowledge of the mysteries. She knew, if you treated them with thoughtful kindness, they would not harm you. And more, she knew the call of the Banshee….

* The Sidhe/The Good People.

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My Granny Hollywood was born in Killean, South Armagh, Ireland. old granny

The cottage she was born and raised in was built in a Fairy Fort. The path around the house on one side was actually an internal path in the Fort, with a wall to each side. It was only one person wide, and the wall which made the gable end of the cottage, had markings scratched on it, with swirl patterns and V shapes, reminiscent of the markings at Newgrange.

The dog slept in ‘ the box’, which was a sort of small ‘cave’ made of stone slabs along the wall, topped with a massive slab. A fox would come and share the box with him sometimes.

fox asleep

Granny married a Hollywood, and so was gifted the cure of the whooping cough. When people were frightened of the Si*, she wouldn’t say anything, but she always told us after never to be afraid, that the Si knew us and wouldn’t ever harm us. We just had to leave white Foxglove flowers for them.

foxglove

Although a devout catholic, Granny followed the old ways too.

There was a bend in the road a bit down from the Fort. One of Granny’s sisters was afraid to pass this place alone, and always had to be escorted past…to school, to work, any time she had to go that way. If she was alone, she would walk the fields rather than pass it!

She married and lived over the road a bit. One night when my Dad was wee, he was sleeping up in the cottage and he kept waking up complaining he could hear a cat yowling.

Everyone passed it off as a dream, but Granny got anxious, and wanted them to go looking for her sister who hadn’t arrived for her usual Ceili.

They went looking for her, and they found her dead, just at the bend of the road.

Granny said it wasn’t a cat, it was the Bean Si (Banshee) that Dad had heard, trying to warn them. She said Dad was special to the Si.

bend road

On Mam’s side, most of my female ancestress’ had the gift of perception. Some could see, some could hear, but they nearly all could foretell danger. But as they lived in the town, Granny discouraged them speaking of it, as they would be shunned.

Even yet, some people will be hostile. ☘️

Vee – Ireland

Faerie Phantom?

This is a fascinating experience. I suspect that given Simon feels this was some ‘Faerie intervention’, it probably was, but… it is difficult to explain. We would need to consider the incidence of Faerie attaching themselves to particular families and also ‘appearing’ great distances from home.
It is particularly interesting that Mary was raised in a family not only aware of the Good People, but clearly allowed the Good People into their daily lives. It’s a curious one, please let me know what you think, or if you have heard of a similar occurrence.
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I was recently reminded of an interesting experience I had in my youth which I feel may be a time I encountered these Good People.  I feel that I may have encountered some sort of changeling… yet I would love to hear your view on this encounter.

 

It was many years ago, in the early 2000s.  I was fairly young and living in my home country of Australia, in the capital city of Canberra.  I had been dating a young Irish girl whom came to Australia for a holiday.  Her name was Mary and we hit it off and quickly moved in together before we planned on getting married (yes, it was a very quick romance… I think the whole issue of getting a visa played a big part in this).

Her family were very angry that she had decided to marry someone they never met, and after weeks of phone calls and letters they persuaded her to come home to Ireland for a short while before she would return for the marriage.  It was their intention to talk her out of it when she was home.

plane moon

Mary and I drove to Sydney International airport with a few of my friends who wanted to see her off too.  Mary and I said our sad goodbyes, promising to see each other again in a couple of months when she would return.  I watched her walk to the departure gate and leave.  I sadly returned to Canberra (several hours drive away) with my friends, where we decided to go out in an attempt to cheer me up and get my mind off missing Mary.

 

We decided to go to the movies, where we would watch a movie (funnily enough) called “Something about Mary” and we were the only people in the cinema.  After the movie, we chatted for a while as the credits rolled before my friends and I stood to leave.

cinema chairs
The cinema lights had been turned on, and we could see very well.  As we entered the aisle to leave , near the door to the cinema, stood Mary.  She stood there staring at us, wearing the same clothes we just saw her wearing when she boarded the plane, with no real expression on her face.  My friends and I stopped in the aisle when we saw her… we all looked at each other and one of them asked if that was Mary.
I told them it couldn’t be… they were with me when I dropped her off at the airport… she should be well into her flight back to Ireland.  We stood and watched her for a moment before she turned slowly and proceeded to walk to the closed door.
At this point we started to follow, she opened the door and walked through, allowing it to close behind her.  We quickly reached the door and opened it, to see her standing in the main cinema corridor (from which other cinema’s branched).
The corridor was only partially lit, yet we could see her very clearly.  She was part way up the corridor, her body sideways to us and she watched us as we left the cinema.  My friends again told me that it was Mary, yet I said that it can’t be Mary… I said that they knew as well as I did that she was on a plane, and this person was acting very strange.
blur girl (2)
We stood in silence, watching her before she moved again.  She slowly turned and walked down the corridor away from us, heading towards the large cinema at the end of the hall.  I could see as she walked, her head turned slightly every now and then to see us as she walked.  I knew she wanted me to follow her, and my friends asked if I was going to follow her.  I wanted to,,, yet I replied that I wouldn’t follow.
I knew it wasn’t my Mary… I didn’t know what it was, yet I suspected that it was not a good idea to follow this figure.
A day or two later. Mary called from Ireland to let me know she arrived home safely.  When I told her about the figure I had witnessed, she had no knowledge of this visitation we encountered… not that I thought she would.
One more interesting point… when I did meet her family they were very connected to the Faerie world.  Not a day would go by without them mentioning something about the Good People… something, at the time, I thought was very unusual.
When I think back, knowing what I do now, could it be possible that the Good People were trying to prevent Mary and I from being together?  If so, it changed little as Mary and I married later that year, although our marriage didn’t work out in the end. So who knows?
I often wonder what would have happened had I followed that “pseudo” Mary.  Would my life be more interesting?  Would I have gone to some place amazing?  Or was it some phantom creature who meant to cause me harm?
I guess I will never know.
Simon – Sydney.
girl in hole 2

The Tale of a Foiled Fairy Abduction

Did you know there is a long-held belief that the Faerie are repelled by iron? In fact, those walking late at night would often carry an iron rod in their coat pocket for protection in case they were to cross paths with a Faerie on their journey.

I’m not sure how they would use this iron rod to rid themselves of a pesky Faerie, surely not try to whack it?

Certainly, if you whacked the Faerie it might buy you time to run away, but if you swing and miss, you could have a very angry Faerie on your hands with nothing but your wits to help you.

Perhaps the idea was simply to hold the bar between yourself and the Faerie and this would cause the Faerie to simply go away. We know that in days gone by it was common for parents to lay an iron rod or open scissors over the cradle or bed of their baby or young child.

It was said this would prevent the Faerie from abducting the baby. But would it really work?

The answer could be found in this story sent in by Grace from Toronto, Canada.

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Don’t believe in Fairy abductions? My Granny would have a sit down with you and soon set you straight.

thatched house

From the very day of her birth, Granny’s parents carefully lay their iron fire-poker across the basket she slept in. They were believer’s you see, in the Good People. Well, wasn’t everyone back then? But times have changed and now there are fewer who believe. Who knows, maybe the Good People like it that way. My Granny thinks so and she says she should know.

I’ve lived one foot in our world and the other foot in theirs” so she says. You see, when Granny was but a few months old, the Good People tried to steal her away.

Without a drop of whiskey on her breath she’ll tell you that she was asleep in her wee basket when there was a commotion out back of her parent’s cottage.

baby basket

They lived in County Limerick at that time, it was a farm, with mainly sheep she says, and anyway all hell had broken loose tween sheep and dogs and Granny’s Mam and Pop upped and ran outside to see the damage.

As it happened, there was nothing to see, nothing at all. It had been all bluster for the sheep and dogs were only calm and dozey. Which was strange in itself.

Granny’s Mam was pretty canny, and she hightailed it back the cottage to find Granny, still wrapped tight in her blanket, laying at the threshold at the front door. Fast asleep.

Granny was told by her parents that the Good People had distracted them so they could steal her away for she was ‘touched’, having one blue eye and one green you see. Only they couldn’t get her out from the cottage on account she’d been baptised.

Granny will tell you the iron bar did nothing to keep the Good People from reaching in her basket and whatsmore, it wasn’t true, her being baptised. It’s what her parents told anyone who asked, but in truth, she was yet to be baptised and only a day or two after the ‘visit’ as Granny calls it, her parents took her on the quiet to the Priest for to get the job done.

old lady (2)

 

So we can only guess that the Good People dropped Granny to the ground when they heard her Mam approaching. I think Granny enjoys telling the story and wears it as a kind of badge actually.

It is remarked by many who have known Granny that she has lived a charmed life on account of her touch by the Good People. There could be something to that, she is nearing 100 years old after all and as bright and feisty as ever before.  

Grace Toronto, Canada.

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If we are to believe Grace’s Granny, neither iron or baptism will provide protection from the Good People. It seems if they have their mind set on abduction, or meddling in the lives of Humans, there is little we can do to stop them.

But, there may be plenty we can do to appease them.

We know that the Good People favour ancient sites such as ring forts, standing stones and wells. It is also widely accepted they dwell in or near places of natural beauty, rivers, woodlands, oceans, forests and the like and treasure particular trees such as the Hawthorn and Rowan.  

There is much we can learn from this. Clearly if you want to avoid the Good People altogether, staying within the concrete and steel of an inner city is your best bet, but even then you shouldn’t get complacent. For every city has its trees and parks, ponds and lakes. You never know who might be lurking up a tree or behind a bush.

Surely the best advice to avoid ‘wicked’ attention from the Good People is to live your life in a way which does not offend or annoy them. It’s not so hard to score some Brownie points (‘scuse the pun) and keep the Good People on side. Here are 2 quick and easy tips to help you on your way:

Tip One: We know they love nature, so it follows no self-respecting Faerie would bring harm to the door of a Human who cares for their environment. Tidy up after yourself, recycle, upcycle, downcycle, cycle to work or school, pick up rubbish in the park, in drains or grates to avoid waste entering the sea or rivers and tend your own garden, even if it’s a single pot plant. This is certain to please them.

Tip Two: It is known that Faerie will take vengeance on Humans who are cruel or neglectful of animals and even each other. Be kind, in words and actions. Particularly to those who are vulnerable, the young and old, the injured, the lost or lonely. If the Faerie see your kindness, who knows, they might leave some good fortune at your own door.

Bonus Tip: Do not try to hit a Faerie with an iron bar, or anything else for that matter. There may be much we don’t know about the Faerie but one thing is absolutely certain, you would live to regret it. – Kitty.

The Fairy Whistle

I have never heard a tale quite like this one. Could it be the Leanan Sidhe at work?

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We were only teenagers then. Had been on the drink after a game like. My three cousins and me, walking home at a stumble.

The oldest, I won’t tell his name, was barely walking at all. Me and my other cousins took turns half carrying him across the fields and anyway we all fell into this ditch. It was shallow enough, and we all just lay there, under a tall tree, looking up at the stars for I can’t say how long.

starry sky

The night was silent, and so were we, which I suppose was the first sign of something unusual. Then we hear this music. It was simple, a whistle I think it was. Quiet, but close. I said to my cousin who was less inebriated than the other two “Do you hear that?”. He says “I do”. There was no one around for miles. My cousins’ house the only one nearby.

We listened for a time. All four of us. It was the most beautiful tune, played over and again. Almost had me in a daze. Then I shot up and realized we were laying our backs against the side of a fairy ring. I knew it well in daylight and wouldn’t go near it then. So, I upped and got them moving again.

peak-district-1350153 (2)

Well we got home no trouble and next day recalled the whistle we heard. We all four of us remembered it the same but swore not to mention it to our Mam’s for fear they’d tear strips off us for being foolish enough to sit on a fairy fort. But that tune, it was lighter and sweeter than anything I’d heard before or since.

Now you’ll be expecting me to tell you some terrible bad luck befell the four of us soon after. Well it didn’t. We were fine. In fact, I suppose you could say we were better than fine. For a time.

Each of us grew and spread our wings. My cousins each excelled in their field of interest. It’s not for me to tell their names but one was a successful multimedia artist in the city, another was a regarded musician who had traveled the world and the last was a history teacher who published several books on Fairy Folklore.

I say was because all 3 are passed now. Suddenly and every one before their 30th birthday. They each lived a short, bright life and I too have enjoyed a surprising measure of success in my own field.

In the end, we only saw each other at funerals. We’d look at each other with these eyes you know. Now there’s only me left. Well anyway, the thing is, I turn 30 myself next year and find myself wondering about that fairy fort, and the whistle we heard that night. And I wonder what awaits me.

Michael – Ireland.

I received a follow-up email from Michael and he asked me to add a curious detail which he forgot to include in his own account. Michael says that since that night, when he and his cousins lay back on the wall of the fairy fort, none of the 4 men ever experienced a sleeping dream. Ever again. Make of that what you will. If you have a theory on this, or how it relates to his extraordinary tale, I would love to hear it.

I wish Michael all the very best and thank him again for sharing.

Cheers, Kitty.