Category Archives: Sacred Sites

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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Faerie Spotting on the Isle of Man – John H.

A special treat here. John from Liverpool had a fascinating encounter with Faerie on the Isle of Man in 1994.

isle of man map

John was visiting the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy – Annual Motorcycle Event) when he and a friend took a walk and found themselves in the middle of a very strange experience. You know me, I wanted details, details, details, so…

John has kindly put together some background information for us about the long-standing and lively Faerie activity on the Isle of Man, just to set the scene. 

This information is well worth the read, and will set you up nicely to visualize John’s own experience which follows. isle of man tt2

 

 

I hope you will enjoy. As for me, I’ve just added the Isle of Man to my ‘must visit’ list. Cheers, Kitty.

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The whole area from the main road junction to up the Glen and to Snaefell has a rich heritage of Folklore and associated phenomena so i’ll start the tour with a round up of witness events and sightings and locations.

If anyone visits the Isle of Man and has a some time to spend on an walk, this is a good stretch of the legs! To begin with to get there by public transport a bus passes the road junction at Milntown corner!

Isle of Man. Photo by www.iomchamber.org.im
Isle of Man. Photo by http://www.iomchamber.org.im

From Ramsey to Douglas via Peel, on the TT motorcycle course the A3 main road, Milntown house is a large property open to visitors has its share of ghosts: A white lady, a Clergyman, another unknown man, footsteps a horse and carriage in the courtyard.

Milntown House was once home to Manx (Isle of Man) national martyr and home to the Christian family (as in: Fletcher Christian of “Munity on the Bounty ” fame!). There are other assorted apparitions in and around the house including the infamous Milntown Moddey-Dhoo, a huge phantom black dog with enormous fiery red eyes and shaggy coat. Often seen up and down Glen Auldyn and always a bad omen sign of impending doom!

Across the road from Milntown house is Magher y Trodden..”the field of contest” which is said to contain an ancient cemetery and haunt of the fairies. Once a battle site below Skye Hill between the Norse Vikings and ancient Celts.

The meadow skirted by the Sulby river was the area where other strange beings would be witnessed such as the Tarroo-Ushtey or Water Bull coming out of the river into the field.

Also the Moddey-Dhoo (Black Dog) and the Cabbyl-Ushtey (or Water Horse) or Cabbyl-Oie (The Night Horse) all lurked here at the junction of river,watermill and reputed burial grounds. Making it a place to hurry past if dark. Overshadowing trees emphasize the forbidding reputation in past pre electric street light times!

This is where to begin the walk up Glen Auldyn  passing many locations of sightings of Gnome-like creatures, Fairfolk, ghosts, strange lights, Witchcraft, and the Phenoderee.

Here is an extract from WW Gills ‘Manx Scrapbook2’ of a witness sighting on the main road junction.

“Winter of 1912, the Witness was walking from Ramsey to Milntown in the evening . As she was nearing the corner, but short of the darkest part. Suddenly a figure appeared in front of her!

Facing her was a little man 2 foot high, wearing a red cap and a long blue coat with lots of shining buttons down the front of it! He had white hair and a bushy beard all over the lower part of his face, bright blue eyes and was smiling at her! She felt amused at seeing him!

He carried a lantern with a brilliant spark of light in it making him visible his upper face 

covered in wrinkles. They stood and looked at each other for a few minutes before he then vanished! Her mothers sister had a similar experience a generation ago.

This useful light used to appear on dark nights to traveller’s to assist them on the corner.

12 Years earlier this Guardian or ‘Spook Light’ with a similar Gnome type entity was also

seen further up Glen Auldyn. This time the Gnome sat upon the chest of a man who had fell asleep near the Quarries.

Also the Gnome figures seen again by a visitor to the Isle of Man who had taken an 

early walk up the Glen to the Quarries area. On a bright morning about 10am 

he saw figures dancing in a circular motion, he said he felt strange watching the figures

who where small and had a grey look of fungus,he repeated the walk to the same area and saw them again for a second time.”

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More about the Milntown Moddey-Dhoo. The phantom black dog that haunts the Glen has been seen with many witness reports.

The Moddey-Dhoo was seen by in 1931 by a Doctor by the side of the road just beyond Milntown Corner at 2am on his way to attend a call from a person who was ill also seen in 1927 before the witness’ father died. A Portent of evil connected with a similar Moddey-Dhoo that haunts the Sulby Hills.black dog (2)

In his Third’ Manx Scrapbook’, Manx folklorist WW Gill’s tells of his friend meeting the Milntown Moddey-Dhoo at night in 1931 coming  from the Sulby direction. It had enormous fiery eyes, lit up face and shoulders and a long shaggy coat. Black and bigger than a normal looking animal.

It turned aside and left across the road and disappeared up Glen Auldyn . 2 Days later there was a great flood. isle of man fairy bridge (2)

Another story tells this apparition was exorcised by local Ewan Christian in the 1800’s… apparently it didn’t take.

Continuing  up the Glen we came to the bridge crossing the river where there is another story.

In old roads folklore, it is said that supernatural guardians remained faithful to their charges long after the crossings were spanned by stone bridges.

There is evidence of Haunted Fairy bridges. The spirit appears as a White Hand which makes a sign to those in Danger. The Warning Hand will push or place itself on people in danger of falling in the river in flood. A phantom rescuer!

isle of man3 fairy bridge

The Old Fairy Bridge,Isle of Man. photo www.atlanticreligion.com

 

The arm which pushed a woman back from a swollen river in the dark is carved on the Bridge but I didn’t see it unless, it’s a replacement bridge now (just opposite the chapel incidentally). A sacred nook is also said to be on this road.

There is also some other entity mentioned earlier also called the Night Horse, usually seen at in the evening time in moonlight and seen by a Christian of Milntown.

Turning the corner of the road he saw what he described as “A fine horse of terrible beauty, saddled awaiting a rider. If ridden though this horse would gallop to the nearest water, plunging into it to drown and devour it’s passenger. ghosty

The entity haunting this area could be a shapeshifter and adopt numerous disguises it seems. I had been informed orally that another ghost haunts this Bridge: a patient or nurse that walks from the cottage hospital to the site (unconfirmed).

It should be mentioned here that this road and pathway form part of the Millennium way across the Island, a Royal ancient highway.

The crossroads are a place where spirits come and go, many disposed of by the Black Dog.

Sweeping the crossroads on festive occasions to clear them of spirits and bring better luck on New Years day eve is still a tradition on the Isle of Man.

Continuing up the Glen on the other side of the river now towards Snaefell Mt. and the end of the B road where the houses stop and it goes to a wood land path entered via a metal gate.

You will find Skye hill to the right, forested slopes, and North Barrule Mt to the left. There is a river to the left and a wooded glade. It is here you will find the Phenoderee of Glen Aldyn.

By far the most famous tale of fairfolk in Glen Auldyn is the Phenoderee story and this will feature in Part Two: ‘Faerie Encounter on the Isle of Man’.

John – Liverpool

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.

Lights at Trundle Hill Fort

I remember going to the Trundle (Hill Fort) in Sussex one Lammas eve just before sunset only to find it unusually quiet (I had the place to myself).

Trundle hill fort sussex (2)

southdowns.gov.uk

Got the odd feeling the whole hill was being somehow set outside of the stream of time for a while, or somehow time was flowing round it (this won’t make much sense to anyone who hasn’t felt something similar themselves).

At the top I happened to look down at the grass and was amazed to see what we call “glow-worms”. The insects with the lit up bodies. They hadn’t been there/glowing before that. Not one or two mind you, but hundreds and hundreds. The whole damn hill was covered in them like stars! It was a really beautiful sight at sunset I can tell you.

Now I grew up on a farm not so very far away from this hill in Surrey, and never saw a “glow-worm” in all my life before that (I was 18-ish), and I have only ever seen one since (I’m 50).

I definitely got the feeling the “fair folk” were putting on a show somehow, manipulating the natural world, though I dare say the less impressionable souls will see nothing to wonder at. But there it is.

Guthfrith Karlsson – England.