Mar. 2nd, 2017

Still there

Mar. 2nd, 2017 08:20 am
smokingboot: (stars door)
http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/away-with-the-fairies-irish-folklore-is-alive-and-weird-1.2986702

This is not a grand time, but magical lands defy time.

I recall visiting my old friend Olivia at Clonegal Castle one May night - probably closer to Walpurgis than the eve of May, can't recall. I was staying at Mrs Plunkett's boarding house, and walked the long driveway in the dark, and in my mind's eye, became aware of activity in the field, not cows but something else, the sense of faces peeking out at me, very mischievous and not entirely friendly, from between the roots and shrubs. Why didn't I look directly towards them? I was a little afraid. Then the wind started up, and I approached the great trees either side of the drive way, and they creaked, slow and ominous in their song. Then I was frightened in a very different way. I could have sworn I was in the presence of the dead. I ran the last length of the drive out along the road to Mrs Plunkett's where a flameless but warm peat fire awaited me in my room.

Next morning I learned that six men had been hung from those trees during the Jacobite rebellion.

There are many fairy traditions that mention spotting the dead among the fairy troops. When Christians get involved the stories turn to connections between the Fae and Hell, tithes of souls and fallen angels. But then, Christianity has long been something of a homogenising force; if it's not an angel or human, it's bad, a response to an older tradition, hard to displace, the people of the wind and the hollow hills.

I am glad it lives yet.

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