The first labyrinth I walked in Ireland was a Triple Spiral one mown into the grass on the property of Moya McGinley in Drumkeeran, Co Leitrim. We spent most of the day nourished by Moya’s hospitality (and food) and talking about her work as a healer, her land and her labyrinth. She has planted many of the Ogham trees, some at key points throughout the labyrinth. The ancient Celtic alphabet consisted of 20 characters. Each character had an associated tree which represented particular attributes and healing properties. She also has a well, a fire pit and workshop room as spaces for healing and ceremony.
The following day we visited Michael McGahon at Quarryfield House near Ballymote. Here, his wife works as a healer and workshop facilitator while Michael works as a musician. Once again, a very beautiful property with healing spaces tucked away in different corners of the garden and Ogham trees in varying stages of maturity.
After Sligo I was travelling alone and headed first for Gort where I was gifted accommodation by an amazing healer and labyrinth facilitator. It was so good to have somewhere to stop and gather myself for a few days. Sara Jane has a crystal bed in her treatment room where I did my meditation each morning. It was very nurturing to establish a mini routine and go off to my favourite coffee shop after breakfast each day. I was driven out to Mountshannon labyrinth overlooking Lough Derg one beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon.
Over and over I had the experience of getting lost in Ireland: either because I find it hard to follow directions once they involve more than two steps or because road signs ceased to exist or because the GPS, when it was working, deliberately took me the most convoluted way. Fortunately I was able to follow Dennis Daly to his property out in the ‘middle of nowhere’ near Abbeyfeale or I would still be looking. Dennis is a wonderful, enthusiastic healer and labyrinth builder. His grass labyrinth is high on a hill overlooking Co Kerry. We were accompanied on our walk to the labyrinth by an assortment of dogs and chickens.
Mika (part Husky, part German Shepherd) sat on a mound at the entrance to the labyrinth and acted as guardian throughout my entire walk. Roxie came and dropped the rock she was carrying in her mouth as a gift when I reached the centre. The view to the distant rural landscape, the wind blowing, running my hands through the knee high grass plus the company of the dogs made it an exhilarating walk.
I then went to try and find the medicine wheel in the next field. The rocks marking the four directions were well obscured by long grass but the circle became increasingly obvious as I walked around and around the perimeter. One of the small terrier dogs, Boxer, came to walk alongside me and while I was in the centre Roxie ran up and deposited her teddy bear at my feet. A rare gift indeed! I truly enjoyed their company, their warmth and companionship, and they were a reminder not to take myself or life too seriously.