The Haw in Hawthorn

I originally published these blossoms as “wild  rose”.  It was my Facebook friends who pointed  out these are hawthorn flowers.  The key to identification was the shape of the leaves.

Hawthorne Blossoms on the former McArdle Home
Blossoms of Hawthorne taken on the site of the former McCardle Home, Proleek Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

In correcting my mistake, I learned the young leaves of Hawthorn are excellent for salads.  Wonder how the fairy folk, associated with single hawthorns (as in the following photograph from the Hill of Tara), react to picking leaves from their trees?  I didn’t hear of the practice during our time in Ireland.

Speaking Stone Hill of Tara
View northwest from Hill of Tara looking across County Meath with views of Counties Westmeath and Cavan. On the horizon, right, is Hag’s Mountain, (Irish: Sliabh na Caillí) , site of the Loughcrew Cairns. The standing stone is the “Stone of Destiny: (Irish: Lia Fáil), which served in coronation the coronation of the High Kings of Ireland. It stands on the Inauguration Mound (Irish: an Forrad) of Tara. This photograph was taken the morning of May 27, 2014 hours before the stone was vandalized, doused with green and red paint.

My mistake was understandable, in botany the hawthorn is in the same family as the rose.  The flowers are similar, having five petals.  The “haw” in hawthorn is from the Old English word for hedge, as is this linear standoff the tree lining the way up to the Loughcrew Cairns.

Path on Hag's Mountain, Loughcrew
Reaching highest point of County Meath, Ireland means a steep path, not too long, to glorious views on all points plus Lough Craobh (Lake of the Branches).

I read these votive offerings are made at Beltane, in which case these are fresh from placement May 1.

Hawthorn Tree with Offerings
A hawthorn tree in bloom on May 27, 2016. Growing on the slope of Hag’s Mountain

The following year Pam underwent double total knee replacements, never the less, she was great company for all our adventures on the island.  Even this steep climb.

Pam and the Offering Hawthorn
The steep path to Loughcrew passes a hawthorn covered with flowers and May offerings.

These views were our reward for reaching the top.

Loughcrew View, North by Northwest
View from Loughcrew Cairns, “Hags Mountain”

The Emerald Isle, we fully understood this name.

Standing Stone, Loughcrew
Loughcrew Megalithic Site, County Meath, Ireland. A solitary standing stone below the trail to the Loughcrew site surrounded by whin bush (gorse) and hawthorn hedge rows. A fieldstone fence, farmhouses, a patchwork quilt of fields completes the view.

The Greek name for the Hawthorn species is formed from two words meaning “strength” and “sharp”, referring to the thorny branches.

Charlemagne of County Cork
For County Cork we stayed with Marantha House B&B.   Our day of arrival, that evening, I visited Charlemagne and fed him an apple, saved from dinner. We learned from our hosts, Olwen and Douglas Venn, he is a retired show horse they rescued. The following morning I visited Charlemagne again with an apple and my camera. As I walked up, starting from the far end of his field, Charlemagne rewarded me with a series of astounding poses, trotting toward me in fine form. The morning mists, hawthorn in bloom, distant hills came together for this memory.

We marveled at the hawthorn hedges in field after field.  I first notice them from the World Heritage Site, Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne, “Palace of the Boyne”).  Here is one on the Dingle Peninsula, on the other side of the island.

Field of Yellow Iris Flowers, Dingle Peninsula
A roadside field of yellow Iris flowers with flowering Hawthorn and Whin Bush in the windbreaks. Looking northwest toward Killeenagh and Caherpierce on the R561 between Lack West and Inch. Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.

Another Ireland post of interest, “Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home.”

Fulacht Fiadh III

Two Huts and a Hearth

Drombeg has two huts adjoining the Fulacht Fiadh with a connecting path.

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Hut B incorporates a rock lined hearth that possibly served as an oven.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fulacht Fiadh II

Survey of elements

Yesterday’s post was an overview of this archeological site associated with the Drombeg Stone Ring of County Cork, Republic of Ireland. Today, we explore the elements of these fascinating remnants from the late Bronze Age, over 3,000 years ago. (

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It is amazing the rock wall survived human need for the valuable wall stones. Portions were stolen, though for the most part we can see enough to understand.

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Fulacht Fiadh I

BBQ Stew Pot?

Notice the groupings of visitors in the middle distance of Pam’s photograph, gathered around remains of late Bronze age elements.

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There is a sign to explain…

In modern Ireland the word fulacht means barbeque and the archeological sites with characteristics in common, such as a water source, health and pit, are named “Fulacht fiadh,” derived from Old Irish sources. In all cases the link is to some kind of preparation activity involving heat and moisture. Found throughout Ireland, Great Britan and the Isle of Man where the sites are called burnt mounds. The Drombeg Fulacht fiadh exemplifies all characterists. There is a horseshoe shaped rock walled/banked, now a remnant, enclosure, entrance to the south. In the middle is a pit, at Drombeg lined with rock, a spring on one side, a hearth on the other. A stone saddle quern, used for grinding grain, was nearby Adjacent huts, rock walls with post holes, do not suggest a settlement, but rather a temporary use.

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Drombeg Stone Circle IX

Seventeen Stones

Pam posing with wind blown hair on the rock outcrop I used to achieve site overviews. In medium distance, other visitors gather around another site feature.

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Drombeg Stone Circle VIII

Seventeen Stones

The photograph shared the last Drombeg posting needed hours of reworking before it was ready for submission to Stock Photography services. Ireland photography is my “money maker”, so the effort is work this.

Today, I share the image as it existed in camera, to the final product. The most detailed work was removing the human figures in the upper right corner. The camera sensor was problematic, with an light accumulation of dust. Below are the two images, each alone and as slideshow for flipping back and forth.

What differences can you observe? (comments, please)

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llllll

vvv

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Drombeg Stone Circle VI

Seventeen Stones

Here is one of my finest photographs from that morning. The ocean view is a reason Drombeg is one of the most popular neolithic sites.

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The camera is set on a tripod positioned in front of the recumbent.

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Drombeg Stone Circle V

Seventeen Stones

The Celtic Sea is close to this site, unoccupied since 800 BC, may be as old as 1100 BC according to radiocarbon dating from 1957 excavations.

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The Celtic Sea is close to this site, unoccupied since 800 BC, may be as old as 1100 BC according to radiocarbon dating from 1957 excavations. Thirteen of the original seventeen stones form a circle 31 feet across. Two portal stones face a recumbent stone, together forming a axis pointing to the sun position at sunrise on the winter solstice. One of the most visited Neolithic sites in Ireland, it required some patience to achieve an image without human figures.

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Drombeg Stone Circle IV

Seventeen Stones

Seventeen closely placed stones with an axis pointing south-southwest toward the setting sun, formed by two “entrance” stones, one directly behind Pam, the second to the left. The recumbent in front of her forms the third axis element.

The path features in the past three posts is behind the entrance stones.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Drombeg Stone Circle III

Exotic beauty

It is not surprising to find this non-native shrub growing along the path to Drombeg Stone Circle. English gardens featured fuchsia since the late 18th century. The ocean view is part of the charm of this place, the resulting milder climate suits the flourishing of exotic species of plants native to South America, the Caribbean and New Zealand.

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