26 Aug

More Ireland

Posted in Inspiration

One of the wonderful things about Ireland is how medieval or prehistoric monuments are just around.  For some there’s little more than a small sign saying what the monument is and a fence to keep the sheep out.

The first one is Kells Priory, which I’ve mentioned before, but simply had to write about again because it’s so striking.  This enormous medieval ruin sits at the bottom of a grassy hill and there’s nobody there.  Seriously.  When we visited, it we were the only tourists there and only when we were leaving did we run into some tourists who were just arriving.

This second photo is of Jerpoint Abbey, which is also astounding and beautiful, though a little more touristy than Kells Priory–I mean, it actually has a visitor center instead of a sheep gate at the entrance.

The last photo is of one of the Ahenny High Crosses, which date back to the 8th and 9th centuries.

These pictures don’t do any of these places justice, but they may give you a taste of how beautiful Ireland is.  Now I understand why faeries came from this part of the world: when you’re in a place that’s so mysterious and misty and green, you can’t help but see sprites and pixies everywhere.


09 Aug

Hidden Stories

Posted in Inspiration

Some places you visit and and a story leaps to mind right away.  Other places, you think maybe there’s a story lurking in there somewhere, but you’re not sure what it is yet.  This is one of the latter places.
Kells Priory
These ruins of a medieval priory lie just south of Kilkenny in Ireland.  The site looks more like a fortress than an abbey and there’s something about the grey stone against the surrounding green that lends it an air of melancholy.  The thing that struck me most when we visited these ruins this morning was the solitude.  There was no one there at the Priory except for us and a bunch of sheep.  And yet I could see glimpses of characters flitting through the shadows of the stone structure.
I wondered why this priory was built to look more like a castle than religious site.  The stone walls had slits for archers and the whole area is enclosed by walls with towers.  Who were these monks trying to keep out?  Weren’t they supposed to be all catholic and welcoming and whatnot?

In my imagination, this wasn’t a priory for real monks but actually a training ground for a brotherhood of warriors posing as monks.  *dun dun duuuuun*  There’s this young wannabe monk-warrior called Aeryck who has joined the priory because his beloved is betrothed to another and he has vowed to take a life of solitary contemplation.  When he arrives at the priory, he discovers the truth about the warrior clan and even worse: the clan is loyal to a ruthless knight who happens to be the man marrying Aeryck’s beloved.  So now he’s torn.  Loyalty to his brothers, which means being under the thumb of Sir knight or loyalty to his own heart?  *cue romantic music*  He chooses neither.  Instead, he runs off to join a band of pirates.  *arrrrrr matey!*


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