It took only a few days of traveling together for JC to understand that after navigating Ireland’s narrow and undulating back roads I required a double espresso when we arrived at our daily sacred site destination. I knew from experience that just below the Hill of Tara was an excellent coffee shop. She wandered off to explore the landscape of Ireland’s High Kings. I headed for cup of caffeine.
Unlike the sacred sites in western Ireland those here on the east coast and particularly around the Boyne Valley are infested with tour buses. And tourists. The key is to time an approach between the waves of tours. Several coaches had just disgorged their people into the Tara car park so JC wisely decided to head to a fringe area on a hillside near some trees and wait for the traffic to subside a bit. She had just settled in for a meditation when he arrived.
He was dressed in green from head to toe, in vibrant contrast to his unruly mop of red hair. Bright of spirit and light of foot he fairly bounced up the hill with his staff. He walks these hills often, keeping his course to the side slopes to avoid the crowds. He stopped short when he saw JC. Recognizing her as not your average or even close to average tourist they were soon in conversation about the magical landscape and the spirit of the land – still very palpable after hundreds of years and thousands of tour buses. After several delightful minutes of conversation he reached into the folds of his clothes and produced a copper wire triple spiral he had made. Placing it in JC’s hand he bounded over the hill and disappeared.
I admit I was skeptical about being in eastern Ireland. So many people now visit these sites that a decidedly theme park atmosphere has settled over these places like a commercial fog. Long lines and limited access times have made Newgrange a place to be avoided. If feels a bit like visiting a megalithic zoo. I was skeptical that we would get any sense of connection to these places. I was skeptical that we would hear any ancient voices. But I was wrong. Yes, it takes more focus and concentration and stepping aside to the less trodden paths. But amidst the waves of tours and tourists it is possible to connect. It is possible to be buoyed up by the gifs of the Green Man.