Irish Folklore: Connecting with our Landscapes

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For a landscape to be dear to you, it has to have an emotional connection, some kind of resonance that works its way into your heart, tightens about it like a jealous fist and just doesn’t let go. Sometime this emotional resonance can be a simple familiarity with the local history (e.g. a sad tale of lovers killed in a fall from a cliff, a murder in a cave, a cow lost in a particular piece of bog, etc.). 

Sometimes that resonance is a familial one (e.g. my Da was king from that rock to that bog, over to that twisted tree then around and back – and his wife was called Queenie!).

The most powerful of all are those emotional resonances resulting from a combination of familial and historical connections (e.g. I was conceived on that particular rock in a moment of passion by my parents back in  … yadda, yadda, yadda).

Another landscape connection however, is the mythological or folklore connection; those stories or tales linked to an area of land that you are intimately familiar with. One of the strongest example of such a connection, for me, is down in the townland of Adrigole. That piece of land holds a special place in my life. Passing through there (when I take the road from Cork) always heralds the joy of an imminent return to Beara or a subsequent, heartbreaking, departure when I leave again. I’ve passed through this rugged landscape countless times since I was an infant. It never fails to wring some kind of emotion out of me.