Summer Solstice in The Burren

I opened the curtains this morning and was surprised to discover a vast blue, yellow and green world outside my bedroom window. And it was completely still and silent. The wild flower meadow we planted last year spotted orange  poppies and blue cornflowers . The old calor gas tank, waiting to be collected, was murky white and dirty. It is the view I wake up to every day, but it was completely different this morning, bathed in the yellow and blue light of eight am. I think I can never have opened the curtains at that time before in weather like this.

I was reminded of the changing light yesterday evening, driving home from the Cavan Burren, on Cuilche mountain. The landscape seemed vast. But it was so different. It was dark, moody, melodious almost. It sang brown, grey and green in harmony with blue, and yellow. It was a true operetta of light.

The mid summer festival in The Burren yesterday was lovely though I only caught the last hour. I fell into Irish time yesterday. I must have been tired from my dancing at the shores of the Bandon river the day before in Kinsale, for I fell asleep on my bed  instead of getting in my car and driving off to the mid summer festival. Anyhow, better late than never, I said as I greeted the stream of poets, dancer and musician friends leaving while I climbed the new and winding road to the new Cavan Burren centre.


What is the Cavan Burren? It is the most beautiful place in the world. Better than Kerry, Cork, and Donegal! It is a “relict” landscape. Its habitation, sites, fields, stones, rock survive from prehistoric times. Its glacial erratics (free standing stones and rocks) survive from the last ice age while its dry valley (now full of trees and damp vegetation) bears testimony to a pre-glacial river and sink. It was once a tropical sea 350 million years ago! A sea! The place is truly amazing. It is wild, gorgeous, dramatic and interesting. The new Cavan Interpretive Centre is also fabulous. It is made with natural stone and designed to fit in with the wilderness of the Burren. It is open to the elements and it reveals all.




Actually, I was too excited to read all the colourful information panels as I tapped my feet to the fabulous Cavan Big Band (I caught the last ten minutes of their set, having missed the poetry, dancing and traditional music of the afternoon) and chatted to my Sallaghan neighbours who were just back from a guided tour and walk of tour hours. I was so envious. The compensation was the delicious hot dog from the Keepers Arms in Bawnboy who did the barbequing!

So as well as being beautiful, wild, and interesting, the Cavan Burren is a wonderful place for a party. (I’m thinking of my 60th!).

To be fair, most places in Ireland are good for a party. But as I write about parties, I am struck at the silence which I notice still prevails outside. It is rare not to hear the birds singing in my garden (it was only when I moved to Cavan that I realised birds sang all day and not just in the morning and evening). So, why the silence this morning? I am almost nervous of stepping out to discover bones and mystic pagan relicts. After all, it was the summer solstice yesterday.

Happy Autumn, everyone! Wish me luck. I’m going out there to find out. Oh, but before I do, I did discover something else of particular interest yesterday afternoon in the Burren…singing stones. There was a table of ancient musical instruments  . The ivory and iron horns were incredible, beautifully decorated. But there were stones too, beautifully polished by the sea with holes that you could play like flutes and whistles. I loved that.





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