Thursday, 19 July 2012

A third handfasting at Navan Fort.

Three years and three days after our first handfasting, Dan and I chose the 3,000 year old site of Navan (just outside Armagh) to celebrate another handfasting.

At Navan there is a reconstructed Iron Age wooden round house which we were invited into by three iron age women. It was beautifully made with a faux-fire in the middle and floored with sheepskin and deerskin. I could have moved in on the spot.

The ladies (in character the whole time) told us about their lives, how they hunted in iron age times and also about how when people wished to marry they had a handfasting which lasted for a year and a day - a trial marriage of sorts. After this time they could agree to part or to stay together.

We said 'but that's what we're doing here!'

They told us that must be the reason the sun god Lugh was shining down that morning after so much rain, and apologised that their bards and druids were not around to carry out the binding for us.

The ancient hill was mentioned by Ptolemy's geography of the 2nd Century AD, so it's a pretty important place even though most people I mentioned it to have never heard of it.

We walked through a tunnel of trees, past a half-built giant wicker man (which will be burnt on August 5th to celebrate the pre-christian festival of Lughnasa) and then climbed the sacred hill.

Most wonderful of all the hill was deserted the whole time we were there and we were able to sit down on my coat, renew our original handfasting vows and tie our hands together before walking around the perimeter of the hill to make a binding circle.

Just married, yet again!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Magical Meath, part 4. Trim Castle

This is the remains of the 'yellow steeple' of Trim abbey which stands just across the Boyne river from Trim Castle, the biggest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, built by Hugh De Lacy between 1172 and 1224.

Dan and I visited Trim during our weekend in Meath and it's one of the most impressive castles I've seen in Ireland but it is positively modern in comparison to some of the other monuments we saw that weekend which predate the pyramids of Giza.

 Ring any bells? Trim Castle had a starring role in the film Braveheart, made over as the English town of York.

Too many castles, too little time!