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Aine MacAodha ~ Poetry and Lens

Aine MacAodha

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Omagh, North Ireland, Ireland
Writer/poet,avid photographer with a great interest in Celtic Myths, Mysticism, crystal healing, orbs in photography, Chemtrails, the sky above and the beauty in the Irish landscape . I live in Omagh North of Ireland where the Sperrin Mountains are my inspiration in any season. I have three poetry books published titled 'Where the Three Rivers Meet' and 'Guth An Anam ~Voice of The Soul and my latest Published by Lapwing Press Belfast, 'Landscape of self'~ You can find my links at top of my blog.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Recent residency at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre

My recent residency/writers retreat at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Newbliss county Monahan was in June when I spent just four blissful days but wasn't my first time at Annaghmakerrig; affectionly known as the big house. My first time there was due to Omagh District Council offering me the Tyrone Guthrie bursary back in 2000 and it was my first time to be among such a diverse group of talented artists. I first came to know of Annaghmakerrig by a good friend and fellow Derry Playhouse writer member Bridie Canning (RIP) who told me to look up and read about this eden away from all the stresses of life and to consentrate on my writing which was difficult to do at home with then three teenagers and working part time and newly divorced; so I relished every minite of the two week residency. Since then I have tried to get back at least once a year. The first time there I put together my first book of poems titled, Where the Three rivers meet.

The big house
 Sir Tyrone Guthrie bequeathed his family home and estate to the State with the proviso that it be used for the benefit of artists. It was an inspired decision and one that has positively reshaped the cultural landscape of Ireland forever.

My room was very comfortable with a writing desk overlooking the lake, a large window that opened out wide so that I felt I was out of doors, a large fireplace with pictures of the Guthrie family and every morning early I would see a hare or a deer sauntering through the shrubbery, thats the thing, you sit down to write and one is distracted too by the beauty of the lake as the misty rain often starts at the far edge of the lake and takes it's time before reaching the window. A full bookcase with every poet one could think of there at my disposal to read, and read I did, often late into the night with no sounds except the creaking of the old floors cooling down. No TV, phones or radios, complete peace. I was thankfull for the time to gather another collection and get it into some order before publishing it although there is still editing to be done at least the bones are there.

Mrs Warbrigg. She was a companion to Lady Guthrie, stories of her roaming the corridors made me weary at first, I stayed in her room at the top of the house once and every creak I heard I swore it was her, but no, it was just the sound of a cooling floor, I think....

Tyrone Guthrie bust.

 The garden beautifully kept by Geraldine Sheerin the Organic Gardener, just to wander through the garden and get the wave of various herbs and plants assalt the nostrils was uplifting.  The Chefs' would serve the platters of leaves and herbs with freshly baked bread all an art in itself. The only stipulation was when the gong rang out at 7pm all the artists would sit down together for dinner and a chat, often someone would start a song or read a few paragraphs from their works. Most of the day was your own to do your work, such a serene place surrounded by a forest and a lake it was easy to relax and write, draw or sculpt or just ponder on your next creative venture.

The beautiful garden

A view out to the forest and lake.

Thanks to all the staff including,

Patricia Donlon Director (resident)

Mary Clerkin Finance Officer

Ingrid Adams Resources Manager

for their warmth of welcome.


Annaghmakerrig 2002

The big house greets with an air of mystery,

petitioning to the gods a poem or song

to touch all our yesterdays.

The lake pretends to scowl at night and

wraps the waiting horizon in thought.

The ruthless breeze is laden with insight.

Songs find their way through the air.

The hearth inherits the fallen spruce,

whilst artists gather their cares.

Spoken signals gather like crochet,

fermenting works that ooze out in dreams,

and filter into daylight

(c) Aine Mac Aodha

The big house as evening falls.

The lake

Monday, 20 September 2010

St Patrick's Well & Magherakeel Monastic Site

  On a recent visit to Castlederg in County Tyrone I stopped at the small village of Killeter  (Coill Íochtair meaning "lower wood") which lies along the pilgrim trail leading to Lough Derg (St. Patrick's Purgatory) St. Patrick stopped at this well to quench his thirst before the walk to Lough Derg. So before winter gets its grip on the land I wanted to visit St. Patrick's well, locally know as Tober Patrick. Surrounded by beautiful country side. Fairly nearby is Magherakeel Monastic Site.

 The Sperrin landscape has some eye-catching and ancient spots off the beaten track and I have visited many of them although, to be fair many of these are difficult to locate and signposts are often scarce, this was easy enough to find once out of the Castlederg area; it was signposted.

St. Patrick's Well

New pillars and entrance gate.

St. Patrick's statue.

‘The Plain of the Church’ or Magherakeel Monastic Site,   (6th-century). A small piece of the wall remains of what was St. Caireall’s Church named after the founder or local patron saint. The local primary school in Castlederg is also named after the saint. Magherakeel graveyard stands near the foundations of the original Catholic parish church, St. Caireall's, which was destroyed in the early
1600s during the Plantation.

 On researching I could not find out much about this celtic Saint although it could be, (Saint Kerrill aka Caireall mac Curnain who was a Christian missionary in what is now east County Galway, alive in the mid-to-late 5th century, not real sure.       Below at the shots.

Magherakeel Monastic Site

A small piece of the wall remains of what was St. Caireall’s Church

The graveyard with beautiful old headstones.

Add caption

Lovely old stones.

Hope you enjoyed, Aine xx

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Magpie poem

The Magpie

Two tone thieves gather like senators

or tenors, slightly tipping as if heavy bellied.

Green and purple smudged feathers glint

as the sunlight catches them.

They chatter on the trapeze of a fairy thorn.

Ever vigilant, a salmons glance towards glinting

treasures, presumed below in suburbs.

They come, silent now, a pilots precision

gliding towards the gold milk tops

shining like fools gold on the door step,

cute enough, they scan the house for noise,

I stand; still as an Oak tree.

Carefully they pluck the lid

lap up the cream stash the lids in their beaks

and make off for the hill top again.

                                                            Still, I love these birds beautiful to look at and very noisey at times.

Lughnasadh, Lúnasa; Lammas.

As  Lúnasa; Lughnasadh, Lammas celebrated in August I got to thinking of my late parents who never  missed the Ould lammas Fair in Ballycastle. They'd look forward to this from June and often talked about the sights they'd seen from Horses, musicians and bedding to tools  being sold. It was a sort of pilgrimage especially for my mother.  When they would return they'd often bring Yellow man a honeycomb rock or type of toffee and dulse; seaweed which I disliked but enjoyed the Yellow Man, very sweet made with syrup and brown sugar although my father when in the humour would make us toffee and fudge and I liked it better. I attended a writers weekend back in 2000 in Knocklayde near Ballycastle a wonderful refreshing place with breath taking hills and valleys. Never been to the Lammas Fair though. I have great memories and stories told my my ould fellagh.

  Lammas fair in Ballycastle is one of the oldest in Ireland at over three hundred years old and still going strong. from the last Monday and Tuesday of August. It is associated with the Lammas harvest festival.
A ballad written by local shopkeeper and bog-oak carver John Henry MacAuley enhanced the local fame of the fair. MacAuley was also a well known fiddler, but died in 1937 before his song became famous.

~The Ould Lammas Fair~

by John Henry MacAuley

At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle long ago

I met a pretty colleen who set me heart a-glow

She was smiling at her daddy buying lambs from Paddy Roe

At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!

Sure I seen her home that night

When the moon was shining bright

From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!


At the Ould Lammas Fair boys were you ever there

Were you ever at the Fair In Ballycastle-O?

Did you treat your Mary Ann

To some Dulse and Yellow Man

At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!

In Flander's fields afar while resting from the War

We drank Bon Sante to the Flemish lassies O!

But the scene that haunts my memory is kissing Mary Ann

Her pouting lips all sticky from eating Yellow Man

As we passed the silver Margy and we strolled along the strand

From the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!


There's a neat little cabin on the slopes of fair Knocklayde

It's lit by love and sunshine where the heather honey's made

With the bees ever humming and the children's joyous call

Resounds across the valley as the shadows fall

Sure I take my fiddle down and my Mary smiling there

Brings back a happy mem'ry of the Lammas Fair


Lughnasadh; Celtic harvest festival,  its name taken from the Celtic god Lugh. years later Lughnasadh was christianized as Lammas, the Anglo-Saxon, hlaf-mas, "Loaf-Mass,"
 In rural areas, it was often remembered as "Bilberry Sunday," a day for a climb up the nearest  hill and gather  a few black berries; gods kitchen supplies. Bilberry Sunday on Croagh Patrick in  County Mayo now known as Reek Sunday celebrates Saint Patrick.