Sunday, April 08, 2007

Gairdin Bhride

I read about a wedding held in in the Garden of Bhride in Co. Galway. How could there be a better setting for a bride than in Bhride’s, Brigit’s Garden.


Claire and I were sharing a few days in counties Mayo and Galway so we completed these travels with a visit to these wonderful gardens. 


Brigit's Garden, opened to the public in 2004 at Roscahill, between Moycullen and Oughterard


It’s a couple of miles from the main A59 Galway to Clifden road, about 20 mins drive from Galway. There’s a big sign pointing to the road that will lead you to Brigit’s Garden.


The garden was the dream of Jenny Beale and supported by her partner Colin Brown. For years Jenny had the idea of a Celtic garden in her mind and finally bought a four-acre field at Killanin, Rosscahill in Co. Galway.


Jenny commissioned the design of her dream garden to Mary Reynolds, a gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2002.


Brighid was definitely guiding her because soon after moving onto four acres three parcels of land surrounding her land came up for sale and one of these parcels included an ancient ring-fort.


Bridgets garden samhain  left picture: Path of Samhain


About our visit ……


Brigit’s Garden is an 11 acre Celtic celebration wonderland


You enter through a combined ticket office, bookshop and delightful cafe. The ticket office girl provides a wonderful introduction and hands out a guide. However, I highly recommend that you upgrade by spending two euros on an expanded guide that explains the trees of the garden with very useful detail.


The entire garden is abundant with native Irish trees, oak, hazel, ash and holly, birch, willow, apple and yew and visitors are issued with a useful booklet explaining why each tree was revered by the Celts, and how they contributed to the formation of the ogham alphabet. The Ogham language is said to have been brought to Ireland by Dagda’s brother, Ogma as the first duplicatable language that required “formal” education to learn it. Those that learned the language and the wisdom of the trees were the “wise” people. Interestingly, the Ogham language is said to have been a sign language well before it was a carved and written language.


Travelling through these gardens clockwise we first passed through an interpretation of the the four ancient ceremonies and celebrations of the year, Samhain with its water surrounded retreat, Imbolc with its wicker swings, Beltaine with its royal passage and throne and Lughnasa with its banqueting area where you can sit and imagine. The photos below largely tell the story is what is experienced in each garden 


In the centre of the four gardens is a round stone thatched house where visitors are invited to enter and rest and spend a little time in silence. There is much more intimate information about the gardens within.


Also while you are there ….


From the garden the guide encourages visitors to take the woodland and nature walk. This takes you through the largest part of the land and our immediate reaction was that this is a work in progress. You will not feel deprived because what is already there is more than worth the cost of entry. Instead you will probably feel an eagerness to return each year to experience what is new.


First on this walk is the “Pipe Cairin”, a passage cairn sanctuary with wind chimes and pipes that blow wind onto them to play its tune. This was a wonderful personal experience for me. It was an ancient passage cairn I used as a “den” as a child 50 years ago that set off my mission and work today. I thought the “Pipe Cairin” is the most adventurous project of the entire garden 


After passing through some woodland, meadows and a lake shore with intriguing sound art and sculptures we arrived at the largest sun dial in Ireland that not only tells the time by the sun’s rays but also the date. Unfortunately, the sun became hidden by the clouds so we did not see this working.


To complete a visit the tea house near the entrance provides wonderful home made lunches, scones and beverages. The scones were the best we have ever had in Ireland. When we complimented the chef he admitted that it was only the second time he had ever made scones, but I assume he will stick to his recipe.


For you ….


The entire Brigit’s Garden and experience is designed for families with Jenny being constantly creating and leading activities for children. For those who seek sanctuary, pilgrimage and a quiet time she sets aside special times for adults between 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday evenings, and on Sundays 10am to 12 noon.


Opening times are Easter until end of September from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm



Groups can request their own special arrangements for quite times and activities at any time of the year. Brigit’s Garden has hosted weddings and business conferences.


Brigit’s Garden has also hosted and presented concerts, poetry reading and storytelling events


While most folks rush around Co. Galway ….


to visit Inishmore Isle of the Arran Islands, Clifden, Kylemore Abbey and the mountains of the Connemara, all in one day ….. why not give yourself space to experience Brigit’s Garden for a gift that will probably linger with you through your life longer than the rest of the Co. Galway sites put together.


To Get there


Brigit's Garden, Pollagh, Roscahill, Co Galway.


Phone:  091 550905


and if you are arriving by bus to Roscahill on the Galway to Clifden bus service do phone ahead, at least by a day, and Jean will arrange for someone to to pick you up from the bus to the gardens.


If you are driving, there are signs from the N59 at Roscahill, just before Oughterard, about 20 minutes drive from Galway.


We will now integrate extensions of our “Veil Between Two Worlds” vacations to include Brigit’s Garden  along with a boat ride to Inchagoill Island linked to the Celtic Christian Lugh, called Lugna. We also hope to join with Brigit’s Garden for special events in the future.   


Regular admission price is €7.00, an incredible low price for a privately owned theme presentation, plus all kinds of concessions for families and groups 


Brigit’s Garden Web site currently just has a beautiful home page introduction with a promise of a web site to come.


 01 02 03


top:  wicker swings in the Imbolc garden
right: triple goddess labyrinth
bottom: bealtaine approach


04 05 07 


top:  bealtaine throne
right: lughnasa banqueting hall
bottom: samhain welcomer


08 09 10


top:  wind chamber cairn
right: wind chimes in cairn
bottom: Ireland’s largest sundial, tells time and date, but sun did not come out this afternoon


 

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