Sunday, August 03, 2014

Céis Caves at Lunasadh 2014

The walk to Céis caves is local to me, just a couple of km away. Despite my deepest passions being of the trees and water springs I enjoy adventures here because it is not made by humans and has an incredible root to many mythology stories told.


I have a passion in talking of the Morrigan as a Mór na Cú, from here, because these stories take on inspiration, reminder and celebration related to our annual cycles, our seasons, our light to dark and back to light again, and perhaps helps to unclutter our meaning of life, living and being.


Of course there are battle, warrior, death and hero stories from here.
There are stories of 'don't mess with the hag or cailleach' stories.
Most famous are perhaps the birth of Cormac mac Airt,
return of Diarmuid and Grainne,
the Fianna caught up in the web of the Three Hags,
the deeds of Goll the Sidhe Blacksmith, and Coarran The Harper,
a multitude of pig, boar, cattle, goat, wolf, fox, otter, hare, and raven stories,
and my own favourite being the Birth Of Bhride.

Despite all that, for now this post is merely about a return to here to see how the marked walk is getting on with its development.

The mini surprise development is the encouragement of people to park their cars in Keash Village, in the car park of the White Hall.
There is more information of the caves and other sites of the area posted there now.

At the base of the Caves 3 or 4 cars can park there and, so far, there's rarely more than that. The walk from the village car park to the base is about 10 minutes.

Here is the style, but this is an old pic, as there are now all kinds of direction plus 'do this and don't do that' signs over the other side now ...


Then, over the other side, the arrows and sign posts go around the edge of the field ... which visitors pay very close attention to, of course.


There is another style over the other side of this field, well actually a set of concrete steps and wee gate, but I have lost my pics of that.

Over that gate the markers point left, and that is the easiest way to go ... but several people try to climb straight up!!! Ouch, that is a tough one.

Follow the markers and at one point they point upwards and stone steps have now been placed there.


They are not very secure, though, as some are falling away already.

Some attempt has been made at making the path wider,
once you have climbed those steps.


This is indeed much better than it was, though some parts of this newly widened path has already subsided so walking does need a lot of care still.


Good to see the nettles have been cleared from the cave entrances.
That was becoming a bit painful.

Then, of course, once you are in the giant cave scenes become like this :-)


You look out, and its always breathtaking, including seeing Lough Feenagh,
which to me often seems to take on the shape of Ireland.

Today we could not see the distant views of The Reek, Croagh Patrick,
and the dome mountain Nephin.

Its good for music here, but I like to go further back into the T junction of caves at the back for this. No pics from this day but here's an older one.


Before I talk more about the caves, I have some more pics and recent info to add ...

Sligo Walks 'officially' opened the Keash Caves walk, that they call the Keshcorran Walk, on Friday 25th July. These are Sligo Walks photographs.


A very good turnout it seems, though I find the footwear of many of these fine folk a bit suspect for this walk :-)   


Here's what the signs and information board look like without people ...


The Keash Caves Carpark is the large car park in front of the White Hall to the right of this sign.

The information board is excellent, a great introduction to the mythology and walk plus a good map with instructions, and here is the Walk Map part of this sign ...


By the first stile there is parking for 3 cars, so do check that first for availability to shorten your walk before heading off to the large car park in Keash. 


First, the map on the web page is totally off, so take no notice of that, but the hiking instructions are ok.

Second error is mentioning local services are Castlebaldwin.
Local services are the very local Keash Village with shop and pub where you can get some decent tea, coffee and snacks and good company if you do not want an alcoholic drink. 


And here is one of our walking froups outside the local Fox's Den,
including the interesting footwear for here :-) 


A couple of there here having a lunch by the turf fire and talking to a local storyteller


Oh, now I'm onto local 'tourism' don't forget us. Visit us at our thatched cottage, with a visit to a local spring water Sacred Well on the way


Including storytelling followed by tree bathing in our Tree Labyrinth here


A Cúinas, talking stick session to share your inspirations of the day, so far, with home made scones, home made butter and home made jams, 



and then a cottage turf fire session with Claire Roche with songs, stories and harps ...


Finishing with contributions by yourselves, and a finale duo by Claire and myself.

Before I leave this, here's a pic of our beautiful local spring well


Here's how a 'perfect day' here can work out

11:00 am  Keshcorran Walk (you do yourself)
12:30 pm  Lunch, rest and craic at Fox's Den
 2:00 pm  to Carrowcrory cottage via well
 2:30 pm Tree Labyrinth time
 3:30 pm Tea, Scones and Cúinas Stick shared inspirations
 4:30 pm Claire Roche songs, stories, harps with friends
 5:30 pm final social craic and farewells. 

... and so everyone goes for their evening rest, 
ready for the next day's adventures.


Ok, now a bit more about the Caves, before I leave this ...


Further along from the Giant Cave here are various cave openings, with the most interesting being the Coffey Cave and Cormac's Cave, aslo known as Plunkett's Cave. However, there are no path improvements to these. If anything they are getting worse and are potential ankle breakers - yet these places are worth a visit.

Actually, I would say for Cormac's Cave make that a separate expedition for now and approach that from the other side of the caves.

Coffey's is worth the effort though. From here there are stories of Goll, some say Lon, the one eyed three armed Sidhe Blacksmith and the various swords he made, often for women. Grainne's sword that she used to cut off Fomori Dreacon's head and legs off with one, which set off a bunch of skull and crossbones stories that have taken different forms over 5000 years, I would think.

This is a very feminine image cave through its shapes and symbolism.
Pity I have lost a few of the inner photos that emphasis this,
but I will end this blog with a couple I have, and a video clip
that includes a few shots in sequence at one point.



This one permission of Sacred Sites Of Ireland


and now the video clip that includes several photos of these cave in sequence,
from about 1 minute 5 secs to 1 minute 10 secs, that I have lost.


... and I will write up about Carrowkeel, next blog, which we went to :-)


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