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Patrick Kavanagh Country Tour


Ah, the weather is everything.   I had to stop myself looking over the hedges at the age old practice of making hay, these farmers had all the old machinery out and seemed to be determined – literally make hay when the sun shines.  The sun was splitting the trees as I drove Kitty, my new wee coach to Armagh City Hotel to pick up a group from the United States for a mystery tour put together by myself (no pressure).  16 Men and Women were waiting, a happy bunch laughing and joking as I ease Kitty to a stop.

Introductions were speedy and we were soon on our way to Navan Fort & Centre.  The old Irish name for this legendary mystical site is Emain Macha.  Francis, the woman in charge brought me up to speed as to what the group was all about and where they all were from in the United States as we drove the short distance to the Navan Centre.  Talk about ‘don’t talk to the driver’, Francis could talk for The US and Ireland. (She won’t mind me saying that, it was a running joke between the two of us all day long).

After a talk about Navan Fort by the staff (lovely people).  I took the group up onto the Fort and told the all listening ears stories about the three powerful lines of energy that came under the Fort.  These were told to me by an old man and diviner who lived nearby but sadly has now pass on, one of the group played tunes on a tin whistle there was only one I knew that was Innisheer a haunting tune, there was a few tears so I let on I had a message on my phone.

From Armagh we went through the town of Keady across the border to meet the rolling hills of County Monaghan.  Kitty stopped at some beautiful sites near Castleblayney for photos and then onto the Patrick Kavanagh Centre In the ancient town of Innishkeen.

Patrick Kavanagh was a mighty Poet, writing mostly about his attachment and love of the land, his neighbours and home place.  Seamus Heaney MRIA, the great Poet, Playwright and translator said of Patrick Kavanagh that he opened the doors to new worlds for many and himself. (GREATNESS IN THE ORDINARY).  Believe it or not and shamed to say I hadn’t been here before and my father coming from not feather than 3 miles away, I read Patrick Kavanaghs work and heard my Father say it and at times.  I was glad that no one came to me to ask any questions for my soul was about to take a leap from me with sheer happiness.  I know the group were infected in the same way, for the talking and joking had died and you could have heard a pin drop. (We were three hours in the centre, I’ll say no more).

After a drive around the Kavanagh Townlands we toured our way to Kingscourt and onto the (take your breath away) Cabra Castle for High Tea and a much needed drinks.  We had a great service, looked after by Rose. (By the way Dun a Ri is the old Irish name for Kingscourt as in the song ‘Oh to be in Dun a RI’).

We hit the road, leaving Countys Louth, Monaghan and Cavan heading back home to Armagh.  It was a slow drive and there were jokes, songs and plenty of laughter.  The US group were like swallows trying to build a nest…chitter chatter, a great day had by all.

James' Blog

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