Monday, August 28, 2017

An Irish Wood - Dooney Rock Forest Park

County Sligo is Yeats' Country in Ireland. It is a place of epic legends and landscapes that inspired the Irish poet W.B. Yeats. In Sligo you will find many places that feature in the poetry of Yeats including Dooney Rock Forest Park which we just happened upon while driving a ring around Lough Gill where you'll also find Benbulben and Glencar Waterfall. Dooney Rock features in Yeats' poem "The Fiddler of Dooney" and Dooney Rock is an elevated part of the wood from which you can see sweeping views of Lough Gill, the Ox Mountains and Knocknarea Mountain. Look carefully atop Knocknarea and you can see "a huge flat-topped cairn called Maeve's Cairn (Miosgan Meadhbha). The cairn is 55m in diameter and is 10m high. It was supposed to have been built for Queen Maeve, the Iron Age Queen of Connaught (source)."  You can see why Sligo and this atmospheric woodland inspired Yeats and I always find it quite special to find places that connect to history in such a way. The woodland itself was stunning. Occasional trees were labeled with their species. The forest was mainly one species of coniferous tree (though I cannot recall which) which made for a striking fairy tale atmosphere, with moss creeping up each tree and a lovely filtered light. There were benches around to sit a spell and soak in the forest.  

W.B. Yeats - 1889

WHEN I play on my fiddle in Dooney.
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Mocharabuiee.

I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.

When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance:

And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With "Here is the fiddler of Dooney!"
And dance like a wave of the sea.

What appeared to be an old stone foundation or rock wall. 

Queen Maeve's Cairn atop the flat topped Knocknarea in the distance. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

An Irish Wood - Gougane Barra Forest Park

Gougane Barra Forest Park in County Cork Ireland is one of my favorite woodlands. It is pillowed with moss. A small stream wends its way down to Gouganebarra Lough where St. Finbar's Oratory sits reflecting onto the dark pool of water. The can drive a ways back into the woodland and then hike easy trails into the green wood, all the sunlight to enter this forest is green. There was a wedding taking place in St. Finbar's Oratory while were there but the woods, we had those all to ourselves. Also worth mentioning that this place hosts about the coolest restrooms in Ireland.

A previous hiker (or woodland creature) had left a mushroom collection on a table here. 

St. Finbar's Oratory

Charming thatched loo (toilets)

Friday, August 18, 2017

August in a Sun-Dappled Wood

I went into a hazel wood, 
Because a fire was in my head

- William Butler Yeats

Contents: 5x7 Print of Beech Tree, 4x6 Print of Torc Waterfall, Hazel Botanical Card, Fern Bookmark, Decorated Yeats' Poem "Song of Wandering Aengus," sorry leaves not included. 

The August Issue of Emerald Post is inspired by the wild woods of Celtic Lands, the reverence that ancient people held for trees, and the liminal, mystical magic of woodland and an enchanting poem by Ireland's own William Butler Yeats. A walk through a sun dappled wood delivered right to your mailbox. Cool your feet at the base of Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park, Ireland. Marvel up at a towering beech tree in Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland. Stoop to trace the details of a fern on the forest floor and learn of the lore of the Hazel Tree. Hear the verses of W.B. Yeats on the wind and as the forest canopy sways above you.  Send a woodland walk to a friend of take one for yourself HERE.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Into the Woods

Summer's long days are waning and I can sense the approach of Autumn. Days have been mercifully cool lately and fill me with anticipation of crisp leaves and brazen trees. I'm currently getting the August Emerald Post ready to dispatch. It is inspired by the wild woods of Ireland, the  reverence that ancient people held for trees, and the liminal, mystical magic of woodlands all tied together by a Yeats' poem. The August issue will contain a 5x7 print, a 4x6 print, a skinny bookmark, a botanical card, and a little poetry. You can still get yours HERE.  A sneak peak below... and remember you can still use the coupon code FORTRESS15 for 15% off the shop till the end of the month! Also, if you were unable to leave a comment for the castle giveaway due to a blogger glitch please email me at so that I can try to fix it and send you freebie. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


The beginning of August marks the old Irish Gaelic festival day of Lúnasa, halfway between summer solstice & autumn equinox, marking the beginning of harvest time and the turn from summer to winter. (In Irish, the word for August is Lúnasa.) It is a time to honor the sun, for Lúnasa (or Lughnasadh) is named for Lugh, the old Irish god of the Sun. It's a time to gather the first harvests, to light a bonfire in thanks for your blessings, bake a pie with freshly gathered blueberries, for matchmaking and hand-fasting, for pilgrimages to holy wells and sacred trees. Here Lúnasa arrived on a cool front, one I was aching for, a blessed foreshadowing of Autumn and all her finery. Happy Harvest to come. 

You can read more about Lúnasa and Irish customs at:
Ireland Calling
Irish Central

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Castle Winner !

Congratulations Judy H ! You are the winner of the Castle Giveaway. Please contact me directly as soon as you can at with the photo of your choice from the Castle Posts (include from which post as well as caption if you can) as well as a mailing address so that I can dispatch your prizes soon. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and left comments. As a consolation prize, use the coupon code FORTRESS15 in the Emerald Post Shop to get 15% off anything on the shelves, including some castle inspired creations

Cahir Castle, Ireland