community festivals, Gaeltacht

Holy Mountain

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara

Now, a bit of a photo essay for you today.  I’m just back from the wilds of Connemara and yes, I can confirm that it’s all four seasons there, in the one day.  What a wonderful place to visit.

But did you ever hear of Mám Éan? – It’s a holy place in the middle of the Maumturk mountains and we had the special privilege of joining the local community there last week for the annual pilgrimage on the first Sunday of August.

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara

This pilgrimage, linking back to the Celtic harvest feast of Lughnasa, was revived in recent years by An tAthair Micheál Mac Gréil. The pilgrims walk from either side of the Maumturks to the site. Two holy wells, St. Patrick’s Bed and some other leachtana are the focus of older customs, while more recently the revival has involved the Stations of the Cross and then Mass at the restored Mass rock. There is a statue up there too, sculpted by Clíodhna Cussen.

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara

I have to admit that we beat a hasty retreat afterwards, as a roguish raincloud dumped bucketfuls of rain on top of us as we clambered down the mountainside. However, in no time at all, the sun retook control of the elements and pierced the clouds with glorious shafts of sunlight.

Aoibhinn.

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mamean Pilgrimage, Connemara