I’ve always had a strange infatuation with the supernatural. I don’t know why, but it’s always been something that sparked my interest, even as a child. Are ghosts real? What about spirits? Will we ever know? Ireland is full of legends and tall tales relating to a lot of different aspects of the country. Today, we visited a place called Slieve na Calliagh, or Loughcrew, a place in which legends of the paranormal still stand.
After enduring yet another steep climb (R.I.P my calves), we reached the top of Loughcrew. Once we reached the top, we were gifted with breath-taking views of flourishing green fields, wavy terrain, quaint homes, and sheep. So many sheep. I’m still not used to seeing sheep act so nonchalantly toward humans. You would think they would be skittish, but all they’re actually worried about is moseying around and munching on grass. Anyway, the view was incredible. The supernatural aspect of this visit ties into the tomb that lies at the center of the hill.
The tomb, from the outside, appears simply to be a mound of rocks. Once the corner is turned, it’s visible that there is small, stone doorway leading into the tomb. It was a tight fit, but the visit inside was well worth it. The tomb consisted of three small rooms, framed around a central opening. Inside of each room, there were unique carvings engraved into the stone walls. It was absolutely chilling. The story behind the tomb is that apparently, it acts as a portal to another world. On Halloween, ghosts, spirits, fairies, and other supernatural beings venture out in our world, luring people back to the tomb and into their dimension. If the people wanted to avoid being lured back, they would have to dress up as the paranormal, therefore, birthing the concept behind Halloween.
On the side of the mound, there was a rock that loosely formed the shape of a bench. According to our tour guide Conor, if one were to sit on the bench and make a wish, it would be granted. Both this and the Halloween legend resonated deeply with me because it sparked my ever-lasting fascination with the supernatural. I think it’s really interesting to compare Ireland’s versions of supernatural legends with those presented in the media. Typically, the supernatural are considered to be solely ghosts and “vengeful” spirits. Here, not only are there are fairies, witches and old souls involved, most of their paranormal legends revolve around the history of the land, which I find to be incredibly captivating.
I’m glad that I was able to connect today’s tour with a genuine interest of mine. Due to this, I was able to walk away with new stories to analyze and new legends to think about and I can’t to share the tales of Ireland with my friends and family.