The Celts believed that the physical and spiritual world are never more than 3 feet apart. Thin places then are places where the veil between the physical and spiritual world is even thinner that that. Those are places where a person can sense the spiritual in a most powerful way.
Eoghan, Caoilfhionn and I recently spent a couple of nights in Gleninchaquin...a picturesque and very remote valley on the Beara Peninsula. Almost right at the foot of a huge waterfall, we spent two nights falling asleep to the sound of gushing water and sheep baaing.
No internet, no phone reception. The perfect get-away from the busy world for a while. We were glamping there with friends and the kids had such a great time exploring and running around in the great outdoors; feeding sheep, playing shepherds to them, chasing them, roasting (no, not sheep! 😉) marshmallows and making smors. Their imagination could run wild as we set off on a few walks along and across streams and up steep hills.
There was something so very peaceful and calming about that place, that it is very hard to actually describe as words just won't do it justice.
Eoghan loves his little collection of gem stones from the Rock Shop near Liscannor and he shared two of them with his friends as they made up stories of their special powers along one of our walks up to a hidden lake that is entirely invisible from the bottom of the valley. The lady owner of our glamping site had mentioned this lake to me and told me how the locals say it was a special place, a quiet place; a thin place within this ancient landscape that has remained virtually unchanged for the past 70000 years since it was formed by the last ice age. Even early settlers to the valley, I suppose, recognised the significance of this place judging by the existence of the Uragh Stone Circle which seems to perfectly align with the waterfall at the end of the valley.
Off we went so, to discover this lake and it was well worth the steep hike up the path to it. Secluded and tranquil, dark and mysterious. Perhaps it was because I had been told about how special a place this is supposed to be but I did get a sense of the energy of all those people who once filled this valley in pre-famine times and throughout the centuries before that. Due to the recent rain, the mountainside around the lake had many little waterfalls running off and feeding into it. They glistened in the ever-changing light. It felt very calming and special to be standing there and taking in the atmosphere...That was until the dark gemstone, an onyx, slipped from a little hand and dropped onto dark rocks within the dark waters of the dark lake...
Despite having a fair idea where it had dropped, we had virtually no chance of finding it. Eoghan was inconsolable and it took a lot of time to coax him away and stop him from trying to run back and potentially topple into the lake himself trying to retrieve his stone. So I told him the story about this being a special, a thin place. I told him about the meaning and that I believed in the existence of such places...Places where we are much closer to those we have loved and lost. I told him I would like to think that Patrick and Norma were looking after his stone on the other side. I told him I was certain that they know how much it meant to him and that they would treasure it...knowing what a sacrifice he had made by leaving it behind.
He was perhaps not fully convinced right away but I think it planted a seed in his head and he bravely let go...believing his "spirit guide" (as he refers to Patrick as of late) and aunty will look after it.
We were later told that seemingly this lake has a habit of pulling things into it. People seem to lose things there a lot...Maybe just a story but where would we be without them...
Who knows...but I know I did feel a sense of peace in this place that I had not felt in such a long time. A sense of happiness and at the same time a sense of wanting to burst out crying at the sheer beauty of it and the mad emotions it evoked in me. A strong sense of being close to our little Sproggy.
I cannot wait to bring Pat there and maybe then he will understand why I have been rattling on about how special this spot is ever since I got back.