Saint Patrick’s Purgatory.

On a small island in the middle of an Irish lake called Lough Derg, there is a gateway to hell.
Before anyone panics, there is already a monastery over the portal called St. Patrick’s Purgatory.
St. Patrick’s statue, the purgatory on Station Island in the background. (Photo: Kenneth Allen/CC BY-SA 2.0)
The story goes that Jesus showed St. Patrick a cave on Station Island (sometimes described as a “pit” or “well”, of which there are a few shallow ones remaining), in which the saint received visions of the punishments of hell, and was subsequently able to use the site as proof of a Christian afterlife for his wavering followers.
Actual history does not confirm whether the saint truly visited the island or if it was simply associated with him later, but the monastic compound constructed on the island exists to this day.
Much expanded from its founding in the 15th century, some of the foundation still remains, and the bare stone style of the existing priory buildings recalls the site’s ascetic Christian roots.
While casual visitors are not generally allowed on the island, yearly pilgrimage to the site continues to this day where devout worshippers come in droves to take a three-day sojourn of contemplation through the holy site, all while barefoot.
The local Lough Derg website even touts the pilgrimage as “the toughest in all of Europe, perhaps even in the whole Christian world,” thus keeping the “purgatory” in St. Patrick’s Purgatory.
Source: St. Patrick’s Purgatory – County Donegal, Ireland | Atlas Obscura

“Blowing in the Wind.”

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A Clew Bay Pipe Band Piper blowing hard at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade held on Achill Island, Ireland.
Photo Credit: Photograph by National Geographic.
http://goo.gl/g6Vh2n

“Ireland’s Oldest Pub.”

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Sean’s Bar, Ireland’s Oldest Pub
I visited more than 50 pubs around Ireland over the eight weeks my wife and I toured the country in the summers of 1997 and 1998.
I don’t recall being in any pub that had a selection of more than five beers: Guinness, Smithwick’s, Carlsberg, Kilkenny, Budweiser or Coors, and Murphy’s or Beamish.
The first three beers were available at all pubs and often those were the only three beers served.
In a tiny pub on Arranmore Island, County Donegal in 1997, when I commented about the small selection of beers, an old Irish man said to me,
“Too much choice is not necessarily a good thing”.
Seans-Bar-inside
Sean’s Pub is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest pub in Ireland with ownership records dating back to 900 AD.
Source: A day in Athlone, Ireland

Remembering the Easter Uprising.

BAhbCVsHOgZmSSJOdXBsb2Fkcy9wbGFjZV9pbWFnZXMvZDNlN2Q0Y2FkODI3NTM0YTI5XzY0MHB4LUdQTyxfRHVibGluXygxNTQxMzc1MjcpLmpwZwY6BkVUWwg6BnA6CnRodW1iSSIKOTgweD4GOwZUWwc7BzoKc3RyaXBbCTsHOgxjb252ZXJ0SSIQLXF1YWxpdHkgOTEGOwZUMADublin was still under British rule in 1916, when seven unlikely revolutionaries hatched a plan for an armed uprising during the Easter holiday. They wrote a Proclamation of Independence and chose strategic sites in downtown Dublin for their Rising, including the post office along the main thoroughfare of the city.

They felt that once the revolution began the people of Ireland would rise with them and they assumed that the British would not destroy their own property in retaliation. They were mistaken on all counts.

The Rising had its problems from the beginning. Due to a split in leadership and miscommunications, even the date was confused. When the fighting didn’t begin on Easter as many thought, would-be reinforcements turned around and went home. Despite this, the planned takeovers of government buildings began on Easter Monday, and the destruction of a large portion of Dublin shortly followed.

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The general post office, or GPO, was the headquarters of the revolution. Here the Irish flag was raised and the Proclamation was recited loudly, to the jeers and complaints of the citizenry who just wanted to post their mail. When the British began to shell the area with heavy artillery, the complaints grew louder. The post office was eventually set on fire and mostly destroyed, along with many of the buildings around it. In the end, the British army had no qualms about destroying most of downtown Dublin to defeat the upstarts in the GPO.

The Easter Rising lasted only for 6 days. It would likely have been a mere footnote in history, but for the fact that all seven signatories on the Proclamation were then tried in secret and executed by the Crown, at which point they became martyrs to Irish freedom.

Their short-lived fight eventually led to Ireland’s independence and the leaders are revered to this day. Decades later, their proclamation is located in many Irish government buildings including the GPO and on countless memorials. It is read every year on Easter Monday at the renovated post office by a member of the Irish Defense Forces.

All that remains of the original building is the beautiful Georgian facade. The facade has its own visible scars of bullet holes, cracks and mortar damage. It is still one of the busiest post offices in all of Ireland and it houses a permanent exhibition of its role in the Rising called Letters, Lives and Liberty. Every year on Easter Monday, a wreath is laid outside the General Post Office, the Proclamation is read and other ceremonies commence to commemorate the men and women who fought in 1916.

via Dublin General Post Office | Atlas Obscura.

“Faces Around Dublin” by Doyle.

2Five years ago, Irish photographer Eamonn Doyle began snapping people near his Dublin home.
Here we show images from his Dublin trilogy of books i, ON and End.

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2835All photographs © Eamonn Doyle, courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery

See more images via Around Dublin with street photographer Eamonn Doyle – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

“Rebecca and Amazing Grace.”

Photographer: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Location: Newgrange, Ireland.
Rebecca Smith poses for a photograph during winter solstice with her Irish Wolfhound dog called Amazing Grace at the 5000 year old stone age tomb of Newgrange (not in view) in the Boyne Valley at sunrise in Newgrange, Ireland.
REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
See more pics via Photos of the week | Reuters.com