Quin Abbey, County Clare

I ran my hands upon the walls
Fingers soft on stone
Walked like shadows through the halls
Through the ghosts that lingered still
Like the ivy on the towers
The moss upon the path
The rooks that sang of days long gone
Crumbling memories of the past
— Claire Loader

There is something quietly enchanting about a cloister, the soft footfalls of the past still reverberating around its walls.  A predominant feature of Franciscan Friaries, so few in the West are left intact.  But Quin, she is something special.  Walking around her vast halls you cannot help but be transported, whisked into the lilting rhythm of a long lost matins, reaching out from the very stone.

Copyright © 2019 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

Belclare Old Church, County Galway

Silent is the slow march,
yet we do not walk alone,
too heavy is the coffin,
to simply be of bone.

A coldness builds and lingers
with every keening knell,
as we gift you to the sodden earth,
the gaping maws of hell.
— Claire Loader

As a self-confessed taphophile I love a good cemetery, but this is one I won't be running back to. Sitting silently overlooking the small village of Belclare, just outside of Tuam, there is something oddly unnerving about the long walk up the slope to the waiting graves above, never mind the gaping hole sunk into the mountain at the back. It's not hard to imagine the reason for its replacement on the flat - if the steep incline didn't kill you before you got to the top, one false move thereafter would see you not return.

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.


Ballinrobe Priory, County Mayo

Come to me in the deepest night
and rouse me from my slumber,
from the shackles of my dreams
where pain and pleasure lurk.

Come wake me into daylight
to face what I have forgotten,
all the things I run from
each time I close my eyes.
— Claire Loader

If Ballinrobe Priory had a star sign, it would certainly be Gemini – the Abbey of the Two Faces.  Desolate in her winter garb, the earth damp with long forgotten grief, she comes alive then in summer, flowers blooming in alcoves, life within the stone.

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.