The Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

We sought our riches in the sky
Where we thought they couldn’t touch us
Built our castle up on high
Closer there to God
But time and sword they came
Slinking in through stone
Taking until all was left
A hill of rock and bone
— Claire Loader

There are few things in life that are truly awe inspiring, that catch you in your throat, stop you in your tracks.  Towering over the rolling green plains of Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel is one of them.  Like something out of a dream, her towers reach impossibly towards the heavens, her walls nearly kissing the clouds, as they dance then with the sky.

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

Kilmaine Abbey, County Mayo

I stood trembling in the long grass
Sunshine warm on stone
Tears falling softly
To the risen earth below

Yet I smiled as I watched
Tiny petals reach like towers
For I’ve not lost you to the earth
Simply to the flowers
— Claire Loader

It's easy to drive by Kilmaine Abbey, nestled as it is between house and shop. And I did, many times, until one sunny day a spree of colour caught my eye and I stopped to go in. Situated on the site of the biggest of St Patrick's three churches, a modest abbey in her winter garb, she is simply a thing of beauty in bloom.

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

Castlegrove House, County Galway

Feet snagged by ivy,
where once dancing shoes they tread.
A hall once for laughter,
now for trees to grow instead.
— Claire Loader

Castlegrove House, on the Tuam to Ballinrobe road, is like a forgotten secret, a piece of history given over to the forest. Walking up to the silent remains hidden in the green underbelly of the woods, you feel almost like an intruder - a tiny trespasser amidst the towering memories of the past. The walls looming like forgotten sentinels, keepers now to the trees.

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.