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2023-09-19 09-46-54 - 0232-1.tif

Ireland - Memory of Stones

Over lunch with my 97-year-old mother-in-law, she mentioned that memory is akin to stones, that the memories in one layer of the wall can be retrieved in kind, but until evoked, those in another layer remain stubbornly back in time for another day. This struck me as a metaphor of my first visit to Ireland.

There, some stones suggest ancient hidden meanings, while others lie silent, unyielding of their secrets. One of my ancestors may have walked along this road of her homeland one last time before leaving Forkhill in the late 19th century. Kicking a stone with a shoe, careful not to damage the cobbler’s work, placing another on a wall as a silent farewell, looking upon a stone circle, wondering who had stood there before, and then continuing on her journey down the mountain to the sea. Later, a smooth-worn stone will wear a hole in the pocket of her jumper and become Canadian.

Stone by stone, each a grain of sand in an endless bucket, ages built on stones. Some could be carried, others were thrown, and thrown back in the prevailing tide of feuds, yet others lie untouched, awaiting some further upheaval, witness to more ancient memories. Medieval runes know of what they speak, and hold their secrets close.

Walls crisscross the Irish countryside; wild formations stand coarse against the sea. Buffeted by wind and rain, civilisation persists in making walls and paths, their vistas occasionally illumined by glancing light. Here an unfinished project, now forgotten, more rough-hewn shapes to rise against the unyielding sky.

Some of these photos hint of these mysteries, playing hide and seek with the wandering mind of a traveler in time. Walk with me a moment and let us see where they lead.

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