Eithne and Fedelma: ‘Unfinished Business’

You may remember these two young ladies:


Incredible Irish Women. The Mysterious Deaths of Eithne and Fidelma


And you may remember also the block I had when it came to writing the next post in my Incredible Irish Women series, and how I was given to believe that I had ‘unfinished business’ to complete before I could move onto my next subject.

I decided to go to the site where Eithne and Fedelma had been baptised by Patrick, and where they were said to have to have immediately ascended to heaven afterwards. Let’s just say it was not at all what I expected.



St. Patrick was represented there, as was Mary, but where were Eithne and Fedelma? Not a whiff of them, anywhere. The site was filthy, neglected, scattered with empty beer bottles and litter. The door to the glass oratory was broken, the glass speckled with damp, the room stank of mold. Inside, a courting couple waited impatiently for me to leave.

A man had driven his car right up to the stream and was actually sitting in the water up to his waist, fully clothed, with his car door open so he could blast his music, while staring at his phone.

I laid out my roses, a white one for ‘Eithne the Fair’, and a red one for ‘Fedelma the Red-Rosed’, said my piece, and left. I felt very sad. The whole thing felt wrong. And as you know, I do believe in intuition.

There is another well, which some say is the real holy well of the two young ladies. I drove around, but it’s certainly more elusive… I didn’t find it. More research is required.

But I did find this…


Cruachan, home of Queen Medb and the site of the Tain bo Cuilnge, according to legend.

Cruachan, home of Queen Medb and the site of the Tain bo Cuilnge, according to legend.


I haven’t been back to Cruachan since last Samhain, so I was delighted to have the chance to spend some more time there. I also went to Rath Beag, Rath na Dtarbh, and Rath MΓ³r, but that’s a whole other story…

Meanwhile, the search for Eithne and Fedelma goes on…


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38 Comments on “Eithne and Fedelma: ‘Unfinished Business’

  1. The past is contentious ; statutes are being torn down in later ages as the arguments rage over the American Civil War. History may reveal some heroes, were not such heroes as they seemed to be and those who appeared to have special powers were merely ordinary. It reminds me of how we view our fathers when young and how ordinary they seem when we grow up; yet we love them just the same with all their faults.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an excellent analogy, Kertsen. Looking at the personalities of the historical movers and shakers is more interesting to me than what they actually did! πŸ˜ƒ At the moment looking at controversial English king Charles I… very interesting.

      Like

      • Quite right ; we are all children of our time , making judgements that history may prove wrong. I think we can excuse error and stupidity, those being something we all suffer from at times but cruelty and brutality are inexcusable.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Ali, you may find this article interesting if you have time to read it:
    https://www.celticdruidtemple.com/news/the-true-story-of-st-patrick
    Very soon after King Laoghaire gave Patrick permission to go about preaching in Ireland, Patrick soon caused the death of Eithne and Fedelma and not only placed a curse on their dad that caused him to die but also cursed the king’s descendants so that they would never become Kings of Tara. If that is correct and I was in Laoghaire’s family, I would not be very happy with Patrick!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was just in a mood, I guess. I’d been reading a James Baldwin novel, _Another Country_, that provokes thought about social class, race, sex, &c. It is very American. Pub. 1962. Some of it may be a little shocking, yet overall I can recommend it… My blog is tiny, too, with only 36 followers, counting me. Guess it takes time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does take time, Rob. I’ve been blogging 5 years now, and my blog has grown steadily year on year in that time. I think it depends on your niche… Irish mythology is only a small niche. Writing tips, blogging tips, food blogging and mom blogs seem to do incredibly well. As do travel blogs. I guess people are always looking for inspiration in their lives. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The peaceful beauty of your last shot definitely made it all worthwhile. Your thought to go to the site where Eithne and Fedelma were baptized is exactly what I would have done ~ I’ve mentioned before how being in a historical place can create inspiration. And it is too bad that your initial experience was not great, but inspiration did come πŸ™‚ Wishing you well, Ali, take care and look forward to your future inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was very peaceful there… so many ancient monuments everywhere Looked I was practically falling over them. A very ancient and sacred landscape indeed. I was in my element. Although mounds generally are not that photogenic… any tips?

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      • Sounds perfectly peaceful and historical. As for mounds. Ha, ha ~ photographing mounds is not easy, as the shots come out as “mounds are just mounds.” But maybe you could do a macro-shot of a mound (grass, dirt, etc…) then build it into your writing πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  5. It is sad that some Irish trash their heritage. Some Americans also care little for their history. Perhaps this is a trend of the modern world. A few lines of poetry come to mind from “The Memory of the Dead” (John Kells Ingram)
    and “The World is Too Much with Us” (William Wordsworth):
    He’s all a knave or half a slave,
    Who slights his country thus
    The world is too much with us; late and soon
    Getting and spending, we lay waste to our powers;
    Little we see in Nature that is ours
    SlΓ‘n agus beannacht.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe it’s just my mood today, but those poems seem so sad and hopeless. I don’t know… I suppose we all have different values. For some, the past is just that, it’s over, gone, dead and buried. Maybe only historians realise that we still carry the past with us, or the consequences at least, and that everything we do now impacts on the generations to come.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michelle, I guess not everyone appreciates their heritage. Its not taught in schools or handed down as folklore through families like it used to be, so I guess people just aren’t so aware. But in this case it looks like even the church has abandoned this site. There was a notice on the door from the local church advising that a refurbishment was under way, but it had clearly been there a long time and there was absolutely no evidence of any work having ever been started. No doubt lack of funds will be quoted as the reason, but the Catholic church in Ireland is not an impoverished organisation.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I understand, we see the same thing here in the US. I understand that there are so many locations and buildings that are historic in nature and local governments might not have the money to fund restorations at all of them, but many more could be preservered. There is an old factory near where I live. It is along a river and the company town is at the top of the opposite hill. There are so many historic sites on the property once owned by the factory and it’s owner, not to mention his home (mansion) in the town and the homes of his children and the workers. Many have fallen in disrepair. I am fascinated with the whole factory/town as it is all purported to be haunted. I will be touring thethe mansion later this month.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I agree. But not if it means they are ‘lost’ in the process, forgotten and allowed to disintegrate. Many holy wells have dried up due to farming processes. But the flip side is that anonymity can also preserve them. 😊 Hope all is well with you, Diana… I’ve been away from blogland too long!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Where my parents live there are old caches of history that only a few people know about so the places aren’t destroyed. I have no doubt that you will find many of your sacred places. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

        • Isn’t it a shame though that our history has to be withheld to avoid damage? Still, its a good thing there are guardians around who are able to protect some of it. 😊

          Liked by 2 people

  6. There are many sleeping rough in the UK some with the audacity to use the pavements in Royal Windsor the intended venue for the up and coming royal wedding. The royal wedding will be a magical affair but always behind the magic is the grim reality . The man in the stream was determined to enjoy himself blotting out the world with music and mobile pictures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’d say he was very determined, Kertsen, that water was ICY! Maybe he was seeking healing for submerged parts. Or training for an Antarctic trip. However, you bring up a serious topic. The royal wedding will indeed be magical, and the couple seem lovely, but I’d rather see that money used elsewhere, like helping people who actually need it. Like the homeless. I’m of the opinion the English no longer need a monarchy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Money is always freely available high up on the pyramid of wealth. Take that marvellous institute the House of Lords which has grown to enormous proportions as each successive government claims the urgency of its reform. I can remember when we were governed by one parliament but now we have at least three and bureaucracy grows year by year.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Oh well enjoy that! This morning was the allegory of the individual experience as national in the Kite Runner, this afternoon its more of the Irish Bildungsroman for me! πŸ˜†

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi. No offense, but maybe the weirdos need our flowers, too? It’s easy for you and me to dream, but harder to face the realities that need our love, well, much more. Sorry; just putting this out there. Every day I’m downtown in Eugene, OR, USA, I see homeless people everywhere. It’s impossible to ignore. They are not at all “invisible” to me. They camp out at the doorstep of the place where I get therapy sessions. I could just as easily be one of them in the blink of an eye. This is my knee-jerk response, but “illusions are painfully shattered right where discovery starts.” Also, every individual, high and low, has a story that may be more valuable than the magical ones we look for. Please take with a pinch of salt. Your friend Rob

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Rob. You are right. I shouldn’t have used that word. I didn’t mean to offend. And no need to apologise… sometimes people need correcting. It was just so bizarre. 😊 I often see holy wells that are neglected, and that’s sad, but fine. This one seemed positively abused, not by the people who were there when I visited, but by the damage, the litter etc. There was no sense of the sacred at all, no sense of the two girls, and I just felt so disappointed. I’ve never felt that at a holy well before.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Well it is a tiny one compared to yours, but it is a global one of like minded people and I appreciate every one of them taking the time and trouble to read what I write and then engage with me. And it’s fun!

          Liked by 2 people

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