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Irish Hallowed Ground – Aran Islands Art Print

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The Aran Islands were one of those special almost indescribable places you stumble across from time to time. When the winds were howling and the rain was whipping across the island, you wondered why anyone would ever live in such a place. Then the sun came out and the island was suddenly… well, you just suddenly understood why someone would want to call it home. It somehow evened out in an inexplicable way. I think, as well, the islands are special in a perhaps supernatural way. I think it’s all about Hallowed ground.

From the ancient iron age ruins that dot the island to places like these monastic ruins, I think there’s something that draws people to this little faraway corner of Ireland. Those ancient ruins were almost magical to me, but it was the site of this old medieval monastery, Na Seacht dTeampaill – The Seven Churches, that is hallowed ground for the local Irish even until today.

At first blush this might look like ancient ruins and little else, but if you start really looking at the cemetery, you’ll realize that all of those graves aren’t ancient. I didn’t know about this before visiting Ireland, but there’s a tradition that persists unto today of wanting to be buried in old hallowed ground like these church ruins.

In fact, every time I saw monastic ruins while in Ireland, I also saw contemporary graves. Amongst the ruins of The Seven Churches on Inishmore, there was just a wee sliver of hallowed ground to be found. Which explains the complete lack of any order to the burials. I’ve never encountered such a higgledy-piggledy grave-yard before. Have you? If here was room for a burial, someone was there – an elegant if scattered approach.

But in that beautiful pale winter sunlight that morning on Inishmore, it was such a beautiful place that one understood the desire to spend eternity there.


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