Ireland’s Ancient Castles and Spirits


Ireland is a dream, a glowing green celebration, a place of shifting light where shadows of knights can be seen roaming through the fog.

The Guinness is foamy and dark and suspiciously looks like the River Liffey. Poems float through the air and music is everywhere.

castleMist hovers through the countryside, contributing to the dream. When the mist clears, ancient castles appear. Some castles have been restored, but I love the ones that haven’t been touched. Doors and walls may be missing or crumbling. Birds fly through open windows and nest in the corners. It’s easier to imagine the past in a place like this, a place that has surrendered itself to time.

castleFrom the ancient castles, the countryside still looks as it did when kings and queens ruled the lands. Green fields stretch toward the darker trees of a forest’s edge. The rumble of galloping horses can be felt. Fog and magic swirl through the air, bringing shadows of the past back home. They stoop over a stone fireplace, tending a fire so that a whiff of wood smoke is inhaled hundreds of years later. They harvest the fields that have grown into a tangle. Their laughter still sings through cracks in castle walls.

Ireland green fields

Ireland countryside


Ireland castle

Ireland castle

On St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be dreaming of Ireland.

How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year?

71 thoughts on “Ireland’s Ancient Castles and Spirits

  1. Thank you for sharing these wonderful images.
    I will be celebrating with meditation and gratitude.
    Have always felt a connection, a ‘draw’ toward Ireland, if you will, and now I know why.
    Research into my ancestry takes me to my great grandfather and his family, coming over to Nova Scotia in the mid 1800’s. I find their spirits calling to me, and I say their names often.
    Thank you again.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the virtual trip. I’ve only been able to get there twice so far, but it does feel like home because of that Irish heritage. Everyone looks and acts like a long lost relative.

  2. Such a beautifully written post with equally beautiful photos. I love visiting castles, from the outside grounds to the torture chambers inside (there’s always a torture chamber, is there not?…). We don’t really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but maybe this year I’ll have to get a Shamrock shake. 🙂

  3. Nowhere else in the world can you find that emerald green grass, beautiful. I love old castles too. We have a few left in France too and each one is worth visiting. Thanks for sharing your photos!

    • Thank you! It is a beautiful place. It’s been too long since the last trip so it’s a nice excuse to look through the pictures again.

    • That’s very true – part of the magic of Ireland is because of the people. There’s so much to enjoy, and so many great conversations in those pubs!

  4. Breathtaking pics Sheila – is that Cashel up top? Indeed Ireland’s landscape and ruins can transport me back like no other place I’ve been to. On a misty or ‘soft’ day it could be any time in the last 1,000 years. You can almost touch the spirits of the country’s trouble past.
    I won’t be celebrating on Sunday though. Much as I like a pint the whole day has been hijacked by eejits who can’t celebrate without falling about, being sick and creating bother 😦

    • Yes – the first couple are Cashel – good guess! I thought I had photos showing castles that are even more rustic, but I guess those are just in my mind. That’s funny – I usually celebrate at home because of all the craziness. It can be pretty impossible to even get into an Irish pub around here with lines out the door just on that one day. But at least those eejits can be entertaining! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  5. Oh wow, another place I must put on my list to visit! Actually, my son just got back from a business trip to Ireland and just raved about it. Unfortunately, he didn’t take many photos…so I thank you for these stunning images!

    • Yes, you’ll have to go there because I’d love to see your photos! I just pointed and clicked to get these images. I’m sure yours would be much more stunning! It is so beautiful there, definitely a photographer’s dream.

  6. Love your pictures. Where’s that last one at? My husband wanted to know. He was there back in the 90’s. Beautiful post for a beautiful country.

  7. These photos are so beautiful, Sheila, and now you have me dreaming! I will be wearing green, eating something “green” and if I don’t forget, I’ll make corn-beef and cabbage (once a year)! 🙂

  8. Lovely post! There’s some Irish in me on my father’s side. We’ll probably be home for the day, but Saturday night we’re off to the Kennedy Center for a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and the Chieftains (preceded by dinner at a Serbian restaurant. 😉 ). That should be fun!

    • Wow – that’s a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! That’s funny that you’ll be combining Irish and Serbian experiences for the real melting pot feel. Hope you have lots of fun!

  9. Sheila, your Uncle Ken sent me a link to your blog. You certainly have a bit of the Irish in you with your poetic descriptions. It takes me back to the times we have visited the “Old Sod”. Thanks for the memories. You are a talented lass!

  10. So gorgeous. I am reading this while eating a green bagel! My publicists wants to know if you remember when you, she and SMP all had to share one camera! Those were the days, xo Louisa

  11. Lovely! Your pics make me want to go visit, or even write a story centering around a mysterious Irish castle. 🙂 I’m mostly Scottish, but there is a bit of Irish somewhere in there. We usually celebrate the day dealing with all the trouble the leprechaun gives us when he eludes our trap! 🙂

    • Thanks Kate! It is a place that’s filled with inspiration. That leprechaun can be pretty sneaky. I hope you’ll get to catch him this time around!

    • Thank you so much. Your poetry gives me wings so I’m glad we can help each other fly. I hope you have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

    • I’m happy to hear that! It’s worth the trip. Not only is it filled with beauty, but it’s a lot of fun too!

  12. These are great pictures, Sheila (and I love the way you’ve written about the castles) “Fog and magic swirl through the air, bringing shadows of the past back home” – wow, I felt like I was there :D.

    • Thank you – I’m looking forward to traveling through your site too. You’re inspiring me to take off and travel like that someday. 🙂

  13. What a lovely post, and stunning photos. I was only in Ireland once, but Cobh and Cork were treasures. Hope you had an enjoyable St. Patrick’s Day, and thanks for following my blog.

    • I know what you mean. I’ve only been there twice and both times were too long ago. I found your site through Dianne Gray and had never heard of short story pirating before that. I hope it all gets figured out and that the story will be taken down soon!

  14. lush green.
    reminds me of Noor Eliya in Sri Lanka.
    The castle in that photo looks majestic and the valley with the sparsely dotted houses holds such serenity…

  15. Wow, beautiful pictures Sheila! I’ve lived in Ireland years but rarely ventured out of Dublin lol, one day 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!


    • That’s funny because when we live in a place, we don’t do those touristy things. I hardly ever go to the ocean and Cape Cod is surrounded by it. Most of those pictures are from the Ring of Kerry but the field is just outside Dublin and Cashel isn’t too far. But then, Dublin is so fun I can see why it’s hard to venture out.

      • It’s so true. I lived a few kilometers from Byron bay in my teenage years and it was like “meh” lol, I’d kill for a day on that tropical beach at the moment though haha! I definitely have some sight seeing to do before I move on again 🙂

        By the way I’ve never been but people I know tell me Cape Cod is really beautiful 🙂


      • Yes, it has its moments. The weather can be a little like Ireland but Ireland is much more beautiful. Cape Cod is pretty desolate in the off season and then it gets crazy with tourists as soon as the summer starts. So, I’m bracing myself for the onslaught. 🙂

  16. What a beautiful post ! I hope I can go someday. You are such a talented writer Sheila. Your words and photos transported me back in time in this wonderful part of the world !

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the virtual trip and hope you’ll get there for real too. It’s a special place and I’m sure your photos would really show that much better than mine!

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