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Visitare le Isole Aran è stato un dono del cielo e dell’amicizia. (Italian & English)

Mi trovavo per concerti al mio terzo viaggio in Irlanda e nei giorni passati a Galway con mio cugino e Alessandro, un mio caro amico, ricevemmo la proposta di visitare un po’ la zona. Alessandro era già stato alle Isole e ci propose di andare là, così, accompagnati dalla simpaticissima amicizia di Joe e Katherine ci organizzammo per visitare Inis Mor.

Già il viaggio in traghetto si era caricato di allegria e gioco. In qualche modo i passeggeri erano venuti a sapere della mia passione per il canto e così mi hanno fatto improvvisare qualche canzone italiana lungo il viaggio.

Appena sbarcati ci siamo fermati a mangiare qualcosa e poi, muniti di una macchina, abbiamo iniziato a gustare l’aria, il paesaggio, l’autenticità della gente, genuina e accogliente. Inutile dire l’emozione viva e la gioia di camminare sul quel suolo. L’aria, il paesaggio, le persone… tutto sorrideva di una pace energica.

Arrivammo ben presto sulla scogliera ovest, dove l’Atlantico incontrava le rocce scavate nei secoli con forza e nobiltà. Come resistere a questa poesia? Io sono per mia natura attratto dalla bellezza e non ho mai trovato bellezza più completa di quella seminata nella creazione. Ecco: là trovavo tutte le sensazioni di cui ero assetato. Il vento, l’acqua, i prati e le rocce. E non potevo resistere, cantavo e cantavo di continuo correndo qua e là tra le pietre antiche, testimoni di sagge culture di un tempo.

A un certo punto trovai un prato, davvero invitante per il mio cuore. Mi son steso ricordando di essere terra come il suolo che mi ospitava e sentirmi fratello di quella natura non poteva che suscitare una lode semplice e felice al nostro Creatore. Steso là, ad occhi chiusi, gustavo tutta la bellezza di quel momento che avrei voluto fosse infinito. Senza dubbio si è ancorato nel mio cuore.

E infine la benedizione che sentivo di lasciare a quelle scogliere: “Deep peace of the running wave to you!”. Un canto libero e tranquillo che ho voluto donare come un bambino a sua madre.

Ma il tempo scorreva velocissimo su quel paradiso, e siamo dovuti tornare indietro verso casa. Ed ecco che durante il nostro cammino ho intravisto in un recinto alcuni amici: simpatici asinelli che ci guardavano con quello sguardo tipico degli animali abituati a veder passare stranieri. Uno di loro mi colpì: era albino, tutto bianco; una meraviglia! Così ho provato a chiamarli: si sono voltati verso di me, mi guardavano chiedendosi, forse, cosa mai volesse questo essere umano vestito tutto di marrone. Ed ecco che dopo poco l’asino bianco si avvicinò a me e si lasciò accarezzare con tanta tenerezza. Come esprimere la mia allegria? Ero davvero felice grazie a tanti regali. Ok. Potevo tornare a casa sazio.

Ma l’avventura non finì qua. Sul traghetto durante il viaggio di ritorno c’era una coppia di novelli sposi e qualcuno (chissà chi…) li informò che c’era là con loro un certo frate cantante. Fu così che mi chiesero di cantare per loro un’Ave Maria e con questo canto concludemmo il nostro viaggio.

Dio ci dona pezzi di Paradiso qua e là sulla terra per ricordarci che non siamo soli, per ricordarci la nostra vera meta, per ricordarci di quale sostanza siamo fatti: libertà, gioia e pace. Questo sono le Isole Aran: una finestra aperta sul Paradiso che ci attende.

(Translated into english by friar Eunan McMullan, Ireland) —————————————————————

Visiting the Aran Islands was a gift from heaven and the result of friendship.It was my third trip to Ireland for concerts and I found myself in Galway with my cousin, and a dear friend also called Alessandro, when it was suggested that we visit a little of the sights in the area. Alessandro had already been to the Islands and proposed a trip there.So, accompanied by our wonderful friends Joe and Katherine we organized a trip to Inis Mor.Even the ferry crossing was filled with fun and games. Somehow the passengers came to know about my passion for singing and I was obliged to improvise with a couple of Italian songs along the way. On disembarking from the vessel we stopped to eat something and then with the aid of a car we set off to experience the fresh air, the countryside, the authenticity of the people – so genuine and welcoming. I cannot describe the emotions
and the joy of walking across the land. The air, the countryside, the people… everything seemed to smile with a peace-filled energy.We quickly arrived on a western cliff where the Atlantic ocean meets rock – carved with strength and nobility over many centuries. How could I resist such poetry? By nature I am attracted to beauty and I have never found beauty more complete than that sown in the
creation that surrounds us. Here, I found the water that I had been thirsting for – the winds and the fields and the rocks. I could not resist. I sang and sang moving here and there through the ancient stones that spoke of ancient and wise cultures of the past.

Suddenly I found myself in a meadow, so attractive to my soul. I lay down, remembering that I was made of earth like the soil that was welcoming me and feeling myself to be a brother of Nature, felt compelled to raise a simple and happy praise to our Creator. Lying there, with my eyes closed, I was savouring the beauty of the moment and I wished that it could last for ever. It doubtless entered into my heart and I felt compelled to leave a blessing for those cliffs: “Deep peace of the running wave to you!”. A song, free and peaceful which I wanted to give as a child’s offering to his mother.But the time ran very quickly in that paradise and we had to return back home. During our walk back I saw some “friends” in a pen, little donkeys with the typical aspect of those that are used to seeing strangers passing. One in particular struck me. It was completely white, an albino, and marvellous to behold. I tried to call them, and they seemed to turn questioningly towards me as if wondering what this human being dressed all in brown wanted of them. After a little while the white donkey approached and let himself be carressed with such tenderness. How can I express the joy of that moment? I was truly happy, thanks to such wonderful gifts. I could return home satisfied.The adventure didn’t finish there. On the return crossing there was a newly wed couple and someone…. who knows who?…. had told them there was a certain singing friar on board. It was thus that I was asked to sing for them an Ave Maria and it was with this we concluded our voyage.

God gives us little pieces of paradise here and there on this earth to remind us that we are not alone, and to recall to our minds the reason for which we have been made: for liberty joy and peace. These are the Aran Islands, an open window to the Paradise that waits for us.

Dara Molloy Celtic Priest, Aran Islands, Ireland

Dara Molloy Celtic Priest, Aran Islands, Ireland

Dara Molloy is a Celtic priest whom I met this summer when visiting the Aran Island of Inis Mor, off Galway and the West Coast of Ireland. Dara authored “Legends In The Landscape, A Pocket Guide to Inis Mór, Árainn,” which provides a wonderful introduction to the area’s history of rich Celtic spiritual traditions and a lore-filled road map to the significant cultural sites across the island.

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Aran Island Journey

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The Aran Islands, they sound exotic, perched off the coast of Ireland, next stop Newfoundland.

All I knew of them was the old black and white film, Man of Aran by Robert Flaherty.

A dramatic soundtrack accompanying grainy images of rock strewn land, high cliffs and storm lashed coasts. Emphasising how hard a life it was for the few inhabitants of this wild unforgiving landscape.

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“The truth is what you feel” – The Aran Islands

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When you come to this wonderful island, one of the challenges that is worth facing and overcoming is; to give yourself permission to feel your feelings, tune into your senses – to dispense your mainland head, which is all shorthand for leaving aside your business thoughts, relationship worries, materialism and so much more so you can just, live, breath and feel – the right things will happen.

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The Aran Islands – “That Island Energy”

The Aran Islands are located just 20km off County Galway in the West of Ireland. Inis Mor which has a population of 800 left me thinking I not only had an island escape from the kaos and distractions from day to day living on the mainland, that I had been somewhere very beautiful, very unique, and very Aran.

A ferry goes to Inis Mor island from a picturesque port in Connemara where you will see the local fishing boats as you board the ferry surrounded by connemara’s 12 pins. The double decker bus trip from Galway is equally as scenic with its coastal views of Galway Bay and the introduction to the region of Connemara. A boat also leaves from the cliffs of Moher each day. And one can also fly there in 7 minutes if they wish.

Once at the pier of Kilronan I hired a bike. The cycle to Dun Aonghasa is the most popular way to view the Island which could be described as an outdoor museum of stone monuments, churches and forts.There is a place called ‘The Seven Churches’ . Churches seem to be everywhere. There are monasteries, pagan standing stones, beehive huts, and The bronze age fort of Dun Aonghasa (there are three forts on the island) sits on a 300 ft cliff that stretches along the 8km western side of the island. Not only am I on the island of ‘Saints & Scholars’, The view is spectacular, the scene is angelic.

A simple feature, and a sight that lingers is the island itself, the dominant rocky limestone landscape full of small paddocks bordered by walls made of stone that had be stacked by hand. This has a maze like complexion, many of them have different shaped rocks and patterns from which they were constructed. Each one with its own story. It simply inspired my imagination and took me on a journey where I was at one with myself. I took a lot of photos of these stone walls. And it isn’t just me, books have been written them.

The Islanders also speak Irish. It took me a while to understand their english accent and vocabulary which is poetic, expressive, and metaphorical. Irish itself is full of stories and metaphors so there seems to be a lot interpretation involved, and where a lot of phrases in english are derived from. It adds to the charm and authenticity of the experience.

Aside from my highlight which was Dun Aonghas and the cliffs, I discover an eclectic mix of interesting things. There is a beautiful seal colony, stunning beaches, and exotic wild flowers. A famous film called “Man of Aran” and its cottage. The Aran Sweater Market. The Worm Hole which is the venue for the Red Bull Cliff Diving. There is 3 lighthouses, There is great traditional Music and lots of musicians. The food is superb such as Aran Cheese, and there is the Island Energy co-op!!.

The island has you leaving it thinking you had been somewhere special. Not only that you had left the hussle and bustle of the mainland; You get that “island” energy!!!. Rarely do I feel ‘effected’ just by being in a certain place.

Www.aranislands.ie

www.aranislandferries.com
www.aranislandsbikehire.com

The Aran Islands are  located in the center of the Wild Atlantic Way. It is Accessible from Rossavel (Connemara & Galway). The Aran Islands are also accessible from Doolin which is close to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

Learn More about The Wild Atlantic Way