ancient sites, Art, sacred sites, TOLL, travel, Trickster

Two Bulls: the fair-horned…

County Sligo, Carrowmore, Tuesday 26th July 2022…



White his heavy mane

and his massive hoofs

pounded in purple;



his body dyed, blood

red, from the clay bog

with a blank pap

under breast and back;



 and from nape to rump

 a thirty-boy gap

his ponderous tail

hanging hinder haunch;



to his cows the

beloved idol of herds;

 father of big beasts,

born to bear victory:



  bellowing in greatness…



“Weird how that last church which we didn’t even know about prior to driving past it and initially had no intention of visiting gave us the idea of what to look for in Eire-land,” says Don making himself comfortable on his bunk before reaching for the lap-top.

“The church at Helmsley you mean… no weirder than anything else we’ve accidentally encountered on the trip so far.”

“I suppose,” says Don, “but listen to this,” he commences scrolling down the lap-top, “’Columcille was born 521 A.D. into the O’ Neill clan in Donegal.’”

“So, he’s Irish, so what?”

“He’s high born Irish,” says Don, as if that should matter any, and then continues, “’as a young man he soon took an interest in the church, joined the monastery at Moville, and was ordained a deacon by St Finnian. After studying with a poet called Gemman, Columcille was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Clonfad.’”

“The poet is interesting and lends more weight to Mister Minahane’s thesis.”

“Not that it is a thesis.”

“How so?”

“It’s like the fella sez, anyone who approaches the evidence with a reasonable attitude, without a particular axe to grind, or agenda to push, cannot fail to concur. But just in case you’re in any doubt.”

‘Columcille copied St Finnian’s psalter without the permission of Finnian, and thus devalued the book. When Finnian took the matter to High King Dermot for judgement, Dermot judged in favour of Finnian, stating “to every cow its calf; to every book its copy”. Columcille refused to hand over the copy, and Dermot forced the issue militarily. Columcille’s family and clan defeated Dermot in a pitched battle of AD561…’”

“Now why, why, why, would a book be deemed so important?”

“Copy-Right…” says Don.

“Well, it’s certainly that, but… it’s also a tad over the top don’t you think?”

“The clergy agreed with you… ‘St Molaisi of Devenish, Columcille’s spiritual father, ordered him to bring the same number of souls to Christ that he had caused to die.

Exiled in AD563, Columcille landed on Iona with twelve disciples, and founded a new monastery…’”

“How many souls died in the battle?”

“Over three thousand all told, according to the records, but I think they may have rounded it down!”

Lands of Exile Volume Two


Stuart France and Sue Vincent

Ben, fast becoming a folk hero after the apparent theft of a standing stone, now languishes in Bakewell Gaol. Don and Wen, suspected of being his accomplices, are on holiday… or ‘on the run’ if Bark Jaw-Dark and PC 963 Kraas, hot in pursuit, are to be believed.

From England to Scotland, the officers of the Law have followed the trail of the erratic couple as they visited the ancient sites of Albion. This time, though, as Don and Wen take the slow boat to Ireland, Kraas and Jaw Dark are one step ahead.

But Ireland is a land of mystery and magic, where reality intertwines with vision and standing stones are still open doors…

How long can Don and Wen continue to evade the long arm of the Law?

Who are the men who wear the Templar emblem… and what are they doing in Derbyshire?

In the shadows, a labyrinth of secrecy shrouds a mysterious figure. What is Montgomery’s interest in a small standing stone?  Just how many high-level strings can he pull… and why?

And what is the dark, winged creature that is now on the loose?

Join Don and Wen as they continue their adventures in the sacred and magical landscapes of Albion and Erin…

Available in Paperback and for Kindle via Amazon

(Illustrated throughout in full colour)

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