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Shin Rin Yoku

Fairy Fort in the grounds of Derrycassin Wood
Fairy Fort in the grounds of Derrycassin Wood

The only “Bards in the Woods” I managed to attend was a few years back, in Mullinaleaghta in Longford, where John Wilmott and myself toured the grounds of the Dopping-Hepenstal estate. Being the fountain of knowledge I am I was telling him all about them as then knew it, not knowing that Phillip Hourican from the pub in Aghnacliffe had a family tree done that showed us being related to the family who used to live there.

There were good and bad ones of them, one infamously cruel for evictions, which is all rather surreal given our familys politics! One of the paradox’s you encounter when an Anglo Irish and Gaelic Irish family intermarry…

Under Derrycassin trees,
The evening sun, and calming breeze
By Lough Gowna’s waters shores
Strolled by gentry once, not any more
Bards together the paths walked,
Of history, poetry, culture talked
Tales of Longford I had told
Of the family who lived here in days of old
For all I told of all Id known
Little knew these folks were my own.
For this knowledge I must give thanks
To Hourican cousins who hailed from these banks
But then, this was not known by me
– The historian always learns you see –
The boat house ruins, the fairy fort
The burned out benches of little worth
The paths once walked by those of my blood
If I were alive in their day walk here I never could
The garden where grew the rhubarb I in my youth ate
Now overgrown in natures state
This place of peace, now open to all
The old house which to the hammers did fall
Catholic church built with its stones
As its said they came from over Inch Islands bones
The trees names out, by shape known by name,
All passed me by to whom all trees are the same
Bards in the woods, over whom shading
Enjoying Shin Rin Yoku, or Forest Bathing.

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