Global Greening on St Patrick’s Day – 17th March 2019

Image – Tourism Ireland

The Tower of Hercules in A Coruña illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative. The annual initiative sees hundreds of major landmarks around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day. writes –

Many legends from the Middle Ages to the 19th century surround the Tower of Hercules, which is unique as it is the only lighthouse of Greco-Roman antiquity to have retained a measure of structural integrity and functional continuity. One of them comes from the Leabhar Ghabhála Érenn, the “Book of Invasions”, a compilation of oral stories from eleventh century Ireland. Breogan, mythical Celtic king of Galicia and founder of Brigantium (a kingdom supposedly based on A Coruña), built the town a tower —the Tower of Breogan. The tower was so high that from the top, one of his sons, Ith, could see the top of a green shore: Ireland. That link between World Heritage listed Spanish lighthouse and Ireland is the reason why the monument will be lit up in green on Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17), and why A Coruña is taking part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening campaign.

According to the legend, the Tower of Breogan is based off the Tower of Hercules. The sons of the Celtic king decided to go on an adventure in order to see what was on such a green land. Breogan lighted a bonfire at the top of the tower, so his sons could find their way back home, but unfortunately Ith was murdered in Ireland. Ith´s nephew Mil Espaine (Irish form of the Latin Miles Hispaniae, which means “Soldier of Hispania”) decided to leave Brigantium to conquer Ireland. His descendants are supossed to be the ancestors of the Gaels, the Irish of today.

Breton Association of Friends of Santiago de Compostela – 2019 Conference – 16th/17th March 2019

From Compostelle Loire-Atlantique:

The Association Bretonne des Amis de St Jacques de Compostelle held their 2019 General Assembly yesterday. Organized in the town of Fouesnant, it was a huge success, with 350 people in attendance.

A delegation from Camino Society Ireland were present at the conference. An important partnership is now active between our Celtic lands.
The Loire-Atlantic delegation officially handed over to Turlough O Donnell, Chairperson of Camino Society Ireland, a nail identical to those laid in their cities crossed by the Camino. This one will soon be implanted in Saint James in Dublin, the starting point of Irish Pilgrims! We look forward to this day!
On St. Patrick’s day, they went to discover Point-Croix, starting point of the path but also a beautiful city full of heritage and charm.
Thank you to Tony Grouard, and the Loire-Atlantic delegation for your kind words and photographs.

Camino Society Ireland Information Talk and Walk – Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Meigh, Armagh – 23rd March 2019

On March the 23rd, the Camino Society held an information event and walk for members and friends at Slieve Gullion Forest Park. Much like our previous information events, a large local attendance turned out looking to gain information about the Camino de Santiago. Some had a Camino planned and were looking for questions to be answered by veteran pilgrims. Many thanks to Brid Morgan who talked about her Camino from Sarria with her children and particularly how Saint James has inspired her in her everyday life.

By midday, we set off on one of the many walking trails in Slieve Gullion Forest Park. There are many trails here, both short and long walks. And these walks are perfect for you whether you are preparing for a Camino trip or taking a stroll with the family. On this day, we decided to walk 8 kms on the Red Squirrel Safari. The weather was perfect for walking; not too warm, not too cold and there was no rain in sight. And as always, there was much talk about future Camino plans and helpful tips.

We started off at Slieve Gullion’s Adventure Playground and Giants Liar, before the gradually ascending. We passed through woodland trails, flowing streams, while taking in stunning views across the Ring of Gullion, Mourne mountains, and Cooley Peninsula. The Ring of Gullion is rich in folklore and mythology. It was thought that the young Irish hero Cú Chulainn had his residence on the slopes of the mountain. The most epic of all tales, Táin Bó Cuailgne (‘The Cattle Raid of Cooley’), tells how Cú Chulainn battled single-handedly at the nearby ‘Gap of the North’ to defend Ulster from the armies of Queen Maeve. In another story, Finn McCool was bewitched by the Cailleach Béara and subsequently lost his blonde locks after swimming in the lough on the summit of Slieve Gullion. ( Thank you to everyone who made yesterday a special day and to Eric and Lesley Rankin for choosing this beautiful walk.

Camino Society Ireland Information Event – Cotswold Outdoor, Dublin – 24th April 2019

Following on from a successful talk at Cotswold Outdoor earlier in the year, the Society held a further information event. A large attendance turned out, looking to gain information about the Camino de Santiago. Some had walked before and were interested in learning about other routes, whilst others were planning on taking their very first steps towards Santiago de Compostela. There was also some time spent on what kit should be considered for one’s Camino, with Bernard bringing his full pack for the occasion.

And let’s not forget that membership of Camino Society Ireland provides you with 15% discount off non-sale items at Cotswold Outdoor, so please consider becoming a member if not so already.

Thank you to Bernard for hosting the talk, and Elizabeth for the photographs.

Camino Society Ireland – AGM & Fiesta, Dublin – 18th May, 2019

On Saturday, May 18th, Camino Society Ireland held its AGM. This day started in the morning with a special visit to Christchurch Cathedral and its new Labyrinth.

Afterward, everyone made their way to St James’s Hall for our AGM which was held at 1pm.

This was then followed by our Fiesta – Music, paella, vino and more. A celebration of all things Camino and a chance to share memories and plan your next trip. A great time was had by all who attended.

The Book of Pilgrims
Bernadette Cunningham and her recent book ‘ Medieval Irish pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela