Glenflesk to Muckross
This morning there was some sorting out to do—from where would I start my walk. Being Anglican I decided to use the three-legged stool approach, scripture (Paddy Dillon’s Coast to Coast), tradition (local wisdom), and reason. For those of you who know me, you might suggest I rarely use much reason (yes, I did feel my way across Ireland).
Dillon’s book had left me wanting the last three days. Even by his own admission, the last few days of the Blackwater Way were not well marked and his guide was sketchy. Once again, another confirmation that scripture cannot be taken literally. The local folks with experience were extremely helpful. Indeed, they said, the end of the Blackwater was difficult even for the most experienced of those who grew up in the land. I should not feel too bad getting turned around. Reason? Okay, given my lack of reason, I still needed to make a decision that was best for me. Tomorrow I start the Kerry Way and there are some subsequent dates to which we are committed.
My pilgrimage has taken me more than 310 miles across Ireland. If I counted my backtracks, wanderings, and just plain being lost, well I may have walked enough in the miss-stepped mental fog to re-walk the first three days of the Wicklow Way. So, I asked myself, what is the best walk for me, today, this day, August 4, 2012, a day in time I will never experience again? Cathy drove me around to several sites. To say the least I was a bit flummoxed. Nothing seemed or felt right. The words a women, whom I flagged down a few days ago seeking some guidance, were still ringing in my ears, “You can only take so much forestry.” And I might add, “So much mosey bog.” Finally, we were near Glenflesk, not far from Shrone, I was standing outside the car looking at my map and a man pulled up and asked me if I was okay. I told him my story and he said, “Just walk to Muckross up this road by the lake, it’s a good walk.” Sometimes I need someone older and wiser to say—just go this way.
I took his sage advice and indeed, it was a good walk, a walk for my soul. I turned my face towards the mountains of Kerry. My trekking through the Wicklow Way, the South Leinster Way, the Munster Way and the Blackwater Way had revealed and unfolded a beauty I could not have imagined. However, the walk by Lough Guitane was majestic. From what everyone from Dublin through today has told me, “Go west to Kerry and see the diamond of Ireland.” Today was the perfect day to ready my soul for what lies ahead in the next few days as I conclude my walk from coast to coast and more importantly, my soul’s pilgrimage for the next chapter of my life.
Priest, pilgrim, writer, alchemist—living into the mystery, the knowledge, and the practice of sacred alchemy. I've walked across Ireland, almost 400 miles of mountains, valleys, forests, and magic. The pilgrimage was a mirror of my life's journey, coach, president, priest. Traveler of the life's struggles—from failure to re-imagination—still walking.