The Mysterious Castle Hackett

Castle Hackett is a mountainous area that overlooks the westerly emerald green of Ireland and is teaming with folklore, heritage and history. We walked up the crispy frost ridden Knockma mountain taking in the the dewy landscape paying close attention to the brightly coloured little fairy doors nestled into the grooves of many of the windy twisted trees, the minuscule doors an offering and an opening to the fairies that are housed in the whimsical area.

I was in awe at the greenery that sheltered us like canopies over head, made only more impressive by the glistening frost that coated the little details within the mountains flora.

And where a rather confident, cubby ball of a little robin was more than happy for me to get close enough for a photo op

As we started to make our way to the peak of the mountain an opening in the wall was lit with golden hour orange where I was blinded momentarily from the light, my eyes only adjusting when I seen the view laid before me…

Castle Hacketts history and folklore is abundant, there is tombs or cairns around Knockma mountain where the owners of Castle Hackett are buried and lined with ritual significance. The fairy king Finvarra is the king of the Daoine Sidhe which translates from Gaeilge to “People of the mounds” and was a leader of The Eos Sí pronounced “ees shee” which is the term for the supernatural race and world in Irish Mythology. His wife Queen Maeve is also buried inside the Knockma mountain in a similar cairn.

They are both buried apparently upright so even in death they can look over the castle in the distance. Castle Hackett house was used as a place of refuge for horses to remedy their ailments in the many indoor swimming pools that the mansion had, the mansion now a story short of its original 3 from a fire started in the Irish Civil War.

I love learning about Irelands rich heritage and folklore, they never felt like old wives tales to me when it was drilled into us by our Grannies and Grandads to “never fuck with a fairy tree”. We were told of one particular story where a woman trying to warm her family in the bitter winter chopped up a fairy tree to add as fuel for the fire, The fairy tree recoiled from the fire, burning the woman’s leg initially and leaving the house and children left as nothing but ash. They might seem cute but rather devious if harmed. Never fuck with the fairy folk. If you would like to learn more about the history of Castle Hackett you can do so be following this link

The Kick About #15 – Eric Ravilious, High Street

This weeks Kick About over at Reds Kingdom is the gorgeous illustrations by Eric Ravilious entitled High Street (1938). I drew one of my favourite places to have a drink or ten with my friends during the Christmas back in my home turf in shop street Galway city – a place that is always bustling with the right amount of life. It will certainly be different this year but Ravilious illustrations made me think back to those bitter winter nights where our bellies would be warm with booze and the sound of buskers filled the cobbled streets.