17 episodes

A travel podcast with Mindie Burgoyne about Ireland - exploring places where the veil between this world and the eternal word is thin.

Thin Places Travel Podcast Mindie Burgoyne

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 12 Ratings

A travel podcast with Mindie Burgoyne about Ireland - exploring places where the veil between this world and the eternal word is thin.

    Thin Places in Celtic Brittany

    Thin Places in Celtic Brittany

    Segment 1- Mindie
    Welcome to Episode 17 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast. This episode features Brittany France – an area with one of the largest collections of pre-Christian monuments in Europe. And these monuments are the run of the mill dolmens or passage tombs. The monuments in Brittany, in many instances, predate those in Ireland and the UK. Many believe the people who created the first of the monuments in Ireland and the UK came from Brittany. It was the Breton culture that established this pattern of erecting these ancient monuments.
    We are so lucky to have the Brittany expert, Wendy Mewes on the podcast today. If you search the internet for guides in Brittany or books written on the ancient Breton landscape, you will find Wendy’s name and her website…. Wendymewes.com
    She is a prolific writer and lecturer. On her website, she has a quote that reads, “My personal identity lies in the landscape.” Her books and writing speak to the concept that the landscape is alive and that there is an inherent “sense of place” unique to the Breton landscape. Wendy lives in Finistere – with its deep forests, sweeping shorelines and ancient stones – an amazing place for walking. 
    Wendy has a background in ancient history, she is the author of numerous books about Brittany, and her articles have appeared widely in the press. In France, she has been filmed for TV and contributed to radio broadcasts on historical subjects. She has worked extensively in promoting Breton history and culture to English-speaking visitors through talks, courses, and guided visits.
    Wendy now concentrates on landscape writing, most recently with Spirit of Place in Finistere (2017). She is currently working on two new books: one about the Breton saints and the other on walking ancient paths in the region.
    Now … on to our interview with Wendy.
    segment 2 – interview with wendy mewes
    What is it about BRITTANY that is most compelling?  
    Brittany has a very beautiful and unspoilt landscape, full of hidden sites beyond linear time where eternal elementals still share their presence. It also triumphs in economies of scale with a wide variety of natural surroundings – secret river valleys, open moorland, deep forest, wild coast – within a relatively short distance. Many point to the power of granite, a stone forged from fire, for the strong atmosphere – it seems to affect people both well and badly! There is nothing excessive here: the scale of Brittany is so in tune with human scale that one can perfectly identify with the environment.
    What is the background - history of the site or topic?  
    Brittany was well-populated in the Neolithic period and has the greatest density of megaliths in Europe, with standing-stones and burial chambers widespread. These sacred places continued to be revered by succeeding Bronze and Iron Age inhabitants. The arrival of Celtic Christianity with evangelists from Great Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire saw many of these sites taken over and Christianised in the rivalry between Nature and God. 
    Are there any legends or mythology tied to the site or topic?  
    Brittany is the home of a vast treasury of legend, especially in the Celtic oral tradition. The megaliths in particular have their own stories of origin (usually involving giants or fairies), and there are hundreds of varieties of little people active in the landscape, as well as countless tales of the Breton saints with all their miracles and triumphs. One of the striking themes of oral culture here is the ubiquitous presence of Death (personified by Ankou, the Grim reaper).
    Do you think those stories have a deeper meaning?  
    Stories inevitably spring from humans’ interest in themselves and our need for explanation and ‘certainty’. Many legends are self-referential and self-reverential. Often they resign us to our lack of control over life and death, making chaos less frightening. Here in

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Achill Island History and Things to Do with Patricia Byrne

    Achill Island History and Things to Do with Patricia Byrne

    Segment 1- Mindie
    This episode is focused on the largest of Ireland’s islands – Achill Island. It lies of the coast of County Mayo, and can be accessed by a bridge. It’s an island of stories, of sorrow, of powerful women, and it has some of the most beautiful scenery is all of Ireland with sheer cliffs, amazing mountains, bogland, sandy beaches and historic villages.  Achill Island  - as my friend Ruth O’Hagan says, “… is one big, fat, giant amethyst sitting in Atlantic Ocean. And it’s true that amethysts were mined here, and one can still see the veins of purple in the gray rock cliff faces.
    Achill is old landscape. Inhabitants of the island are said to go back 5000 years.  The Belfast born painter, Paul Henry visited Achill Island with the intent of staying a few weeks, but found that he couldn’t leave. He said of Achill Island, “Achill … called to me as no other place had ever done.” He ended us staying for years.
    Patricia Byrne is a writer who currently lives in Limerick, but is from County Mayo and has Achill Island ancestors. The stories of Achill Island and her ancestors captured her imagination so strongly that she has spent years researching and writing narrative non-fiction about the island’s history and people.   She is a graduate of the NUI Galway writer program. Her most recently historical non fiction books are:

    The Preach and the Prelate: The Achill Mission Colony and the Battle for Souls in Famine Ireland  
    The Veiled Woman of Achill: Island Outrage and a Playboy Drama
    In our conversation today, Patricia and I talk about the stories in her books, but also about Achill Island itself and many opportunities for travelers to the island.
    Segment 2 - GUEST INTERVIEW
    What is it about Slievemore Deserted Village that is most compelling? It is the mountainside remains of a village that was deserted during and after Ireland’s Great Famine in the mid-nineteenth century. It includes the remains of over 80 cottages and also potato ridges – lazy beds.
    What is the background - history of the site?

    When the potato famine struck in 1845 the movement of people form the village started through a combination of famine death, emigration, evictions and movement of the people towards the sea. This movement continued after the Great Famine and the settlement developed into a ‘booley’ village – with people using the village for summer grazing of their animals on the mountain slopes and moving down to the villages of Dooagh and other areas by the sea in the winter.  
    Are there any legends or mythology tied to the site? The people tell stories of suffering associated with the village; of losing their lands on Slievemore and being forced to build new soil from sand, seaweed and peat closer to the seashore. The ‘lazy bed’ potato ridges are clearly visible to this day and evoke memories of the trauma of suffering arising from the failure of the potato crop.
    Do you think those stories have a deeper meaning? The place and the stories carry the people’s memories of their history and their suffering. The historical trauma is buried in the soil.
    What surprises travelers about the site? …. something one wouldn’t expect? People are surprised when they come close to the site and observe the detail of the houses and their construction methods as well as the still evident shape of the potato ridges dug into the mountain slopes. The Nobel Laurate writer Heinrich Boll had a cottage nearby in the 1950s and spoke of his astonishment on coming upon this village, ‘a skeleton of human habitation’.
    What are your thoughts on thin places or liminal places where the physical and spiritual worlds seem to cross? The landscape carries powerful memories of our ancestors’ lives and their traumas. We can walk upon the ground where they lived, toiled and suffered. The place is a poignant image of leaving – through death

    • 54 min
    Accessing the Celtic Otherworld with Dolores Whelan

    Accessing the Celtic Otherworld with Dolores Whelan

    Segment 1- Introduction
    Dolores has always been a teacher and educator. And she’s one of the most educated people I’ve ever met. At one time she was a biochemistry lecturer holding a Master of Science degree from Trinity College Dublin. Now she is an author and lecturer on spirituality and also leads pilgrimages to the sacred places in Ireland and Iona, Scotland. Dolores has written extensively on education, creativity and Celtic Spirituality. She has facilitated workshops and retreats in Celtic Spirituality and personal empowerment for over 25 years.
    Her most recent book is Ever Ancient, Ever New: Celtic Spirituality in the 21st Century explores the wisdom of the Celtic tradition through the Celtic Year calendar and co created a perpetual Celtic calendar with US artist, the late Cynthia Matyi.
    Dolores loves to share her passion for the wisdom held within the Celtic Year  calendar which celebrates the festivals associated with the seasons of the Celtic year . Her work has been featured on RTE Radio and on RTE Television Nationwide  She is  a co-founder of  both The Brigid of Faughart Festival  now in its  10th year  and the Brigids Way Pilgrimage  which is in its 5th  year.
    segment 2 – Dolores whelan interview
    WEBSITE: Dolores Whelan website  http://www.doloreswhelan.ie
    AUDIO CD: Journey through the Celtic Year CD by Dolores Whelan
    CALENDAR: Celtic Calendar – Dolores Whelan and Cynthia Matyi
    BOOK: Ever Ancient, Ever New: Celtic Spirituality in the 21st Century
    BOOKS: Dolores Whelan’s other titles
    Brigid of Faughart Festival
    Beltany Stone Circle:
     Beltany a Thin Place in Donegal  
    Bridge to the Otherworld: A Rainbow at Beltany
    Sliabh na Calliagh - Loughcrew
    Sean O’Duinn – Where Three Streams Meet
    Sean O’Duinn – The Rites of Brigid, Goddess and Saint  
    Hill of Uisneach – Walking Meditation on the Hill of Uisneach
    Hill of Tara
    St. Brigid
    Several of the sites mentioned by Dolores Whelan will be sites on our 2019 tours of thin places – in particular the Hill of Tara and Newgrange and Beltany Stone Circle.  Stay tuned in our next episode for the announcement of dates and destinations for 2019.  It looks like we will have 4 tours next year – Scotland – 2 in Ireland and one in North America

    • 50 min
    New Ancient Henge Discovered in Boyne Valley

    New Ancient Henge Discovered in Boyne Valley

    Segment 1- Mindie
    Welcome to Episode 14 of the Thin Places Travel podcast. This episode is a follow up to episode 13 where I interviewed Irish ancient monument expert, Anthony Murphy. Anthony is a husband and father of five who currently works full time as a journalist. He spends a portion of his free time examining, studying and photographing the ancient monuments in the Boyne Valley – a World Heritage Site.  This Valley is not too far from where Anthony lives and if you follow his facebook page – Mythical Ireland, you’ll see that he gets out quite often to photograph the area at various stages of daylight and twilight throughout the changing seasons of the year.
    In July of this year – 2018,  Anthony and a friend were in the Boyne Valley doing some arial photography with drones. Anthony was able to see a previously undiscovered henge and two smaller mounds in a farmer’s field. The postholes were only evident because of the recent drought that Ireland had suffered. Anthony reported his findings and shared the videos with local television and by the next morning, his discovery had moved around the world – featured in the Washington Post, New York Times, NPR Radio and Time magazine.
    In this interview Anthony shares information about the discovery and what it possible tells us about the ancient people who lived there. 
    Anthony Murphy on NEW henge discovery
    Video that captures the new discovery
    Additional video regarding the new discovery
    Mythical Ireland - Anthony Murphy – website
    Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past New book by Anthony Murphy (amazon ink)  For autographed copy, purchase from Anthony’s website https://www.mythicalireland.com/
    The New Henge of Newgrange: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Discovery – blog post by Anthony Murphy on the new henge he and a friend discovered in July 2018
    Anthony Murphy YouTube Channel – Mythical ireland
    Anthony Murphy Amazon Author Page
    Mythical Ireland Facebook Page
    Newgrange and Bru na Boinne – World Heritage Site
    Thank you for listening to the Thin Places Travel Podcast. You can find us on the web at thinplacespodcast.com. You can also find me on twitter at @travelhags and facebook.com/thinplaces.
     And if you enjoyed this episode, please give us quick rating and review on iTunes –and consider subscribing,  

    • 26 min
    Mythical Ireland-Boyne Valley Discussion

    Mythical Ireland-Boyne Valley Discussion

    Welcome to Episode 13 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast. In this episode I interviewed Anthony Murphy, a historian and journalist and a remarkable photographer who lives in Drogheda, one of Ireland most ancient towns. Most of Drogheda is in County Louth, but a portion of it runs into County Meath – the ancient royal capital of Ireland where you find the Hill of Tara and the massive collection of ancient monuments in the Boyne Valley.
    Anthony is an author, a husband and father of five children. By day he works as a journalist, but he has a passions include photography, astronomy and Irish mythology especially as they pertain to the ancient monuments found in the Boyne Valley near where he live and throughout Ireland.  Anthony is the author of Island of the Setting Sun: In Search of Ireland’s Ancient Astronomers as well as several other books. His most recent work Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past features many of the same concepts and subjects that Anthony talks about on his YouTube Channel and in this interview.
    This guy is full of information and ideas about the ancients. We use Anthony as a local guide for some of our Ireland tours.
    I recorded this interview in May of 2018, and Anthony spoke about Newgrange and the Boyne Valley and the ancient people who once lived in the area. He talks extensively about the monuments and how they tie into Irish mythology.  We closed that interview and I saved it for production in the summer of 2018. 
    But early one weekend morning in July of 2018, while doing some Arial photography of the Boyne Valley using drones with a friend, Anthony located a yet undiscovered ancient monument- actually several.  The monuments were only visible because of the recent drought in Ireland. By the next day, Anthony’s photos and videos were featured on RTE television, and by the following day Anthony’s discovery was on NPR, The Washington Post, the New York Times and Time Magazine. 
    I couldn’t publish this general interview with Anthony without mentioning or including his new amazing discovery. So, we did a second interview, and it is featured in the next episode – Episode 14.
    So, sit back and relax.  Prepare to hear from one of the most brilliant, fresh minds focused on ancient Ireland. This interview with Anthony Murphy will give you a wealth of information on the ancient monuments of Ireland and the mystery that surrounds them.
    Anthony Murphy on the boyne valley
    Anthony Murphy discusses the Boyne Valley – Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth and Irish Mythology related to this World Heritage Site.
    Mythical Ireland - Anthony Murphy – website
    Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past New book by Anthony Murphy (amazon ink)  For autographed copy, purchase from Anthony’s website https://www.mythicalireland.com/
    The New Henge of Newgrange: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Discovery – blog post by Anthony Murphy on the new henge he and a friend discovered in July 2018
    Anthony Murphy YouTube Channel – Mythical ireland
    Anthony Murphy Amazon Author Page
    Mythical Ireland Facebook Page
    Newgrange and Bru na Boinne – World Heritage Site
    Mindie - Conclusion
    We thank Anthony Murphy for being so generous with his time and offering such wisdom to you, our listeners. Please tune in to the next episode to hear about Anthony’s recent discovery of more ancient monuments in the Boyne – how the discovery was made and what the monuments tell us about the people of that time.

    • 43 min
    Kinsale - Barry Moloney and Ardmore

    Kinsale - Barry Moloney and Ardmore

    Segment 1- Mindie
    Kinsale – County Cork – off the coast of southern Ireland
    Kinsale isn’t a thin place… sometimes you need to relax and rejuvenate and have fun. Most lovers of thin places and liminal spaces also love history and stories of local people – heroes, villains – and Kinsale is very rich in history that impacted the evolvement of society in the western world with the famous “Battle of Kinsale.”
    Kinsale has two historic forts, Charles and James Forts. And so many other bits of interesting history.
    Kinsale is of my favorite towns for relaxing.  I love the vibe.  The town is clean, vibrant It’s an art and foodie town. The people are friendly. It’s totally walkable and everywhere you look is color and light.
    When you go to Kinsale a good way to get your bearings is to go on a tour guided by Don or Barry – on Don and Barry’s Historic Strolls. I was lucky enough to get an interview with Barry when I was in Kinsale recently.
    segment 2 – guest interview
    Barry Moloney – Don and Barry’s Kinsale Historic Stroll
    Don and Barry’s Historic Stroll in Kinsale offers a walking tour full of history and interesting information about this seaside town in County Cork.
    SEGMENT 3– Kinsale ghost tour
    There are a few consistently operated ghost tours in Ireland.  Being the owner of a ghost tour company here in the states, I always like to see what other companies and groups do when crafting and putting on a ghost tour. I’ve been on the ghost tour in Belfast and the Ghost Bus in Dublin.  Both were great experiences through very different.
    Kinsale has an interesting ghost tour.  The term Ghost tour is so subjective. It can have multiple definitions in people’s minds. People can perceive ghost tours as anything from paranormal investigations to history walks to people dressed in character leading a theatrical performance. 
    Kinsale ghost tour is that kind of ghost tour – a performance and it’s quite comedic.  Two actors, Brian O’Neill and Don Herlihy dress in character and lead their group of guests around the historic Kinsale town center and recount stories of ghosts and historical figures in way that keeps the guests’ attention and keeps guests laughing. This performance is so well done. And there are some elements of surprise.
    The tour starts at Kinsale’s oldest tavern - the Tap Tavern, which has been owned by Brian O’Neill’s family since 1886.  His mother, Mary O’Neill still owns it today and she and Brian manage the operations. Mary is often there when guests gather for the ghost tour. I had the pleasure of meeting her while I waited to speak to Brian.
    The tour takes about 90 minutes. It covers all the interesting parts of the town and it is very entertaining. An evening well spent.
    Don’t miss it if you’re in Kinsale.
    Kinsale Ghost Tours
    SEGMENT 4 – Ardmore in County Waterford
    Ard Mohr means Great Height
    Ardmore: Great Height – blog post by Mindie Burgoyne
    A seaside resort and fishing village. It’s near Youghal in the south of Ireland – not too far from Kinsale or Cork City.
    Ardmore is a thin place. I guess I sense the thinness of a place on the approach. Maybe there’s something about the round tower, maybe something about the old ruins. But as you climb the hill to the old monastic ruins you get a jolt of something when the round tower comes into view. It’s a seaside town with a beautiful beach and sheltered bay. It’s a resort town for tourists with stunning views of the bay and a cliff walk above the town.
    There are also ecclesiastical ruins in Ardmore are associated with St. Declan, a 5th-century saint who established this monastic community here on a hill at Ardmore… in fact the name Ard Mor – means “Great Height.”

    The devotional stops in Ardmore are traveled by pilgrims and as

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

kjm1027 ,

Thin Places Podcast

I am soooo looking forward to more episodes. They are so interesting and well done.

Ronnie ... ,

Podcast with Mary Reynolds

5 Stars. What a great interview with this naturalist, author, award winning landscape designer, who has had amazing life experiences. ! Looking forwatd to listening to more Thin Places podcasts.

Erinmqs ,

I'm hooked!

The topic of "thin places" is of interest to me but I only stumbled upon the podcast after one of her episode guests whom I follow mentioned it in one of his FB posts. I have since binge listened to four shows in two days and individually told six friends (and the list keeps growing,) plus mentioned it in a closed FB women's minimalist packing group. Seems Mindie got her "sea legs" fairly fast on hosting a podcast.

I like the topics. I appreciate that she gives book recommendations in most episodes, or for example, talked about the merit of Dublin's Leprechaun Museum, (which frankly I didn't make time for when I last went to Ireland and now I'm feeling like a return trip is required.) I also like the guests she hosts.

I hope this podcast is around for a long time. Slainte!

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