Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Solvitur Ambulando: A Clare Camino


 "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour.

                      Canterbury Tales

Pilgrim pathways are quite trendy these days with celebrities, Shirley McLaine  sprinkling a bit of stardust on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella and Martin Sheen giving the route the West Wing seal of approval in the film 'The Way' . Among my own more plebian circle,  I don't have to go too far  to find people who have stepped it out  along the iconic route although the real trial is not the trail but enduring the prelude of purgatory that is  21st century airline travel.

 I watched the development over the last two years of a pilgrimage pathway in the West of Ireland  with interest. I could hardly contemplate a trip to far flung pathways without at least treading part of the newly marked   route through holy wells, ancient crosses and churches scattered  across my home county of county Clare.

Entrance St Brigid's Well

I joined a group of twenty or so pilgrims on the final day of the latest stage of a Clare Pilgrim path on  Friday 6th April beginning at St Brigid’s Well, Liscannor, continuing to Liscannor Church Kilmacreehy church ruin, St Senan’s Well in Kilshanny and finishing in 

Kilfenora Cathedral (10km).   Fr Denis Crosby, parish priest of Liscanor was a font of knowledge  of local history and lore and an insightful and entertaining guide.   There was a convivial lunch of at Kilshanny House and fortified, the group walked on to  St Fachtna's Cathedral where the fire was lit and Brian Mooney spoke about the Doorty megalithic cross before a final closing ceremony. The group included members of both Catholic and Protestant traditions with both Canon Bob Hanna of St Columba's and  and Fr  Tom Hogan  of Ennis Cathedral among the pilgrims  giving the venture an ecumenical profile. 
Fr Denis Crosby with Brigid's Cross photo

On a glorious sunny day like this  mercifully free of those April showers,  with the panoramic coastal scenery looking like a John Hinde postcard, and an airport in easy reach,  it was easy to see the appeal a 'Clare Camino'  might have for   potential pilgrims  both at home and abroad . I enjoyed the walk, the sense of shared experience with old and new acquaintances and the glimpse into the customs and practice of  generations past through the eloquence of our knowledgeable guides.

Plans to map the route are in hand and it will be interesting to watch the project develop over the next few years.

'Solvitur Ambulando': Clare Pilgrim Motto  It is solved by walking 

And so schal we alle · may ther no man flee:
God bringe us to the Ioye · that ever schal be!

Time for a lunchtime tune for the dancers 

Surveying the Cross   photo CD

More details of the  activities of the Clare Pilgrim Way group can be found on the website

A gallery of photographs taken at the event can be viewed on

Inside the labyrinth at Caher photo
 Mission Statement

  We wish That the pilgrims On this way
   Enjoy a lifting of their spirits
                 And that Even those who do not believe 

Find themselves
     In a setting where
          The spirits are raised,

The mind is cleared and                 
The body itself is lightened.

After Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

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