Have you ever been someplace very quiet and felt like you were being watched? Perhaps you heard a rustling sound or a soft voice but there was no-one else around? Did you feel something brush past you, did the hairs stand up on the back of your neck?
Could be you were at a ‘Thin Place’, a place where the space between us and the unseen world are closest, a place where our senses are most alert.
“There is, in Celtic mythology, the notion of ‘Thin Places’ in the universe where the visible and the invisible world come into their closest proximity. To seek such places is the vocation of the wise and the good.” - – Peter J Gomes (1942-2011), American Preacher and Harvard theologian.
Ireland is special.
We know this and no doubt, but it can be hard to define just what makes it so special.
The island is impossibly old and absolutely teeming with ghosts, history, and folklore. The land is breathtakingly beautiful, the culture is rich and of course, the people are unique and endlessly appealing.
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But still, there are loads of impossibly old and beautiful places. What sets Ireland apart? We can’t see what it is, but we know it’s there.
Generations of our Irish Ancestors have passed down tales of fairy folklore which tell us with absolute conviction, that the fairy, the Good People or the Sidhe, live beside us and whatsmore, pass back and forth between our two worlds whenever it pleases them to do it.
This unique slice of Irish culture certainly separates it from other old and beautiful places and let’s be grateful it does.
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But when we ponder the existence of the fairy of Ireland, we can’t help asking ourselves how the fairy do this? Where are these places, and are we able to move between the two worlds too?
Well… we don’t really know, we’re not really sure and yes, we can (but only if they want us to).
‘Thin Places’, also sometimes called ‘The Veil’ are names we have given to places where we believe the curtain between our Human world and the ‘other’ world is at its thinnest, where we and they are closest to each other in the physical sense.
Many people believe Thin Places are to be found at sacred sites such as ring forts, ancient burial places or cemeteries, standing stones, stone circles, high crosses, and holy wells.
It is said that enlightened people are more likely to recognize a Thin Place and after spending time at the site, could find themselves rejuvenated, cleansed, illuminated, exhilarated or even comforted. But one sense they all share is an overwhelming desire to return. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
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But what if you didn’t have to have reached spiritual enlightenment to recognize a Thin Place? Imagine if everywhere in Ireland is a Thin Place. Imagine if the whole island of Ireland is a Thin Place.
From Wexford up to Antrim, from Donegal down to Cork, from Galway across to Dublin and everywhere in between you could literally bump into, or trip over, a fairy. Or, as teenager Ann from Ulster recently discovered, you might find that you share one of your favorite hideouts with a fairy.
My name is Ann. I am 17 and I live in Ulster.
I haven’t told anyone this before (and my name isn’t even Ann) but I wanted to tell someone about a weird thing that is happening.
I like to hang out in these woods near my home. There’s a wee river runs through there and I usually just sit and sketch and listen to music. A few times I noticed some strange sounds around, but the woods are full of weird sounds and animals, so I just ignored it.
Then one day, it was in the fall, I was sitting at a cross in the river, a place where it splits into two. There are three massive stones which turn the river and I was sitting atop one of them. I heard laughing, quiet like, then felt something brush against me, not hard but it knocked the pencil from my hand into the river. There was more laughing, I looked around but there was nothing there.
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So, I packed up and got the hell out of there and didn’t go back for a while. Then I had an idea. At the spot where the river splits, there are tall, dense trees and I climbed up and waited. Nothing happened. So, I went back the next day, same thing. No weird sounds, no laughter or rustling. Then the third time, I was sat up there about 20 minutes when it happened.
I heard chatter and laughter but distant. Not distant far away, but quiet. Like the volume was turned down. Then it quickly got louder. I could make out 6 different voices talking. But they weren’t speaking English, although I picked up a few words in English. It was more like they were talking a few languages, all bunched together. I’m not certain, but there could have been some Irish or Nordic (my Dad watches those Nordic shows on TV).
The voices were really close now and when I looked down at the river and woods below me, I could see movement and splashing, but not any real form of anyone. I called out ‘Who’s all there?” and it went silent. They were gone.
That was yesterday. I went back today and sat on the big rock again and waited and within 10 minutes they were back. Same thing. Quiet voices. I sat still and sort of whispered ‘Hello’. The water splashed in front of me as though several big people had jumped off the other big stones, then they started singing. 3 voices. They sounded like a chorus of birds, but really quiet and each singing a different song to the other. It was weird.
That’s all I remember. I woke up on the grass at the base of the big stone. I don’t know how long I’d lay there but everything was ok. Nothing bad happened. I called for them, but they were gone. The song was really nice though. I’m pretty sure I’ll go back. Ann – County Ulster.
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When she encountered the fairy at her river hideout, Ann was enjoying a quiet solitude. Her mind was open, filled only by sketching and listening to music and there is no doubt this helped her sense the fairy at the river.
Mingling with fairy is not for everyone, but if you fancy giving it a try here are a few tips to improve your chances of crossing paths with a fairy.
- Find a calm place in nature. Look for a spot near natural water (sea, river, stream), woodland, forest, mountain or valley where you feel particularly relaxed.
- Quiet your mind and listen.
- Be patient. Remember, Ann, visited her river hideout many times before encountering fairy.
- Have something to offer the fairies, such as a story, a song or a small handmade gift.
Be Warned: do not seek out fairy with a mind for mischief. Any trouble you bring to the door (or Thin Place) of fairy will be returned to you threefold or more.
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* You can listen to Kitty’s Podcast ‘Encounters with the Good People’ at www.faerieofireland.com/podcast and read more contemporary tales of encounters, sightings and unexplained experiences concerning fairy of Irish fairy folklore at www.faerieofireland.com.
Would you like to share your own story or a story from your family of a fairy encounter or unexplained experience in Ireland? Drop by www.faerieofireland.com and share your story with Kitty.
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