Nov 4, 2009

An Irish Mystery

A different tree in Ireland. From creative commons by Michael Foley
I recently came across this story, and I thought I'd share it.

Ireland has always been a place of mysteries. Sir John Pentland once said: "In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs."

This happened in Rostrevor in County Down. For many generations people claimed to hear the ringing of an invisible bell near a graveyard that was associated with the ancient church of St. Bronagh. The church no longer existed but the ruins from a 15th century church remained. Now, you might think this was odd, but in Ireland supernatural events are expected. People thought it was the fairies, don't ye know!

That is, until 1888 when a storm knocked down a massive oak tree in Kilbroney churchyard. When the tree was cut up for firewood, an ancient bell was found deep within it, perhaps concealed for hundreds of years by ivy that had grown over it. It's an excellent example of the kinds of bells used in ancient monasteries. How did it get there? It might have been hung there when the tree was young or hidden there to protect it from raids. It is now kept in the local church and can be seen today.

Where but in Ireland are people surprised when something is proven NOT to caused by fairy folk?

You can read about an Irishwoman's visit where she saw the bell, and rang it even, on this blog.