The Magic of Mottee Stone

Viewing the area around The Wicklow Mountains from the perspective of The Mottee Stone, as presented by Nigel Walshe on, I was taken by how varied the landscape was. Barren and gravelly in parts, green and lush like a valley, and with sparse forested areas. Perhaps the unpredictability and varied nature of the land is what has interested so many artists, authors, and creators of folklore. The surprising amount of colors in the landscape also struck me: reds, browns, mustard yellows, varied greens, and purples and blues from the distant hills and clouds really gave me the feeling that I was in a special place. Apparently others too perceived its specialness and mythic overtones, as abbots and saints are reputed to have made their homes around this area according to Siobhan Kilfeather in Dublin (16).

As I turned and saw The Mottee Stone, an out of place massive piece of granite, I was reminded of the skepticism that exists around Stonehenge in England. Despite the logical side of me knowing that geologic time is responsible as per Kilfeather who writes that the mountains have experienced severe glaciation (Dublin 16). The stream of light descending from the clouds in the distance and the general mythic feel of the landscape allowed me to imagine for a second an ancient giant had placed it there.

From the view at Mottee Stone, I gained the perspective that Ireland’s landscape lended itself so well to the vast amounts of mythic beings and creatures present in its folklore. The random beam of light descending on the far off valley conjures up images of a pot of gold or some other treasure in the distance. One cannot help but see all the brush and bushes of natural wild flowers, and imagine fairies or other small creatures living under them.

The natural lines and borders one can see in the distance formed by trees and bush, reminded me of the line in Eavan Boland’s poem That The Science of Cartography is Limited when she writes “the line which says woodland and cries hunger/ and gives out among sweet pine and cypress,/ and finds no horizon/ will not be there”. From standing at Mottee Stone, I really understood the limits of cartography Boland was describing. One has to physically see and be in Ireland I believe, to fully grasp its history that is transmuted through the land itself. In the way the physical famine roads relay a tragic history, odd formations like The Mottee Stone and beams of light descending from ever present clouds, convey its ancient folkloric roots.

1 Comment

  1. I really love how you described the landscape lending itself to mythological beings and creatures, it immediately gives more life and possibility. It reminds me of how sometimes we forget how small we are compared to everything else in the world, and once we allow ourselves to imagine what other creatures may be with us it opens a door for endless stories and creations.

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