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Posts tagged ‘writing’

Shamrocks and Shells – Do you have a Camino story to tell?

I have mentioned before that I edit a digital magazine for Camino Society Ireland, Shamrocks and Shells. It gives me great joy giving back to the Camino and it keeps me out trouble! It is published every quarter and the whole aim is to showcase the Society’s events throughout that quarter. We also look to publish pilgrim experiences, book and film reviews and practical information. Anything that a future pilgrim might find useful.

At present, we have the start of growing list of pilgrim stories dating back to 2018 but we are always looking for more. Every pilgrim has a story to tell, no matter where you have walked. If you do plan on writing, your submission will not be published on this blog but on Shamrocks and Shells. If interested, you might send me an email here. Looking forward to hearing from you and Buen Camino!

Two months to Lisbon..or is it?

First of all, if you like what you see here, I’d really appreciate it if you subscribe to receive my latest posts to your email address. Thanks! 🙂

I hope you are all having a good weekend, wherever you are reading this. The weather is good here in Dublin and I have been out and about. There is a festival atmosphere here in Donabate for the 2nd time in two weeks so it’s all good.

I have yet to finish writing about my recent Camino but the good news is, it is just three days from Santiago to Finisterre. For some reason, I find it harder to write, the longer I leave it. (Tip: Use a Journal). Ever since I got back in May, I have been counting down to this 2nd jaunt from Lisbon. Now I consider myself lucky getting away twice in one year but I can’t see it happening in 2020.

I have also been vicariously following a number of pilgrims as they walk the Camino del Norte (OT Camino, ben_camino and Nadine from nadine_walks). The Camino Norte is one route I know very little about but following their respective journeys makes me want to walk this route. And I will. The Camino Frances has been a big part of my life to date and it is only now I am looking to other routes. So I have added the Norte to the list! I have a walk from Lisbon to take on first.

So, let’s talk about Lisbon. While I am not 100% sure I am going yet, I can’t rule it out until I visit the podiatrist on August 2nd. At the moment, the toenail hasn’t been causing me any grief but I would rather have it removed just in case. Whether 4 weeks of recovery is sufficient, I guess I will find out. I will update you all on August 2nd.

In other news, St James’s Day is approaching! July 25th is a big day for pilgrims and many associations have events organised to celebrate the day. If you are in Santiago on the 25th, you will be treated to a firework display but it is always super-busy around that time. What will you be doing to celebrate the day?

Credit: hikingdan.com

I have a few more Clearskies Camino patches available for sale on Etsy. The link is on the front page also. Not only will it look amazing on your backpack but you will be supporting this site and what I do! Thank you to everyone who has bought one so far!!

Trailhead – City of the Saint

Trailhead or Tobias Panwitz is a singer-songwriter from Germany. He has recorded three albums and has toured throughout Germany, Europe, and Canada. One of his more recent collection of songs, Keep Walking, was born out of walking in Spain. Tracks 4, 5 and the title track are favorites of mine.

A number of months ago, Tobias decided to create a music video for “City of the Saint”. A plea was sent to all his followers on social media asking that they send a photograph of themselves on the way to Santiago. And the response was amazing. What do you guys think? I have listened to it so many times.

You can learn more about Tobias / Trailhead at the below links:

Clearskies Camino.net

First of all, I want to wish you all a Happy Easter. I hope you have enjoyed the last few days. Being 2 weeks away from a Camino is exciting, and there will be posts on that soon. However, I have other news to announce.

As you know I have been secretly planning ahead and creating short term goals for myself. In the middle of these goals is the Clearskies Camino name. During the Easter period, I have brought my laptop home with me to my parents’ house, I have avoided the chocolates (I have been good!), drank copious cups of tea and got to work on creating this up-to-date blog, website, personal web space, a place where I can write, potential home. But I have so much more than that. I am discovering something new every day..so this is quite an adventure for me. And I am sure others in my shoes will say the same.
With regard to the name, I was unable to take ClearskiesCamino.com with me as WordPress.com own it but my hope is that I will purchase it once it becomes available again.

Over the last number of days, I have been busily crossing fingers hoping that my content would transfer but after numerous attempts, I have decided with plan b – copy and paste. The menu at the top of the page will link to my previous Caminos, Camino planning links and preparation tips. Over the weeks, these will be added. And here is what is to come:

  • an ebook following my Celtic Camino
  • the sale of a Clearskies Camino patch for those interested, more information later
  • More links
  • YouTube videos

So I hope you like what you see. If anything is not working or if anything is out of place, drop me a line here
I hope you, fellow subscriber, are able to read this. If you are, you might let me know.

The future’s bright, the future’s clear…

So..the future..that space in front of us that no one can predict. Unless you can read people’s minds, that is. I can’t anyway and I don’t plan on starting!

The last few weeks I have been asking myself in what direction do I want to take ClearskiesCamino, if any. I have been plugging away, doing the same thing here since I started walking the Camino many years ago. I just want to take an extra step up the ladder.

So, I have set myself a number of well achievable goals for the next 6 to 9 months in order to make that next step. I’m a little excited to say the least but excitement is good. I’m not quite sure how it’s going to pan out but I’ll take each day as it comes.

1. Self hosted website – I have reached the end of the line with wordpress.com and I’ve done as much as I can with the resources they offer. The last 7 years have been great but now is the time to push on and locate a site to host my blog and take it from there. I have located a hosting site and it’s just a case of transfering the site across. Many thanks for all the tips I have received regarding this. I will get to keep the ClearskiesCamino name too. I hope to make the switch when my current plan expires in October.

2. I have two Caminos planned for 2019 – the Camino Ingles / Camino Finisterre in May and Camino Portuguese from Lisbon in September. Rather than posting from this blog, I will write my stories in the form of an ebook and publish them free. It’s another avenue I want to go down. And if that doesn’t work, I will keep plugging away at what I am good at. Of course I will continue to post snippets on Facebook and pictures on Instagram. I just want to promote my writing a bit more.

Anyway that’s the plan. Plans sometimes change, my hope is these work out. I will let you know how things go.

Arrows lead the way

6 Things I Did in 2018


6 Things I Did in 2018

Another year has passed. So much has happened in the past 12 months involving the Camino. It’s nice to have the last few weeks free to reflect on the past and think of the future. I’ve decided to do another post where I look back on 2018. 

  1. The end of the year saw the first ever Camino Society Ireland Photo Contest on the 16th of December 2017 at St. James Church in Dublin. A photo I took near Ledigos was included in that exhibition and also in an exhibition in the Cervantes Institute in Lincoln Place. I wrote about the first exhibition here and the second exhibition in March here. These same photos have travelled from Ireland to Spain and back again and are currently situated in the Information Centre in St. James Street. 
  2. Another way of being a pilgrim on the Camino is to Volunteer. I gladly “give back” to the Camino through Camino Society Ireland. As well as giving information in the centre in St. James Street in Dublin, I edit their quarterly newsletter “Shamrocks And Shells” and help with social media. The newsletter is now a little over a year old and 4 issues have been produced, with over 20 thousand views. Something I am quite proud of.
  3. The first Celtic Camino Festival in Westport was a success. I was there from the 13th to the 15th of April 2018 and it was marked with talks, a showing of the Camino Voyage, and a Celtic Camino walk. I wrote an article here.
  4. December 28th will mark my 1st year in Donabate. A great little town but with so much work planned for the future, I’m not sure if I am to call this home just yet. Over 700 homes have been approved, but without the right facilities and infrastructure, it will be chaos going to and from work. The Northern Commuter train line is fine but there are no bus services. 
  5. I walked the Camino Portuguese with my brother from A Guarda in May. We walked into Santiago in the rain. I loved every second of it.
  6. Immediately on returning, I booked flights to return to the Camino Frances. I walked from Puente la Reina to Burgos in September.
6 Photo Memories of 2018
June pointing the way to the heart on the way to Ledigos. June was one of the many amazing peregrinos I met in September 2017. This photo was chosen for the exhibition.
Starting out at A Guarda in May. The waves were rough that morning.
At Susi’s (@conchasdelcamino) stall before Arcade on the Portuguese Camino. A gem of a woman
Back on the Frances – a look of guilt! 
With Carsten – a Camino brother – walking to Santo Domingo on a very hot day
Reaching a goal – Burgos Cathedral

A List of What You Want to Change in the New Year

There are many things in my life I am happy with. I’m loving life in my new home, I have many good friends but I would be lying if I said I am 100% happy with my lot. I’m not. There are a few areas I want to better myself in and there is no time like the New Year to start. So here’s my list for 2018:

  • Focus on my blog. My blog has been slipping. I just need to allocate my time more evenly. I have upgraded the blog in the last few weeks so there is no excuse now for more content. With planned Caminos in May and September, I will hope to upload videos from my time in Spain.
  • Think of ways to walk a full 30+ day Camino, whilst still managing to pay a mortgage. 
  • Plan a trip to Canada to visit peregrino friends (for 2019 or beyond).
  • Improve my writing, maybe find a writing skills course.
  • Make more of an effort to meet new people and be more social.
  • Dig out my guitar again: it has been so long since I played a tune. I guess confidence comes into it. 
Your Resolutions?

And there we have it. Another summary of my year. How was your 2018?

I Have Walked 500 Miles…by Terry McHugh

One of the first books on the Camino I read was written by a man from the North of Ireland called Terry McHugh. I didn’t know him at the time but over the years, our love for the Camino has made us friends. His book “Walk With The Sun Till Ur Shadow Disappears”, a bestseller on Amazon, is part-guide, part journal, and tells the story of one man’s struggle to get to Santiago.  You can buy his book here.

The follow up to “Walk With The Sun Till Ur Shadow Disappears” is called “I have Walked 500 Miles” and is due to be published shortly. Click on the link below to get a little bit of information about it. Hopefully, the second book will be as successful as the first. 

 

 

Writing Elsewhere….and a piece of Camino History.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have been involved with Camino Society Ireland since April last. Until recently, I had been helping out in their information centre on St. James’s Street, on one Saturday per month. It is also open on Thursday and Friday! So I still do that and the centre re-opens for the new season at the start of March. I’m looking forward to getting back into the action again.

I’ve also lent my hand, so to speak, to writing articles for their website and I edit their quarterly ezine entitled Shamrocks and Shells for members. Much of my writing has been directly with the Camino Society rather than here, and that’s fine by me. If you want to get a taste of what I write about, why not drop over to their website on:

www.caminosociety.com/newsandevents

The last few months have been a hive of activity for the Camino Society. We have had a very successful photography contest, two very interesting events and a newly launched ezine. There is the first information day on February 17th in Dublin and the much anticipated Celtic Camino Festival in Westport, Co. Mayo in April (details on the website).

The Dublin Camino

One of the events that I have mentioned, and I have written about, that struck a chord for me was a talk given by Historian in Residence at Dublin City Council, Cathy Scuffil. The talk was about St. James, the Camino and the Dublin Connection. I’m going to post below what is on the Camino Society website.

To learn about this connection, we were told that we need to focus on one part of Dublin – from St. James’s Street to Trinity College. Not only is this part of Dublin popular for tourists, but if you look closely enough, you will see plenty of evidence of the Camino within this short distance. We were told that this route was taken by pilgrims as they assembled at St. James’s Gate, walked through the city, before embarking on their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Lazar’s Hill – St James’s Hospital

800 years ago, Henry de Loundres, Archbishop of Dublin, founded the Hospital of Saint James, a hostel for pilgrims and the poor of Dublin, on present day Townsend Street, then known as Lazar’s Hill or Lazy Hill. It stood roughly where Hawkins House stands today, right beside the All Hallows Monastery, which later became Trinity College.

In medieval times, pilgrim ships destined for Santiago apparently docked alongside this Hospital, then sailed directly to the coast of Galicia, at Ferrol or A Coruña, from where the pilgrims made their way to Santiago overland. By the mid-13th century, some of these ships were carrying people with leprosy who were desperate for a miraculous cure.

A rather more downtrodden colony is said to have existed in what is today, Misery Hill. Sufferers lived in these monastic-type establishments not simply for the good of their health, but also as a form of perpetual quarantine. The only acceptable way to check out of the hospice was to perish. Another word for these quarantine stations was ‘Lazaretto’ (linked to Saint Lazarus) and it is from this that Townsend Street took its former name of Lazar Hill, sometimes shortened to ‘Lazy Hill’.

The scallop shell and water

The two things you associate with St James are the scallop shell and water, so even in the current tradition, those two things are replicated in ways that seem to commemorate the pilgrim.

For example, have you seen the street fountain on Lord Edward Street? It was installed in the 19th century and if you look closely, you will see the scallop shell motif at the top. Another example of something similar – the two holy water founts at the front of St Audoen’s Church on High Street. Both founts are large shell-like features and were brought back from South America in the 19th century.

Other examples include

– A baptismal font in St Audoen’s Church of Ireland church which contains the scallop shell on each side of its font.

– The Tailor’s Hall, Merchant Quay – Its fireplace contains no ornamentation except for a single shell.

– Hawkins House, Poolbeg Street – The Department for Health is located on the exact spot where the original St. James’s Hospital was located.

– The Fountain at James’s Street – It was a custom that funeral processions passing the fountain would circle it three times before carrying on to the cemetery at St James’s Church where Pearse Lyons Distillery is now. There are also two scallop shells on the Fountain, but we are not sure if the water is for drinking!

– St. James’s Gate – Perhaps, for many people, visiting St. James’s Gate is like a pilgrimage. With over 1.7 million people visiting in 2017, it is a great attraction and adds to the area.

– Pearse Lyons Distillery – The newest visitors’ attraction in the area which was the original Church of St. James.

– St. James’s Hospital – The Hospital’s logo contains a scallop shell.

These are all areas along our route that have an image of the scallop shell included.

Cathy has requested that if anyone sees an image of a scallop shell, whether it be on the end of a church pew, on an altar, in the Dublin area, particularly in the Liberties area, could you please contact her. You can contact Cathy on Twitter @DubHistorians or by email commemorations@dublicity.ie.

 

Another passion of mine…

I’ll let you into a little secret..

lyricsIn another lifetime..well, not too long ago, I used to enjoy putting one word after the other to create sentences. From the age of 12 right up to my mid-20’s, I got great enjoyment out of writing and playing guitar on a regular basis. It was a pretty fun thing to do and I was even in a band at one stage. Sure, every 20-something was! It was a rite of passage in life.

However, in time, life got in the way and writing reports and reaching deadlines replaced this little obsession of mine. I have still listened to music all along, but my two guitars are now gathering dust in the corner of my room and my collection of songs are in a box alongside them. I haven’t looked at them in years.

But tonight something happened that hasn’t happened in quite a while. I put pen to paper and wrote eight lines. It’s not much, but it could be the spark. My inspiration? The Camino, walking and its memories.

I’ll probably forget about it tomorrow and leave these few lines lying where they are but this whole thing surprised me. Will I kick on from here? I’d love to. If I can write a part of a song without music I’d be pretty happy. It’s all about being creative I suppose and this is a great way. I had also thought about buying a ukelele before Christmas as it is so easy to learn (plus they only have 4 strings).