Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Residency 2, Day 20: 'I think I was interested in literally everything.' - Karl Johan Åström

So, what is happening here on top of Carrauntoohil?
This was the first time I have been at the summit since my teenage years. It required a good six hours of effort to get there and back down. Supreme walkers (and scramblers) Gerard and Mary, acted as guides and Shane and Cian made excellent company on the return, as we descended through the, 'em, Heavenly Gates. Cian (aged ten) pointed out that the title for this route had ominous connotations. In fact his father Shane had witnessed a death there years before. An alternative reading is that we were coming back to the land of the living from a sublime world above, and it certainly felt like that. Heaven, hell, the devil etc. feature a lot in the namings of features of such dramatic landscapes...

I have heard different interpretations of the Irish, Corrán Tuathail. Though literally the translation is Northwest Crescent, and the crescent shape of the mountain in relation to the valley below fits with such a description, yesterday it was suggested by Mary who teaches in a Gaelscoil, that there are associations with leftness, in the sometimes derogatory way that anything to do with 'left' indicated peculiarity in the past. Other sources state that the name means Tuathal's Sickle, Tuathal having been 'the legitimate' son of some apparent king in the first century BC. I have never liked the way feudal terms like king and queen are imposed lazily on pre-feudal, clan or tribal societies, when father-right was barely a thing, and impressive forms of 'primitive' democracy still lingered. 

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