On December 9, 2013, The Wild Geese enjoyed a LIVE Community Chat with Maeve O'Connell who owns the property at Jerpoint Park in County Kilkenny. The grave of St. Nicholas (of "St. Nick" or Santa Claus fame) is purported to be buried. You can read the transcript from that excellent chat here.
This chat session was be sponsored by the kind and skilled folks at Nagle Forge & Foundry. As an incredible bonus to the riveting subject matter, every Wild Geese member who joined in on the discussion was automatically entered into a drawing for an incredible handmade piece from Nagle Forge & Foundry (pictured at left).
Says Sarah Nagle about this piece:
"The Irish Celtic Cross is inspired by a pre-Christian Irish design. It is cast and fabricated out of lead-free pewter & set with cabochon cut natural Peridot (a type of natural green gem-stone associated with volcanic activity). Approximately 75mm across, it comes with a detachable nickel pin and can be used as a shoulder brooch (by a drum major in a pipe band), a fastener for a large shawl or cloak or --and this is my favorite way-- the pin can be removed and worn as a necklace. For a woman, something like this looks wonderful worn as a necklace against a solid colored turtle-neck. A beautiful piece of stylized Celtic art, this piece calls out from a time of legends and heroes to our own time."
And the winner of this stunning piece is ... Lisa Fortin Jackson (right). Congratulations to Lisa, and our thanks to Nagle Forge and Foundry in California, U.S.A. for offering this beautiful piece as a gift. Here's more from Sarah Nagle on the symbolism of the high crosses as seen in medieval Ireland:
While the High Crosses of Ireland are Medieval in their pageantry -- covered with Saints and symbols, incised with intricate knotwork -- at heart the Celtic Cross is a simple design that almost certainly predates Christianity by a millennium or more. The original meaning of those early Celtic Crosses has been lost. Is it just a variation of the Lug -- the music loving Celtic sun god -- wheel symbol? Or is it older? An early solstice symbol built into the land itself when Neolithic tribes carted stones across the plains to build the standing circles that still awe us today? The inherent mystery of the circle is always the mystery of what lies in the center ... An element of that mystery was retained thousands of years later when newly Christianized masons carved crosses on the ancient standing stones of their ancestors. The earliest crosses -- some carved long before Patrick’s first mission -- are often very plain, but have perfect geometric proportions. Proportions made all the more perfect by the realization that what is not depicted is as important as what is depicted. Is it the arms of the cross that truly transect the circle? Or is it the spaces in between that hide the meaning? Are the corner stones the anchor of the cross, or simply a frame for the sacred center? That ancient combination of solid mass and sweeping space, meaning and mystery is reflected in the design of this brooch. The cross -- or is it a wheel?-- is massive, almost primitive. The corners are studded with four brightly colored cabochon cut gemstones, but the sacred center is unadorned -- a window to another world. Wreathed with the looping dot and curl patterns that decorate the gold rims of the great Calling Horns of ancient Ireland, this brooch has a tactile appeal.