It began on a chilly day in December. We gathered at the Cork City train station for a pickup.

 

The journey to Drombeg takes about an hour and a half along country roads and through little West Cork Villages. I was with a local group of artists who regularly gather to travel the length and breadth of Ireland, sketching at historical sites and places of interest. Take a look at the page here as new people are always welcome (just as I was!).

The weather was pretty bad but as we rolled up to the field where the Stone circle lay, we still saw a healthy stream of parked cars along the road. Winter Solstice is still respected in Ireland by a lot of people and also gathers a healthy amount of tourists who may be in the country around that time of year.

An ice cold mist of rain blanketed the sky as people huddled together under any available umbrella. It didn't matter which group you came with, on the day everyone got to know each other. Where they came from, what they did, what drove them to come out here on a day like this.

Drombeg Stone Circle itself isn't like those you may see in the UK (such as Stone Henge). This megalithic site is still unblocked and while it gets busy, always seem to have room for more to walk around.

There were druids there performing rituals throughout the day and they were more than happy to talk to others about the meanings of what was done during the solstice. As the sun set a quiet peace surrounded the area, followed by some sharing of food (and maybe a little wine!).

As people went home we moved on to another location.

 

We were welcomed at Creedon's Hotel with open arms. There was hot food, cakes, and mulled wine aplenty waiting for us to tuck in to, as we huddled around the log fire drying off. The level of hospitality was incredible, during the evening the owner's son came out to play the guitar and tin whistle. Everyone had such a great time.

To me this came at a perfect time, it really helped get rid of the Winter blues. All I can do now is recommend groups such as Sceistse. Find groups in your local areas and communities, take the risk of going and you might be happily surprised!