Druid Clan of Dana - The Roots
Olivia Robertson standing in the gardens of Clonegal Castle.
Roots of the Druid Clan of Dana
By Olivia Robertson
The Druid Clan of Dana sprang from actual experiences of my brother Lawrence and myself during our summers at Clonegal Castle. The local clerics warned our parents of the dangers their children might be facing from our strange friendship with an aged hermit living by the Slaney River. How we discovered him I cannot remember, but he brought us the world of the miraculous! The ancient site in which he dwelt is now overgrown and only trespassed upon by the odd angler who hardly would annoy faeries. The Faery Seat and Bees Rock still stand firm amidst the swirling waters of the River of Healing - in Irish - Sláinte. On the left bank when we children went upstream was Mr. Fox’s cottage - two fields from an ancient Neolithic site.
It was Mr. Fox who introduced me to the magic of the Sidhe - faery folk - while my two younger brothers, Lawrence and Esmonde, were out shooting rabbits. I was aged from ten to thirteen, during my wonderful times with Mr. Fox, over his fire. He was very hospitable and always gave us tea. I enjoyed stories about faeries, but it was with some difficulty that I could persuade him to tell me about them. They lived thousands of years ago, he told me, and had used the land outside his cottage as their Holy Place.
Mr. Fox would take to drink from the ancient well, which he said those far-off people would use before their ceremony, when they awoke at dawn. Their rite consisted of honoring the sun as it rose every morning. …
So Mr. Fox would take me through those ancient rites as on a pilgrimage. After drinking from the well we would climb down the winding rough path, through grose and bracken to the riverbanks. We passed the mighty rock marked with natural mica in the form of a huge cross. Reaching the river’s edge, facing the Faery Seat, he would point out where the people bathed…Then we would turn round and visit the altar. And he would describe the old woman who used to keep it moss-free thousands of years in the past. For to Mr. Fox, past and present merged in a way that transcended change and death. I am glad to say he did “come through” to me in a Spiritualist meeting about forty years later. He is the Merlin of our Clan.
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