Official tourism website for Northern Ireland
En

Folkways and Ritual Landscapes

Ebrington Square, Londonderry, County Londonderry, BT47 6FA

Awards

  • Visit BritainWe're Good to Go We're Good to Go 2021

Book Tickets Online

About

Want to know how to keep your livestock healthy?  Learn plant lore? Or bury your leader?  The spirit world has the answers. So, join Martin Bradley on a visit to sites that were sacred in Bronze and Iron Age Ireland; to the tombs and standing stones,  the quaking bogs, the healing wells and other places of powerful magic. 

Fairy trees, for instance. Usually whitethorns, their blossom heralds the arrival of summer.
Were celebrated at the Celtic festival of ‘Bealtaine’ or May Day. These trees were imbued with sacred significance and performed a central role in various rituals. Pilgrims would leave small offerings - a strip of cloth tied to a branch was a typical one - and make a wish. If you see a piece of ribbon on the tree Martin shows you, you’ll know that local people are still putting their faith in these trees.  

You’ll visit sacred wells with Martin too. It was believed that drinking from them would protect you from harm and ill health. Some had the power to bestow wisdom and poetic inspiration. Such beliefs about Northern Ireland’s sacred wells have survived to the present day. They are places where the veil between our world and the otherworld is at its thinnest. You will learn, in fact, that at certain times of the Celtic year, the division between the two worlds disappears...

Martin will also tell you about bog bodies. These are human bodies which have been mummified by the habitats that they have lain in - sometimes for thousands of years. The ecology and chemistry found in Northern Ireland’s peat bogs provide a perfect medium for preservation, in effect pickling  human remains and other organic material for hundreds of generations. 

The preservation of these bodies happened naturally. But the way in which these people met their death was not. Hearing Martin relate their stories - of deliberate injury and ritual human sacrifice -  may make you shiver, even on a hot summer’s day. Bog bodies like these provided Seamus Heaney with the subject for some of his most famous and imaginative poems. Just like this series of landscape experiences, they are sure to exert a powerful force on your own imagination too.
   
 

Folkways and Ritual Landscapes

Map & Directions

What's Nearby

  1. Ebrington, a former military barracks just across the Peace Bridge, with a rich history,…

    0.04 miles away
  2. Since its launch in 2011 the Peace Bridge has become an integral part of the City’s…

    0.17 miles away
  3. Fashioned in neo-gothic style, the Guildhall is one of the most striking buildings in the…

    0.31 miles away
  4. The Tower Museum houses two permanent exhibitions The Story of Derry and An Armada…

    0.36 miles away
  5. The Derry Girls Mural was created by a local not-for-profit company, UV Arts, and is…

    0.36 miles away
  6. Derry~Londonderry is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and is one of…

    0.38 miles away
  7. Shipquay Gate is one of the original four city gates with the present archway dating from…

    0.38 miles away
  8. Located on the banks of the River Foyle along the south side of Ebrington Square, Mute…

    0.45 miles away
  9. Void is a contemporary art space with up to 5 exhibitions per year showing the work of…

    0.47 miles away
  10. Explore the Blue Coat School Visitor Centre and discover the compelling, and often…

    0.49 miles away
  11. Dominating the skyline on all approaches to the city of Londonderry is Saint Columb's…

    0.5 miles away
  12. The new Siege Museum and Exhibition is a permanent display of the history of the Siege of…

    0.52 miles away
  13. The Verbal Arts Centre is an educational charity founded in 1992 and now located in the…

    0.53 miles away
  14. A neo-Gothic church of 1872. built of whinstone with sandstone dressings. Iit is…

    0.54 miles away
  15. The museum is a public space where the concept of Free Derry can be explored in both…

    0.56 miles away
  16. The Archive and Genealogy Service of Derry City Council has responsibility for the…

    0.63 miles away
Previous Next

Virtual Tour

Map & Directions

Back to Top

Tourism Northern Ireland

Don't Miss