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Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Stones Become Alive!, 26 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Spirit of the Burren: Exploring a Unique Irish Landscape Through the Five Elements (Paperback)
Gabriel Rosenstock, Irish prolific writer [[ASIN:1443833789 Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing]:

In Irish, 'Boireann' means a stony place, a craggy place and in this wise, insightful and exhilerating book, the stones of the ancient Burren become alive!

John Billingsworth Northern Earth, Hebden Bridge Yorkshire:
I both enjoyed and felt a resonance with this esoterically impressionistic description of the remarkable limestone landscape of the Burren, in Ireland. On that level it sits on the shelf alongside AE and Yeats, but with a modern twist of William Buehler's Reshel system, earth grids and landscape geometry; and Queally's deep appreciation of the place through the cycle of the elements is reminiscent of the attunement that may also come through the applied phenomenology of terrestrial zodiacs (a concept whose day is not yet done if we accept that empirical is not the final arbiter)/
There are different responses to place, and the places we are drawn to also offer according to need or some other dynamic, Standard guidebooks can't cope, but this book - though more and better maps would help - speaks to the mystical traveller in West Ireland, and perhaps further.

Peter Snow Author and English teacher Steiner school Edinburgh and author or "A Rosslyn Treasury" and "The Shifty Lad":

Jackie Queally has been exploring the nature of the places where she has lived for some time now. For a while she lived at Roslin, Midlothian, and has not only written two extremely interesting (and highly recommended) books about Rosslyn Chapel, and another about Roslin Glen, the intriguing landscape that lies to the east and south of Rosslyn Chapel. She has also taken many highly appreciative groups to visit both the chapel and, the glen.

In her latest book, she turns her attention to the Burren, a tract of land that stretches from North Clare to South Galway in the west of Ireland. Anyone at all familiar with the west of Ireland will no doubt have experienced the particular magic of the various landscapes that it has to offer, and Jackie chooses to make her `exploration' through an appreciation of the five elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal, finally coming to a synthesis in which all five come together in a chapter called "Spirit of All Elements".

She takes her readers on a journey on which we meet such groups as the mythical early people of Ireland, the Tuatha Dé Danaan; the elemental beings known in Ireland and Scotland as the Sidhe; and the early Celtic Christians known as the Culdees, or Celi Dé.

Throughout the book, she shows a lively and deeply respectful awareness of the life above, in, around and under the ground where she treads.The author is also able to supply small nuggets of little known folklore, as, for instance here:

Jackie Queally has a lively and highly readable style that leads us easily into the world that she creates for us; a world of ferryman writers who tell of forgotten saints and their familiarity with angels. Perhaps such a world seems rather remote from mundane experience, yet the author guides us into it effortlessly, with a highly developed feeling for the energy and elemental energies of place.

I am no expert on the subject of ley lines, but the author is highly sensitized to them, and can not only feel them, even from inside a moving car, but also tell whether they are long established in the nature of the place, or newly created by human activity. This is something that was entirely new to me as a concept, but one that I feel is worthy of further exploration. This book appears to me to be a useful place to start.

Her purpose, however, is more than to give us a guidebook to a beautiful part of the world and its history and geology.
This is a book, then, concerned with love of place, love of nature and a sense of the healing qualities that nature can bestow, when coupled with an awakened awareness of the needs of the time. I recommend it.
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