012 Kinsale Walks and Ghost Tour with Barry Moloney

Welcome to Episode 12 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast. In this episode, we’ll be talking about Kinsale Walks and the oldest Ghost Tour in Ireland. Our guest will be Barry Moloney, a tour guide with Kinsale Historic Strolls. He’ll tell about how Kinsale is a draw for artists and storytellers and a little bit about Kinsale history. We’ll also review the Kinsale Ghost Tour, a part of Kinsale performing events. 


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#012 Artists and Storytellers in Kinsale with Barry Moloney
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guests – Barry Moloney – Don & Barry’s Kinsale Historic Strolls
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Kinsale Walks and Ghost Tour – County Cork

Kinsale – County Cork – off the coast of southern Ireland

Kinsale isn’t a thin place… sometimes you need to relax and rejuvenate and have fun. Most lovers of thin places and liminal spaces also love history and stories of local people – heroes, villains – and Kinsale is very rich in history that impacted the evolvement of society in the western world with the famous “Battle of Kinsale.”
Kinsale has two historic forts, Charles and James Forts. And so many other bits of interesting history.

Kinsale is of my favorite towns for relaxing. I love the vibe. The town is clean, vibrant It’s an art and foodie town. The people are friendly. It’s totally walkable and everywhere you look is color and light.

When you go to Kinsale a good way to get your bearings is to go on a tour guided by Don or Barry – on Don and Barry’s Historic Strolls. I was lucky enough to get an interview with Barry when I was in Kinsale recently.

Guest Interview with Barry Moloney

Barry Moloney - Kinsale Tour guide
Barry Moloney – Kinsale Tour Guide

Don & Barry’s Kinsale Historic Strolls

Kinsale website

Don and Barry’s Historic Stroll in Kinsale offers a walking tour full of history and interesting information about this seaside town in County Cork.

Full interview with Barry Moloney.

Kinsale Ghost Tour and other Mystical Things in Kinsale

Kinsale Ghost Tour

Tap Tavern in Kinsale with Proprietor, Brian O'Neill
Tap Tavern in Kinsale with Proprietor, Brian O’Neill

There are a few consistently operated ghost tours in Ireland. Being the owner of a ghost tour company here in the states, I always like to see what other companies and groups do when crafting and putting on a ghost tour. I’ve been on the ghost tour in Belfast and the Ghost Bus in Dublin. Both were great experiences through very different.

Kinsale has an interesting ghost tour. The term Ghost tour is so subjective. It can have multiple definitions in people’s minds. People can perceive ghost tours as anything from paranormal investigations to history walks to people dressed in character leading a theatrical performance.

Kinsale ghost tour is that kind of ghost tour – a performance and it’s quite comedic. Two actors, Brian O’Neill and Don Herlihy dress in character and lead their group of guests around the historic Kinsale town center and recount stories of ghosts and historical figures in way that keeps the guests’ attention and keeps guests laughing. This performance is so well done. And there are some elements of surprise.

The tour starts at Kinsale’s oldest tavern – the Tap Tavern, which has been owned by Brian O’Neill’s family since 1886. His mother, Mary O’Neill still owns it today and she and Brian manage the operations. Mary is often there when guests gather for the ghost tour. I had the pleasure of meeting her while I waited to speak to Brian.

The tour takes about 90 minutes. It covers all the interesting parts of the town and it is very entertaining. An evening well spent.

Don’t miss it if you’re in Kinsale.

Kinsale Craft and Food Market

Takes place every Wednesday 9am to 2pm (year round)

Gary Snelling - Unicorn Wand Carver - County Cork
Gary Snelling – Unicorn Wand Carver – County Cork

Gary Snelling – artist Unicorn Wands and Bog Wood Sculptures
made in West Cork, Ireland

Stone Mad Gallery   fairy store (new-agey)

Kinsale Galleries

Kinsale Crafts

Kinsale Good Food Circle  

Ardmore – Great Height – County Waterford

Ardmore Church and Round Tower
Ardmore Church and Round Tower

Ard Mohr means Great Height

Ardmore: Great Height – blog post by Mindie Burgoyne

 Ardmore is a seaside resort and fishing village in County Waterford. It’s near Youghal in the south of Ireland – not too far from Kinsale or Cork City.

Ardmore is a thin place. I guess I sense the thinness of a place on the approach. Maybe there’s something about the round tower, maybe something about the old ruins. But as you climb the hill to the old monastic ruins you get a jolt of something when the round tower comes into view. It’s a seaside town with a beautiful beach and sheltered bay. It’s a resort town for tourists with stunning views of the bay and a cliff walk above the town.

There are also ecclesiastical ruins in Ardmore are associated with St. Declan, a 5th-century saint who established this monastic community here on a hill at Ardmore… in fact the name Ard Mor – means “Great Height.”

The devotional stops in Ardmore are traveled by pilgrims and associated with St. Declan. They include the ecclesiastical ruins up on the hill, a holy well, and a large stone on the beach.

According to one of the Lives written about him, St. Declan was born in this region and later went to Rome and became a bishop. He left Rome and returned to County Waterford – – to Ardmore with plans to build a monastery. However, he left without his bell. A bishop’s bell was similar to his crozier. A symbol of his authority. But because Declan was so special and so blessed, the angels set his bell afloat on a stone that traveled all the way across the sea to Ardmore. It still sits on the beach. It’s a large stone sitting atop two smaller ones and the stone is said to have curative powers for those who crawl under it.

That would be a task.

But these old legends were begun in a different and told to people who have a different perspective. Thinking patterns were very abstract. The meaning of the story was rooted in the understanding that an object could connect people in this world to the powers and graces of the eternal world.

Maybe that connection brought healing. Maybe it brought wisdom. But being close to these sacred monuments elevates our awareness and spiritual vibration. I’ve stood by that stone and thought about the stories and all the pilgrims who have stood in the same place. I’ve even found one small stone in the shape of a heart on that rocky beach around St. Declan’s stone that I brought home with me. Holding it in my hand 3000 miles away from Ardmore can take me back there in my mind. There is value in these thin places.

From the stone on the beach, the pilgrims travel up the main road where there is access to a path that turns into a gorgeous cliff walk. On the path is St. Declan’s Holy well. It is a beautiful spot. The well has clean water (also said to have curative powers) and a little shrine has been built around it with stone. It has an opening for the well and then three stone crosses atop. Actually, that’s only two now. The crosses were said to represent Calvary. One cross on the left for the unrepentant thief, a high cross in the middle to represent Jesus and a cross on the right to represent the repentant thief. Sadly, the cross representing the unrepentant thief has vanished. The locals say it was stolen. … which is ironic.

Farther past the well is a pathway that winds along the cliffs with spectacular views of the bay and ocean.

Then atop the hill behind the village are the remains of an old monastery. The buildings date back to the eighth century and were placed atop the site where Declan had his monastery in the 5th century. Those building – likely made of wood are long gone.

The oldest of the ruins is St. Declan’s oratory which is said to have been erected overtop the remains of the saint. There is also a 12th century round tower which is in beautiful shape. It’s about 100 feet high, which is typical for round towers. Human remains were found facing east below the Ardmore’s round tower, which indicates that it was built over graves in a graveyard. There’s a sorrowful tale associated with the round tower. It was a refuge for Irish being pursued by English forces. About 20 of them were holed up in the tower on various floors. They surrendered and were all hanged.

There’s also a roofless 13th-century church ruin with a giant 8th century carving from an earlier church attached to the gable wall. The carving nearly spans the width of the gable wall and the designs are similar to what you see on high crosses. There’s an image of Adam and Eve, Gift of the Magi and of the Judgement of Solomon. These were likely used for teaching the local people about the faith.

I stood in front of the Gable wall and pointed out the carving to my tour group and they like most visitors, thought the carvings were beautiful. But when I told the story of the Judgement of Solomon to the group in front of the carving, there was a moment of transformation.

I said … “You remember the story. Two women claim to be mother to the same baby and they go to King Solomon to get him to resolve the matter. King Solomon said, since you two can’t agree, I will cut the baby in half and give each of you a share. He called for his swordsman to do the deed and one of the women cried out, ‘No. Don’t. The child is not mine.’ And pointing to the other woman said, ‘She is the real mother.’ Solomon in his wisdom knew that this woman who was speaking had to be the baby’s rightful mother because only a mother’s love would be so unselfish as to sacrifice her own her own happiness and endure almost unbearable sorrow in order to save her child.

So, Solomon made his judgment and gave the child to the woman who cried out.

At the end of the story, the etched images in the gable wall seemed to have so much more depth, meaning. There’s something about marrying the spoken word of a sacred story to a physical image that represents the story. Something greater than the sum of those two elements grows. It becomes an experience. One of the guests said she imagined the artist, what he was thinking as he carved those images so long ago – – and she wondered if he ever imagined people would be admiring his work ten centuries after he carved it. It was such a powerful moment for all of us.

Inside the church ruins in a little niche is a very well-preserved ogham stone. This is a tall stone with old Irish writing that consists of etch marks along the sides. These were often personal inscriptions… the name of the person etching the stone – a mark of memory to leave behind.

Ardmore may not be one of the top sights that pilgrims seek out, but it’s every bit as powerful as the other sacred sites.



Carrowkeel and Sligo Thin Places – with Martin Byrne

Welcome to Episode 11 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast. In this episode, we’ll be talking to the sacred Ireland expert, tour guide, and musician, Martin Byrne from County Sligo. Martin will talk about Carrowkeel, the megalithic passage tomb complex in south Sligo and several other major thin places in Sligo that are a part of a chain of thin places that stretch straight across Ireland from eastern border to the west. 

Martin Byrne plays his banjo at Drumcliffe
Martin Byrne plays his banjo at Drumcliffe


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#011 Carrowkeel and Sligo Thin Places with Martin Byrne
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guest – Martin Byrne – Historian, Tour Guide and Musician
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Martin Byrne, sacred Ireland expert, tour guide and musician brings us Carrowkeel in South Sligo

Martin Byrne lives in Cliffony in north County Sligo, but he spent many years living at Carrowkeel, close to the shores of Lough Arrow.  Carrowkeel is a 5000-year-old megalithic complex of ancient buildings that served as tombs scattered across the summits of the  Bricklieve Mountains.  This area is in the close company of other megalithic sites that include Kesh Corran also known as the caves of kesh, the Heapstown Cairn, Creevykeel Court Tomb, Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Knocknarea – the sacred mountain with the large cairn on top. 

Continue reading “Carrowkeel and Sligo Thin Places – with Martin Byrne”

010 Awaken the Land with Mary Reynolds

Welcome to Episode 10 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast. In this episode, we’ll be talking to Mary Reynolds, reformed landscape designer and nature activist who wrote the book The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land and Ourselves, and who also is the subject of the movie Dare to be Wild.

Mary Reynolds - Thin Places Travel Podcast

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#010 Awaken the Land – with Mary Reynolds
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guests – Mary Reynolds – Nature Activist, Garden Designer, Author
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Mary Reynolds – Reformed Landscape Designer and Nature Activist from County Wexford

I am so delighted to have Mary Reynolds on the podcast today. Mary is quite an extraordinary person. She’s a garden designer, a philosopher – a writer. She is the youngest woman to win a Gold Medal for garden design at the Chelsea Flower Show – since its inception over 100 years ago.

Mary grew up on a small mixed farm in Wexford, in the south of Ireland. 20 years ago she set up her own company designing gardens in Dublin. A few years later, having lost the will to live from constantly creating modern gardens, she realized that she could no longer continue shaping land in the same way and re-imagined her work to become nature rather than human-centered.
Continue reading “010 Awaken the Land with Mary Reynolds”

009 Mysteries of the Burren – Tony Kirby

Welcome to Episode 009 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast.  Our guest today is Tony Kirby. He is a full-time tour operator offering walking tours through the Burren in West County Clare. He’s been offering these tours for 15 years through his company, Heart of Burren Walks

Tony Kirby offers Heart of Burren Walks

Tony Kirby – Heart of Burren Walks

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#009 Mysteries of the Burren with Tony Kirby
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guests – Tony Kirby –Heart of Burren Walks
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The Burren in County Clare

The Burren in west County Clare is our featured destination in this podcast. Entire books are written about this 200 acres of rocky limestone that borders the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a landscape of myths and legends and sacred ground with archaeological remnants that date back thousands of years. It’s also a landscape of contrasts – the gray rock against the blue sky, mountains and hills that rise out of a seemingly endless flat bedrock. The contrasts are particularly powerful in the spring when the flowers of the Burren come into bloom. Tiny little orchids pop up in between the slabs of limestone Continue reading “009 Mysteries of the Burren – Tony Kirby”

008 Fairy Worlds, Forts, Raths and the Fairy Knowe at Doon Hill

The Fairy Cottage at Doon Hill - the Fairy Knowe - Aberfoyle
The Fairy Cottage at Doon Hill – the Fairy Knowe – Aberfoyle

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#008 Fairy Worlds, Forts, Raths and the Fairy Knowe at Doon Hill
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guests – Carmel Costello – Spiritual Healer and kinesiologist
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The Fairy Realms

Today we’re talking about Fairies. There are many concepts about fairies. My only association with the word fairy was the Tinkerbelle sort in Peter Pan.  Sort of a Fairy Godmother.  The tooth fairy.  A good little angel. Fairies that I heard about growing up were good… and there was never any worry about a fairy causing mischief or harm.
But in the pre-Christian Celtic countries, the concept of fairies was different.  These beings were feared because they could curse you or bring you bad luck. You didn’t mess with the fairies.  You didn’t disturb their domain or their rath. You stayed away from fairy hills or forts. You didn’t cut down the lone hawthorn bush because it might be a fairy tree – a fairy domain. Continue reading “008 Fairy Worlds, Forts, Raths and the Fairy Knowe at Doon Hill”

007 Aran Islands and Places of Resurrection with Dara Molloy

Welcome to Episode 7 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast. In this episode, we’ll travel to the Aran Islands and talk with Celtic priest and druid, Dara Molloy about Places of Resurrection. 

Dara Molloy - Celtic Priest from the Aran Islands
Dara Molloy – Celtic Priest from the Aran Islands

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#007 Aran Islands and Places of Resurrection with Dara Molloy
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guests – Dara Molloy – Celtic Priest and Pilgrimage Guide
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Dara Molloy Talks about Aran Islands
and Places of Resurrection

Highlights from the Dara Molloy interview


The term Places of Resurrection came from the Celtic monks. The Celtic monks, I think they were very creative and imaginative in the way that they understood scripture. And particularly I think they were interested in images and parables and stories and metaphors because that’s the approach to spirituality that the Celtic monks have always taken. It’s not logical. It’s not analytical. They never became theologians. They more became poets.
Continue reading “007 Aran Islands and Places of Resurrection with Dara Molloy”

EP 006 Joanie Madden and the Irish Workhouse Center, Portumna

Welcome to episode 6 of the Thin Places Travel Podcast. Today we have Irish American musician, Joanie Madden from the band, Cherish the Ladies as a guest. And we’ll be featuring the Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna, County Galway as a thin places travel destination.

Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies
Joanie Madden (second from left). Photo courtesy of Cherish the Ladies

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#006  Joanie Madden and the Irish Workhouse Center, Portumna
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guests – Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies
Steve Dolan of the Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna 
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Joanie Madden, Irish American Musician


In our last episode, we talked about a connection to the landscape fueling a person’s creativity and passion artistic outlets. We discussed the concept that where you are can have an effect on artistic productivity. It seems that Ireland is full of artists – performing artists, literary artists, visual artists, musicians. Perhaps there is something in the land that stirs the creative soul.

This week as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we were fortunate to be able to chat with Joanie Madden, one of the founders of the all-woman Irish music band, Cherish the Ladies. The group has been actively performing for 33 years, has been nominated for a Grammy and has recorded and released seventeen albums. Their newest album Heart of the Home has just been released this month and it features several tunes written by Joanie Madden. Continue reading “EP 006 Joanie Madden and the Irish Workhouse Center, Portumna”

EP 005 Thin Places in Dingle with Kevin OShea

Thin Places Travel Podcast - Dingle with Kevin O'Shea

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#005 Dingle with Kevin O’Shea
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guest – Kevin O’Shea of Celtic Nature Walking Tours
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Segment 1

Dingle has all of the elements people want to experience on an Ireland tour – pristine beaches, rolling hills with 40 shades of green, wild landscapes with cliffs and crashing waves, ancient historical monuments, vibrant towns, Irish culture – music, dance the pub culture, off-shore island visits, wonderful interpretive centers, fabulous food, a significant arts culture, mountains, valleys, sacred sites. Dingle has them all. It’s a worthwhile place to spend several days.  Continue reading “EP 005 Thin Places in Dingle with Kevin OShea”

EP 004 Burial Grounds, Death and the Ancients

Thin Places Podcast -ep004 - Burial Grounds, Death and the Ancients

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#004 Burial Grounds, Death and the Ancients
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guest – Michael Moylan, Archaeologist and tour guide for Michael Gibbons Archaeological Tours
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Segment 1- Mindie –

Death is the ultimate connection to the landscape.

Experiencing Death and birth.   Both are beginnings and ends of life cycles

It seems the ancient people of Western Europe may have articulated this concept in their passage tombs. Sometimes they resemble a womb with the earth as the mother.

Thin places are places where we mark beginning and ends. These are sacred times. Fitting to be remembered and memorialized in sacred spaces.

In this next segment, Archaeologist Michael Moylan takes us to a burial ground in Connemara long forgotten. He uncovers a few graves and talks a little about the burial process in that region. Continue reading “EP 004 Burial Grounds, Death and the Ancients”

EP 003 – Rathcroghan and the People of the Mounds

Rathcroghan - County Roscommon Ireland

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#003 Rathcroghan and the People of the Mounds
Host – Mindie Burgoyne
Guest – Mike Croghan
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Mindie on Rathcroghan

Rathcroghan is a complex of 240 archaeological sites that includes 60 national monuments that are spread out in a tract of land that is about 4 square miles. The sites range from Neolithic (5-7000 BC) to Medieval periods 5th 15th centuries).  On the site, there are burial mounds, ring forts, enclosures, linear earthworks (roads / trails) and very special cave.

Rathcroghan is located near the village of Tulsk in County Roscommon.  Its known to be a royal site the ancient capital of the province of Connaught.

We talked a little bit about royal sites in the last podcast. These would have been sites of ritual and gathering. sites of massive deposits of human emotion and energy. That human energy connected to the natural elemental energy of the land becomes something greater than the sum of its parts. Continue reading “EP 003 – Rathcroghan and the People of the Mounds”