Excerpts

There have been those through the ages who have believed beyond belief, that that place once called Atlantis, was actually a part of Ireland. It was the seat of all learning, of all things beautiful, all things sacred, and all things just and peaceful. It was where the ancestors of those we call the Druids came from.

Atlantis was located on the western side of Ireland, a place we have come to call Hy- Brasil (“Hy” meaning island and “Brasil” or “Brearsal” meaning mighty and beautiful). It has also been called O’Brasail and Beg Ara. Hy- Brasil was named after the King of Ireland, Bressa. It was a land of plenty; a land whose agriculture surpassed any other in the world and was truly where the Irish “greenest of greens” must have originated from. Food, cattle, deer, and sheep were in abundance. It was known to be home to a wealthy and opulent citizenry, a highly advanced civilization, a place with gold-roofed domes and towers, and incredibly healthy cattle.

Hy-Brasil, referred to sometimes now, as Dogger Bank, is located to the west and northwest from a junction with the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Mohir in County Clare. The area surrounding it is a central plain open to the sea and fringed by mountains.

In Ireland, particularly around the Aran Islands, the fishermen work in torrential waters and are gone for long periods of time. The seals always help keep them on course during the storms, so the fishermen count on them a great deal.

If, by chance, a fisherman catches a female seal and brings it back to shore, its coat will fall off and an incredibly beautiful woman will emerge. She is bound to him as long as he has the coat, which has to be hidden. This changling is called a selkie.

A selkie can never live far from the ocean because the call of the sea is so strong. This woman is a quiet, wee thing, speaking very seldom, but sings a wordless, melodic song that sounds like the wind blowing across the waves. She’s the best wife and mother one could imagine, yet she always longs for the sea. She does as much work as she can outside and loves walking on the beach during storms, her face rapturous as her hair whips in the wind and raindrops fly all around her. If, by chance, she finds the coat, the pull is so strong that she will put it on, transform, and go back to the sea. She will, however, always be faithful to her man and make sure he’s always protected from the storms.

Maire Rua was considered to be an Irish warrioress. She had loved and lost many times and become hardened to that. She was called Maire Rua (Red Mary) because of her long, beautiful red hair. She had married for love after being widowed at a young age, and made a good match with Conor O’Brien. She brought into this marriage, lands and a castle which she had inherited upon the death of her first husband. The castle was known as Castle Leamaneh and was located in County Clare. Through their marriage, she bore a son, Donat.

She and Conor were good stewards and fiercely protective of the land they so loved. In the Celtic tradition, Maire would ride into battle against English settlers alongside her husband, flaming red hair blowing behind her. Amazingly, the stallion she always rode was completely blind, but always knew where to go and how to protect his mistress from harm. She was very feared and respected for her mastery of warring techniques.

Thus, it was, that the one time she didn’t ride by his side, Conor was mortally wounded during a raid on a Cromwellian encampment. When his servants brought him home, in her grief, Maire at first wouldn’t allow him through the gates, wailing, “Of what use is a dead husband to me?” However, realizing he was still alive, she let them in and nursed him until his death a few hours later.

Feeling that there was no time to grieve as she was a pragmatic sort, she realized that, on his death, she could lose both home and lands as Conor had died fighting the English. She then formed a plan and rode into town, where the Cromwellian forces were encamped. She offered herself to any officer who would marry her. In so doing, she could secure her holdings for herself and her child. Many had heard of her and backed away. However, one young cornet by the name of John Cooper was so taken by her beauty, that he agreed.

Maire Rua had a foul temper and one that was quick to ignite. A few years into their marriage, John had risen from their bed and while standing at the window, had made a snappy remark about Conor. Maire was said to have jumped out of bed and kicked him in the stomach, while exclaiming that he would never again soil the name of her one true love. John immediately collapsed into a coma, dying some two weeks later of internal bleeding. Maire Rua was arrested, indicted for his murder, but later acquitted.