Out of the Darkness

Council Project



This is a personal view of indigenous Irish spirituality by Lar Dooley, taken from the viewpoint of over 50 years of individual exploration of our ancient Irish indigenous culture; putting together the story of what drove them to create so many hilltop cairns which dot the landscape of Sliabh na Caillaigh, also known as Loughcrew in County Meath, Ireland.

With contributions from different artists and photographers, as well as his own painted art and powerful poetry, Lar Dooley takes us on a life-affirming journey into the mystery, meaning and modern interpretations of the Boyne Valley neolithic monuments. With a strong focus on the rise of the Sacred Feminine and the ancestral figure of An Cailleach as a guide, “Out of the Darkness” is a wonderful peek into what could be lying hidden in the origins of the human love for this island.

Download a FREE Digital Preview

(includes Prologue, Introduction and Chapter 1)

Where to buy it?

The book can be purchased at Loughcrew Megalithic Centre, Oldcastle, Co. Meath,
where you can get it either from the shop or the author himself.
It can also be found at Maguire’s, Hill of Tara.

Meet the Author and Contributors

Lar Dooley was born in Dublin, and has spent much of his time in and around the hills of Loughcrew. As a resident part of the Loughcrew Megalithic Centre, Lar offers a weekly tour up the Hill where he shares its history, mythology, and his own views on indigenous Irish spirituality.

The book contains photographs and original art pieces by the brilliant talents of: Jane Brideson, Jim Fitzpatrick, Gavin Sodo, Courtney Davies, Séamus Draoigall, Michael Vance, Seamus Fegan, Margaret McKenna, Sean Fitzgerald, Anthony Murphy and Patrick Conway.

Lar Dooley Art

Council Project, Imbas

This is a personal view of indigenous Irish spirituality. It is taken from the viewpoint of over 50 years of individual exploration of our ancient Irish indigenous culture. I am not a historian, or an archaeologist; but my own personal journey has led me to try to make sense of how the ancients lived and how they died. Putting together the story of what drove them to create so many hilltop cairns which dot the landscape of Sliabh na Caillaigh, also known as Loughcrew in County Meath, Ireland.

These solar temples shield within their protective shell the basis for indigenous Irish spirituality.

My story starts at a well. It begins with a sacred cleansing ceremony. It welcomes the spirits of the land to join me. It welcomes the spirits of the ancestors to walk with me. We enter a sacred space barefoot, and give thanks to those who have gone before. We acknowledge the spirits of the land and the land of the spirits. From then on, we are never alone. There is no fear, no trepidation, no looking back.

For when we look back, we are joined by those who have come through the generations to meet us. They accompany us on our journey. This is my story, but also theirs. It is also the story of Loughcrew. It is the story of six thousand years of spiritual history, shadows on the land, opaque figures dancing through the night. It is the story of many moons, and many suns. It brings us into the darkness, but then we emerge into the light. In this story you will come, literally, out of the Darkness, and into the Light.

Enjoy the journey.

Súil an Craic

Council Project

{Update 2021: The experience was successfully completed between Lughnasadh and Samhain 2020. For more information and photos, please join the Facebook Group}

Súil an Craic is the second iteration of an independently organised, multi-layered journey of exploration and re-discovery of the land, which seeks to open up routes for long-term pilgrimages through our ancient culture and richly varied landscape.

From his birthplace in Tory Island, down to the final resting place of his foster mother in Loughcrew, we are following the legends and deeds of Lugh Lamhfada, the champion of light who brought about change and freedom to the Tuatha Dé Dannan by defeating the Fomorians; dark beings whose greed and disregard for the Land herself knew no limits.

In association with the All is Well initiative, our route involves restoration and cleaning of ancient holy wells along the way, allowing Water to lead our path and remind communities of the importance of water care.

We’ll visit meaningful ancient sites, seeking to boost interest in lore and heritage, engaging with local communities to encourage indigenous tourism, fostering awareness about the state of our ecology, providing opportunities for guest experts to share their knowledge along the way… and ah, sure, have some craic while we’re at it.

Vision

General overview of our pilgrimage route.
(by Séan Fitzgerald)

The walk has a variety of aspects, layers and intentions.

Participants are invited to join under their own self-motivation and commitment to adhering to our standard of safety, behavior and intention. Though we will be walking under the principles of kindness, unity and tribe; we expect all Walkers to be self-sufficient in as many aspects as possible, including camping gear and equipment, transport, etc.

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdown, we ask that all walkers to adhere to safety guidelines and social distancing practices.

Intentions and Goals

  • Pilgrimage route: Once upon a time, Ireland was an island to be walked. While the country is still full of interesting walking routes, we seek to open up a path under the stories of the ancient Irish champion Lugh Lamhfada, offering an experience of connection to the ancient legends which permeate the landscape.
  • Care of Holy Wells: As we walk down, we’ll engage in holy well tracking and cleaning techniques, highlighting the importance and awareness of water care among locals.
  • Education: We’re hoping to be joined at times by experts in different areas, from foraging and wild cooking to forestry and outdoor living; offering an ongoing learning experience.
  • Culture & Heritage: Our route will bring us to some of the most important ancient sites on this side of Ireland, where we seek to honor the efforts of our ancestors and the gifts they left behind in stone and soil. We’ll seek out local lore and storytellers in an attempt to find new layers, aspects and connections between these wondrous monuments.
  • Indigenous Tourism: Samewise, we’ll make use of social media tools to highlight and boost hidden gems along the island, in an effort to bring awareness and provide support for local communities; who have so much to offer but are oftentimes neglected by the popular tourism routes.
  • Tribe Behavior and Integrity: We are committed to walk in a way our Ancestors would be proud of; walking as respectful guests along the land and showing truth and grace in word and deed. We intend to leave no trace but positive impact, and manage our group dynamic as horizontally and openly as possible. We hope this to be a learning experience of communal living and respectful interactions with the Land.

Credit: John Sheridan
“We recognise role that the local heritage such as music and folklore retained a Celtic artistic signature of natural vitality, intricacy, “abhorrence of a straight line” and mysticism that is leading to important national cultural revival
This existentially free spirit in our culture is something uniquely attractive to the outsider and it is represented in numerous personal-regenerative initiatives with multi-faceted potential to build on the considerable global platform of awareness established by the heroes of our cultural revival and its ongoing vitality.
-Dr. Myles Sweeny