Pictured here is another scene from the top of the Hill of Tara, in County Meath.
Pictured to the right of the scene are two raggedy trees, also known as raggy trees. These are invariably hawthorn trees from which people hang rags, strips of clothing, jewels, medals and all kinds of emblems in the hope of a wish to come to true or an illness to fade.
Among some members of Irish society it is believed that if a rag is hung from a raggedy tree with a good wish for a person who is ill, as the rag rots so the illness will pass and the person will restore to good health. Similarly, some hang personal artifacts from the branches in the hope that some dream or hope will come to them or a loved one. This tradition is particularly strong in members of Irelands travelling community, but not reservedly so.
The small mound on which they grow is called Teach Miodhchuarta, or the Banqueting Hall. This is a long linear earthwork running north to south which dates back to the Iron age. It is thought by some that this was the ceremonial entrance to the ancient place which stood here and that it is where the roads to Tara met. Others believe it to be the remains of the banqueting hall where the legendary high king feasted hence its name today, but this is unlikely.
In this scene, the Lia Fail stone which I uploaded a couple of days ago is positioned off screen to the left of this scene, up the slight rise of the hill. The raggedy trees sit north west of that location.
I spent a while looking at the various items that are tied to the trees, and if you look closely at the picture you will see that there are thousands. Among them were items of clothing, jewelry, combs and hair bands, holiday mementoes and even hospital ID wrist bands. The items were for people of all ages, from small woolly hats and mittens for new born babies to the caps of old men and silk scarves. They were in various stages of decay, some there a long time and some only brand new. Minutes before I took this picture there were a group of people adding something of their own.
It is staggering to think that every one of these items has been placed here in the hope that somebody loved will find some dream or better health.
There is something humbling about standing in the presence of the physical representation of the dreams of thousands of people.
The one thing that strikes me about the raggedy trees in Ireland is that as much as the country has moved with the times and become a hub for IT and finance, everyone has a smart phone and tablet and fiber optic broadband is a must - some traditions die hard. It is not hard to understand why when you are at Tara, as the place does feel very ancient. Added to that the fact that this is not really a popular place with tourists, and it does feel quite desolate too. If the ancient ways are to survive anywhere, this is as good a place as any.
Thanks for looking!
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Romano46 (18472) 2013-12-20 11:11
atmosfera tenebrosa e composizione perfetta.
Una splendida visione di un tramonto che fa pensare al silenzio e alla bellezza della natura e ci aiuta alla contemplazione di essa.
Ciao e buon fine settimana
Indrasish (2943) 2013-12-20 11:52
Sorry for my delay reply.. Wonderful shot my friend.. I like the composition and the pleasant atmosphere.. Superb image quality and nice colors too.. Very well done and thanks as always for your wonderful note..
Good night and best wishes from Kolkata..
photoray (13981) 2013-12-20 17:39
Your view of Tara Hill from the top and the raggy trees are atmospheric in the dark with the distant sun glowing in the dark clouds. It does have the feel of ancient times and customs.
I have not seen raggy trees in our West, but have seen a few trees where discarded tennis shoes have been hung from.
Have a fine weekend,
Subhogen (4067) 2013-12-20 17:56
Good view of this tree, against the backdrop of the setting sun. Nice natural colors and well managed light.
What is interesting to me is that...In India too we have trees like Banyan trees which are venerated and worshiped for their wish granting powers. Alike to this tree you have clicked here also people tie strings and various other interesting objects to the tree branches in the hope that their wish will be fulfilled.
Thanks for sharing an interesting topic with a good photo, with which I could relate.
Have a nice weekend.
serp2000 (45858) 2013-12-20 21:06
Good morning, Noel,
We have the same tradition and when I drive my car sometime I see similar trees with the colorful stripes along the roads. Why not? I like this old way that dream comes true. Good asymmetric composition, fine DoF.
Glint (6171) 2013-12-20 22:33
Fascinating note to go with this excellent scene. The raggety trees are perfectly placed, set to one side so that we can see the landscape. I would love to see a close up of the things tied on the tree too. I like to think that the ancient and traditional lives on amongst the modern world. If I were there I would tie the most beautiful silk scarf to the tree for my sister who is ill.
Have a happy Christmas & New Year,
delpeoples (59774) 2013-12-21 1:56
This is fascinating, and the photo complements your intriguing note superbly. I've seen these trees on TV shows like Midsomer Murders (ie. Britain) but never in Ireland. As you remark, it's a refreshing thing to know that age-old traditions survive despite the modern day reliance on technology and things that are concrete. Your note, and your feelings when standing in front of the raggy tree are very poignant and beautifully expressed. You chose a stunning time of day to photograph these trees, bringing the best out of the magical silhouettes they render. The pastel sky is superbly exposed and in terms of composition, I like how you chose to position the trees off-centre on the right foreground, balancing the composition nicely.
Top shot, have a beautiful day
snunney (106601) 2013-12-21 2:56
This is something completely new to me. I like the composition very much. The low light engenders an atmosphere that is very apposite to the subject.The lovely backlit sky is quite delightful. Perfect exposure. Thanks for sharing, have a good weekend.
gojo (1769) 2013-12-21 2:58
I like this low key image with lots of rather dark areas contrasting with the evening sky. The trees are really attractive,
fabbs99 (17179) 2013-12-21 11:27
I love the looks of this green undulating grassland.A quite gray sky with a tree in the foreground.It is the best possible image under given conditions.Great job done.TFS.
rasterman (479) 2013-12-21 11:41
Fantastic photo with a wonderful and very successful sky colors.
Good composition that enhances the beauty of the sky.
Very good also work with light.
Thanks for sharing.
Miguel82 (27752) 2013-12-21 12:09
A brillant picture of Meath county countryside Noel, I like the sunset colors you got that day, clever inclusion of that lonely tree in the foreground, thanks, all the best, good evening Noel
COSTANTINO (69694) 2013-12-21 23:55
Hello my friend
minimalistic shot with both trees
in the one side
amazing execution of your isnpiration
and a real explosion of delicate colors
shadows and light have ben perfectly
used a real artistic shot
have a nice Sunday
omid266 (6750) 2013-12-22 6:47
Salam Noel ,
That is very nice foto of beautiful Nature in Meath in Ireland .
Well done !
Thanks for sharing us and God Save You !
*** LET PEACE And LOVE PREVAIL IN THE WORLD . ***
O.K from I.R.I
marabu61 (11279) 2013-12-22 8:49
This is a wonderfully romantic scene with the decorated ragged tree in a sublime light in a wide open landscape. I do hope that the dreams and wishes of all the people that have put their little trinket on the tree will come true.
have a great day
iainsp (3298) 2017-01-03 8:32
This one came up in the random selection, a great place to look for intersting works from a more distant time (plus the surreal effect of an Irish tiger in an adjacent frame). FIrstly, thanks for the really detailed note - loved that level of information and detail on an something I vaguely know of as 'tinker trees' - no idea where I got that from, perhaps a Scottish equivalent. Anyway, ... great sky which really makes this photograph - plus you can see enough details of the raggedy trees to see what you are talking about in your note. A lovely, lovely shot (which might also work really well in B&W???).