The beautiful "Emerald Isle", as Ireland is fondly called, is renowned for its "Céad Míle Fáilte" or One Hundred Thousand Welcomes. The Irish are a friendly people, always interested in where you come from and what news you have of your own native land. This might be in part because so many family members have crossed oceans either as missionaries or as people in search of new ways to earn a living. You will be sure to find a distant relative somewhere in your own family tree that has come from Ireland!
Ireland is located on the westernmost edge of Europe and, being a country surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the one side and the Irish sea on the other, we have retained much of our ancient heritages. Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to our shores in the 1st century, found that to teach the people about Christianity he had to integrate their Celtic customs and beliefs. And so our Celtic spirituality became closely entwined with the Catholic faith.
Ireland is known as the land of "Saints and Scholars", but it really is the land of Myths and Mystery. There are so many myths and legends which surround the lives of the fairies or the little people, who are also known as the Tuatha Dé Danann ("Peoples of the Goddess Danu"). There are many stories, myths and legends are written about them and their home in the "Otherworld" / "Tír Na nÓg" (or translated to the ‘Land of Eternal Youth’).
No doubt you will have heard about our Leprechauns and know that, if you manage to catch one, it will lead you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Or the Selkies, who are brown seals by day and human at night. Or the legend of Oisín, a revered warrior who was visited by a fairy woman called Niamh riding a white mare, who told him she loved him and took him to live with her in "Tír Na nÓg". After what seemed to him to be three years, Oisín decided to return to Ireland, but 300 years had passed there. Niamh gave him her white horse, Embarr, and warned him not to dismount, because if his feet touched the ground, those 300 years would catch up with him and he would become old and withered. Oisín returned home to Ireland but forgot the warning. When he dismounted, he became an old man and died.
The Irish people still believe in these legends. Even today farmers will never disturb a "Fairy Tree or a Fairy Mound" on their land because their land will become infertile and useless for farming.
Ireland is often called the Land of the Horse because of our long acquaintance with our equine partners. There are three native breeds: the Irish Draught, the Connemara pony and the Kerry Bog pony. The Irish Thoroughbred horse is also a force to be reckoned with throughout the world.
Ireland boasts two World Heritage sites. The first, called Newgrange, is close to the capital of Ireland, Dublin. It is thought to be an ancient burial site or passage tomb. This passage way is built in alignment with the light of the rising of the sun on the winter solstice and the whole chamber is lit up. This site is even older than the pyramids in Egypt! The second is an ancient Monastic site on an island called Skellig Michael. This site was recently used in the latest Star Wars movie.
But what Ireland has beyond compare is its wild beauty. From the amazing rocky formation of the Burren to the coastland of the Giants Causeway, from the iconic Ring of Kerry to the heights of the Cliffs of Moher, beautiful Ireland will take your breath away.
This old farmhouse dates back to the 16th century. It overlooks Rogerstown Estuary and is surrounded by some magnificent old trees.
It has been in the Monahan family for thirty years now. When they bought it, it had been derelict for some seven years and was brought back to life again.
There is a wonderful walledin garden where horses and humans alike can bask in its sanctuary. There is an aura of peace and tranquillity where the birds sing their approval.
An old dairy has been turned into a conference room with a wood burning stove to keep the chill from the air.
Nine horses, nine cats, three dogs and a few chickens add to the welcoming atmosphere.
To come and visit is to step out of the hustle and bustle of life and to enjoy timeout in the beautiful surroundings.
Less than 40 minutes’ drive from Rogerstown is the famous World Heritage Site of “Brú na Bóinne” or Newgrange. Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.) during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and Great Pyramids of Giza. Newgrange is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside.
Again easily accessible from Rogerstown House is another amazing site to visit “Glendalough”. Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Glendalough means ‘The Valley of the Two Lakes’ and is renowned for its spectacular scenery, rich history, archaeology and abundant wildlife. Glendalough is a remarkable place that will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul. Lonely Planet Ireland calls Glendalough "truly one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and a highlight of any trip to the island."
A fifteen minute drive from “Rogerstown House” will take you to the beautiful coastal town of Skerries where you can stroll along the coastal walks or enjoy fine dining in the harbour-front restaurants.
Rogerstown House is located fifteen minutes from Dublin International airport and is about a thirty five minute drive from the centre of Dublin City.
Yvonne Monahan, Ireland
Yvonne was a shy child and found it hard to talk with people. She was given her first horse as a teenager, and she found her voice and her bravery once she was either riding her horse or even just simply with him. She could talk with anyone and not only that but she was able to smile. Being with horses was her life and they were her best friends too! The second horse Yvonne owned was a talented showjumper. With him Yvonne not only learned the joy of competing but also the pleasure of achieving goals. She went on to become an international event rider and won the Three Star International Three Day Event at Punchestown. This horse, Santex, went on with Yvonne to compete at Burghley and also in Frauenfeld in Switzerland, where Yvonne was a member of the Irish European Three Day Event Team.
Yvonne is involved in many aspects of horses, breeding, training and producing them. A founder member of Dressage Ireland and a medium level Dressage judge, Yvonne is also an International Three Day event judge and has judged at a Pony European Championship. However a big change came about in Yvonne’s life when she had a fall whilst schooling a young horse at home. This left Yvonne with a compression fracture of her spine, and she had to spend four months in a body cast. Yvonne, who was very independent, had to ask for help in all of the everyday jobs which she had taken so much for granted. When she got back on board her beautiful mare she found herself clutching at the reins and way to nervous. Yvonne had lost her nerve. With three small children depending on her, she decided not to ride anymore.
Alongside of this major change came a call from her best friend, who lived in America. Her friend shared an equine facilitated learning experience she'd had with horses; however, when asked about it, it became clear she - Yvonne - would have to go and experience it herself! Yvonne's friend urged her to read “Riding between the Worlds”, by equine facilitated learning innovator Linda Kohanov. Meanwhile, Yvonne obtained a copy of “The Tao of Equus”, also by Linda Kohanov. On reading the first chapter, Yvonne was hooked and felt that Linda had written Yvonne’s own story!
Within a few months Yvonne travelled to America to “The Buffalo Woman Ranch” for a 4-1/2 day workshop. With all that Yvonne knew about horses it was actually a block to seeing them with fresh eyes; for the first three and a half days, Yvonne believed the workshop was a waste of time and money. However, on the last day Yvonne woke up with the feeling that she would be willing to open her heart and stop being judgmental. This day was to change her whole life forever, as she experienced horses as never before and decided then and there that teaching equine facilitated learning was what she wanted to do. In 2005, Yvonne participated in Linda Kohanov's Eponaquest Instructor Apprenticeship program. In 2007, Yvonne became an Eponaquest Advanced Instructor. She returned to Arizona in 2014 to become credentialed as an Eponaquest “Power of the Herd” instructor.
Yvonne has found that horses have so much more to offer us than merely something to ride or compete on! They can totally renew and revive people’s lives and souls.