Daily mythology: Staffa



(Photo by Manuela Carmona)


Not Aladdin magian

Ever such a work began,

Not the wizard of the Dee,

Ever such a dream could see;

Not St John, in Patmos Isle,

In the passion of his toil,

When he saw the churches seven,

Golden Aisl’d, built up in heaven,

Gazed at such a rugged wonder. –

(John Keats, Staffa)

It is a – famous – island in the Inner Hebrides, many celebrities like John Keats, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alice in Wonderand, ehm, Alice Liddell, visited it. Felix Mendelsohn even composed the “Hebrides” after enjoying the sounds of Fingal’s cave. If you want to see it, please take a boat (I recommend Caledonian McBraine) from Oban to Mull, then the bus to cross the island, then a smaller boat to Iona and then a nutshell to Staffa. You’ll admire all kind of  seabirds floating on the huge waves of the Atlantic, you’ll have to jump onto the landing place when your boat just reaches it’s level, but disembarkation is only possible in calm conditions. Here you are! And enjoy the marvels of black Basalt! Or you enter fingals cave, or you climb to the top and admire the view (nearly as far as to Brooklyn) and the few black cattle.

Fingal’s cave is named after the famous hero Fionn MacCool – and I am quite sure that this hero appears in Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” too. The original Gaelic name for Fingal’s Cave is An Uamh Bhin – “the melodious cave”.

I hope you saw Iona before? From there many centuries before our times Columba and his followers went to Europe, they brought a form of Christianity which didn’t need Inquisition, torture and funeral stakes, the so called “Iro-Scot” belief spread out and even endangered the Catholics, which quickly sent St.Patrick from Rome to Ireland, wher before St.Kevin dwellt.

Stȁfa in Switzerland – on the lake of Zurich, and nearby Jona, the town of St.Gallen, the island of Reichenau but even the “Schottenkirche” and the “Schottentor” in Regensburg as well as many other ( quite hidden) remains show how widespread Iro-Scot Christianity once was.



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