ABOUT THE HEDGE SCHOOL
The Hedge School — An Scoil Chois Claí
The Hedge School is a brand-new venture, conceived in 2017. As well as offerings teachings and courses, our dream is to make the Hedge School website a free and authoritative source for people looking for accurate information on Celtic myths and folklore, and the other native traditions of these islands. (To this end, we have a Patreon page where, if you’re able, you can support us from as little as $1 per month.)
We believe that what we offer at The Hedge School is deeply needed in these challenging times. In Western societies we are seeing more calls for a return to native wisdom, but we can’t live by the worldviews of other cultures which are rooted in lands and histories that have little relationship to our own. Fine as all of those other traditions are, we don’t need to look to the myths and traditions of others for role models, or for guidance on how to live more authentically, in balance and harmony with the planet on which we depend. We have our own guiding stories, and they are deeply rooted in the heart of our own native landscapes. We draw them out of the wells and the waters; beachcombing, we lift them out of the sand. We dive for them to the bottom of deep lakes, we disinter them from the bogs, we follow their tracks through the shadowy glades of the enchanted forest.
It’s time to reclaim those stories. They ground us, and teach us; they teach us how to find the trail of breadcrumbs which will lead us to our own unique calling. And that’s what The Hedge School is about. We call it ‘applied mythology’: the reclaiming of our native wisdom, so helping us to live more lightly and more meaningfully. It’s about practical guidance for living well, living authentically, connecting with our places, finding a deep, embodied sense of belongingness to this wide, beautiful Earth.
Over the coming months we’ll be creating a number of new offerings on this website, including an article database, other resources for those interested in the authentic study of our native myth and folklore, and a series of podcasts. Do sign up to Sharon’s newsletter (at the bottom of this page) to stay informed, and head over too to subscribe to The Hedge School blog.
The Hedge School is not just a virtual space, but a real building: a lovely, mezzanined little house on the wild-hedged fringes of a large garden in Connemara, in the far west of Ireland. As well as the ongoing programme of online courses which Sharon has been offering for several years, and her weeklong residential retreats (which are held in larger premises elsewhere), from 2018 we’ll also be offering individual sessions and retreats on site.
If you’d like to read more about the philosophy behind our work, head over to this page.
For more information about Hedge School founder Dr Sharon Blackie, please head over here.
Connemara is a beautiful, wild region — a land of sea and stone, of lakes, bogs and mountains — which constitutes the westernmost part of County Galway. That’s The Hedge School, in the image below: see the shadow of a house tucked in among the trees there on the right, on the other side of the lough (from which we are separated by a road and a field).
We’re in the Gaeltacht (an Irish-speaking area; Irish is also spoken here at The Hedge School, as well as Scottish Gaelic) close to the Gaelic heartlands of Rosmuc and An Cheathrú Rua (home of the traditional Galway Hooker fishing boats). Gleann Trasna (which means ‘crossing valley’ in Irish) is a lovely hidden valley in the hills, with green fields surrounded by drystone walls, on the shores of a beautiful, wild loch. The fascinating seaweed-strewn tidal inlets of south Connemara are close by, and the beautiful Maamturk Mountains, visible from our townland, are just a ten-minute drive away.
We’re about 45 minutes away from the vibrant old city of Galway. Shannon airport is a couple of hours away by road, and Knock airport is about an hour and a half away.
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