Strega Jewellry's Blog

jewelry, beads, stone lore, music, kids and nature

Travel Challenge Blog Hop

Welcome to my teleporter!   I’m going to whisk you off to Ireland today, a small country with a rich history whose heroes have become the stuff of legend.  Before we leave, let’s take a minute to get the usual stereotypical thinking out of the way.   What do most people think of when you mention Ireland?   St. Patrick, shamrocks, leprechauns, Irish whiskey, the “fighting Irish” and the Emerald Isle, the color green, bright as a shamrock, loud and proud.


Yes, they have a history of “fighting” for freedom.  It’s a small country that has strived to maintain its independence and struggled for that independence when there was little industry or means to compete with larger countries.   It’s a country of rocky and rugged seacoasts and lush green land but little industry until the present day when this small nation has risen to become a major force in the technological world.

And yes, there are castles.

It is a land of lively jigs and haunting Celtic music.   It’s a land rich in history and legend and myths celebrated in story and songs.  Many of their legends are famous throughout the world.

I’ve you know me at all from previous blogs, you will know that I do love legend and fantasy.   I’ve used some Irish lore and real time places to inspire my piece for this Travel Challenge Blog.

This is the legend that inspired me, the story of the Sidhe, the Fair Folk, the Good People, or as you may know them, the elves.

The Sidhe(pronounce it “shee”) descended from the Tuatha de Dannan who settled in Ireland millenia ago and defeated the Milesians who were living there.   They were a race of folk similar in form to humans but with “more”.  They were taller and more graceful, more beautiful and more in tune with the natural world.  I’ll not go on about Elvish legends.  I’m sure you all have your favorites. I’ll mention one series by author Julian May, a speculative sci fi series which suggested that time travelers from the 22nd century traveled to the Pliocene Era to escape their own time giving rise to the legends of the “shining ones”.  The saga of the Many Colored Land will give you food for thought about the elvish folk.

Legend has it that as the race of humans became more populous and the iron weapons more plentiful, the Sidhe disappeared from Earth to another time and dimension.  Supposedly, it was at Tara Hill where they left Ireland.

Tara Hill

This is one sight in Ireland I would love to visit.  It’s an ancient plance surrounded by mysteries that scientists still try to uncover, a place where kings were crowned. A beautiful place.

The other place I would not want to miss is Blarney Castle.  All information about Blarney is taken from this link.

Blarney Castle was originally a timber hunting lodge built in the 10th century, which was replaced by a stone castle in 1210. The present day construction was completed by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster in 1446. The Castle remained the ancestral stronghold of the McCarthy family until the arrival of Oliver Cromwell with cannon guns in 1646.

The world famous Blarney Stone is situated high up in the battlements of the castle. Blarney.  The stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland. Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone, because it was believed to have special powers.  The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in return for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.

Queen Elizabeth I wanted Irish chiefs to agree to occupy their own lands under title from her. Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, handled every Royal request with subtle diplomacy, promising loyalty to the Queen without “giving in”. Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her “a lot of Blarney”, thus giving rise to the legend.

Blarney Castle

The Blarney Stone is not all there is to see at Blarney Castle.  There are beautiful gardens there.  I would love to wander through them and I’m sure it would take more than a day.  If you have time to visit these links, there are gorgeous slide shows:

the Poison Garden with deadly plants from all over the world

the lush and lovely Fern Garden

gorgeous Bog Garden

And last, but not least, Rock Close.  

The Rock Close is laid out on a pre-historic Druids site with the remains of huge boulders, rocks, a dolmen (a megalithic tomb with a large flat stone laid on uprights), a sacrificial altar and a witches kitchen. You will also find Japanese bamboo trees, magnolias, Siberian dogwood and weeping willows and a stream which can be crossed via a small pedestrian bridge.

yew tree and stone from Rock Close Garden

I used this photo for my color palette to inspire my piece for this challenge blog.

This photo  inspired my main jewelry piece for this challenge. It reminded me of an Elvish Woodland area.   It just happens that I entered another challenge earlier in the year, the Marsha Neal silk color palette challenge.  The colors of the silks I chose were taken from a photo I took here but one that reminded me of an Elvish wood so I called the palette Elven Woods.

Isn’t it weird that this silk palette matched up with the colors from the Rock Close photo that I love?  What next?   Hmmmmmm

I had a bronze clay pendant that I had made last fall. It looked sort of leafy in an elvish way so I put on a green patina and made a copper bale.   I DO love mixing my metals!

I dug some gorgeous jasper beads out of my stash that had some beautiful brown and green colors that also matched this palette.   Oh, and I found a brass wind woman that looked elvish and a copper leaf clasp.

And, here, after all that chatter, is my finished piece of colors of Irish moss and fern, rock and shadow.  A fey place indeed.

Rock Closer Elvish Folk

without the detachable pendant

closeup of fairy woman and silks

closeup of leaf clasp

closeup of gorgeous jasper beads

I made two other pieces, inspired by my research of Ireland and am working on one inspired by a photo of Tara Hill.   You can check my previous post to celebrate Ireland’s emergence as a presence in this era with a steampunk piece in Irish green.

And now, take a tour with me and my fellow travelers and visit the other artists who took part in this Travel Blog Challenge hosted by Erin Prais Hinz of Tesori Trovati.

Name Blog Region Chosen Inspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers Africa Egypt
Therese Frank Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg Asia India
Tanya Goodwin Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy Asia Japan
Beth Emery Asia Japan
Lisa Cone Asia Japan
Tanya Boden Asia Japan
Inge von Roos Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo Europe Sweden
Kim Hora Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price Oceania Vanuatu


September 1, 2012 - Posted by | fashion, folklore, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , ,


  1. The colors in your piece are so calming and refreshing all at the same time. Love this land, of my father’s ancestry and love what you did to commemorate it.


    Comment by Marlene C | September 1, 2012 | Reply

  2. Lee, so many of us here in North America trace our family history back to the Emerald Isle. And everyone knows the fairy folk still influence life there (for good or ill!) What a beautiful necklace you created, anchored by your amazing silk colour choices… and honouring the fairy folk is always a safe bet! It is very clever to have that detachable pendant. I loved your previous Irish-inspired posts as well.

    Thanks also for visiting my blog today with your thoughtful comments, Lee!


    Comment by Monique U. (A Half-Baked Notion) | September 1, 2012 | Reply

    • Monique, thanks for taking the time to visit my other Irish posts. I had a blast with the challenge and am still getting inspiration!


      Comment by stregajewellry | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  3. Love the story, the pictures, so green and so lush. Great combination of beads and fibers, love your depiction of the Rock Close Garden.


    Comment by Regina | September 1, 2012 | Reply

  4. Merry Met! You created a very fae piece! Its lovely!


    Comment by Jenny | September 1, 2012 | Reply

  5. The necklace is gorgeous. I love the colors and the trip to fairyland it inspires.


    Comment by Pixiloo | September 1, 2012 | Reply

  6. Love love love your necklace.. It reminds me of a warm spring day. Great job.


    Comment by Michelle | September 1, 2012 | Reply

  7. Loved your blog post – and yes, your first paragraphs included all of the things I think of when you say Ireland! But you added a twist, and I loved reading it! How could I forget the castles when speaking of Ireland? Your piece is perfectly inspired and perfectly executed! This is beautiful!


    Comment by Patti Vanderbloemen | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  8. Love this necklace, it’s really beautiful! And I loved hearing how you were inspired by Ireland’s fairytales.


    Comment by mtrudinger | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  9. Very interesting background information on Ireland! Love your necklace 😉


    Comment by Lisa S | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  10. I love the combination of beads and ribbon! I also love the colors you used!


    Comment by Ine | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  11. You brought us to the magic of Ireland — the fabulous fairies and elves 😉 Love your post and your amazing jewelry: the silks, colorway, and focal are all grounded in the Irish landscape, yet ethereal, mystical. Outstanding beauty! Thank you beautiful artist 🙂

    Your journey takes me to the wise woman within, the ancient, the mystic and merry!

    Merry Meet and namaste,
    rita (aka TJ aka GemFairy 🙂


    Comment by Toltec Jewels | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  12. Miss Lee you are so very amazing. The information you provided truly rounds out my experience of Ireland. Fascinating information about the beautiful and mystical island. Your necklace is the perfect accessory after reading what you wrote. I am so glad you joined me on this journey. Enjoy the day. Erin


    Comment by Erin Prais-Hintz | September 2, 2012 | Reply

    • Erin, I want to do it again! How about a Time Travel Blog Challenge? We all visit a period of time in history.


      Comment by stregajewellry | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  13. Ahh the magic of Ireland and it’s tales. And you captured it so nicely in that beautiful necklace.


    Comment by Alice | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  14. what a beautiful story you told leading to that stunning necklace. How amazing that you had that bronze pendant and you’d already picked those lovely silks (I know I voted for those beauties). Beautiful work!


    Comment by Emma | September 3, 2012 | Reply

    • You voted for my Elven Woods silks? Thank you. I love them and I still have more to work with. That was a fun challenge for sure and I think, the first one I ever entered. Thanks Emma.


      Comment by stregajewellry | September 3, 2012 | Reply

  15. Love this piece.. I really like the look of the silk ‘strings’ twisted together.. and that green pendant is awesome! I kissed the Blareny stone when I was 12.. yes there is a black and white photo around somewhere proclaiming that feat! Missed the poison garden though… think that would be the highlight of the trip now!


    Comment by D Lynne Bowland | September 3, 2012 | Reply

    • Oh, how exciting that you got to kiss the Blarney stone. I’m right there with you on seeing the poison garden. That would be a huge PLUS! You should try some of Marsha’s silks. this is the first time I ever used them and I sure do like how they look. That link will show you the other palettes that the ladies in the challenge came up with, just beautiful! Erin has a palette there too.


      Comment by stregajewellry | September 4, 2012 | Reply

  16. Lee, I’ve been browsing your posts about Ireland since they first came out, and I’m so happy to be able to see what your hop creation was! I love this necklace! The focal is amazing, and I love the silks that you’ve used. What a great combination!


    Comment by Holly | September 3, 2012 | Reply

    • Holly, thank you so much! I admire your work so much, your compliment means that much more. This was the very first time I used the silks and I really like how they softened the piece. Marsha has so many colors and some of the women in the silk palette challenge made some gorgeous palettes. I think I want to try some more of them!


      Comment by stregajewellry | September 4, 2012 | Reply

  17. LOVE your post! Love your jewelry, as well! I love how you connected the silk with the spiraled design!


    Comment by Susan Kennedy | September 4, 2012 | Reply

  18. Really lovely design! Beautifully represents the legend and color palette you used for inspiration. I also like how you tied in your own silk strands palette (perfect match)! Really interesting history;m thanks for the journey!


    Comment by Kathleen Lange Klik | September 5, 2012 | Reply

  19. Love that too! I’m a fan.


    Comment by windbent | September 23, 2012 | Reply

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