Home of the Holy Grail
Ireland's Grail mysteries are largely centered around the Sligo (Slígeach) region and stretch back across time into the Bronze Age through its pre-Christian predecessor via the rich cauldron heritage. The epicenter lies between Lough Gill (Lady of the Lake), Tobercurry (oracle center), Kesh Corann Hill (home of the Great Queen), and Knocknashee (Cnoc na Sídhe - Hill of the Immortals), where the ley lines between these ancient sacred centers converge at Temple House. The Templar Knights maintained their furthest west stronghold on the shores of Temple House Lake to guard this ancient mystery.
Temple House: Home of the Holy Grail
It is amusing – when a thing is very simple – how it can made into a mystery.
~ William Sharp
Ser Perceval of the Arthurian legends ceased his quest for the Holy Grail when he arrived in Ireland. He discovered what most families of education, influence, and power had known for more than a millennium during the Bronze and early Iron Ages but was mostly forgotten during the Dark Ages: the Holy Grail is in Ireland, or perhaps better yet: it is Ireland.
This holy vessel that predates Christian mysteries via the ancient cauldron and womb traditions, becomes evident both in the sacred landscape of Ireland and through the undying light of Kathleen ní Houlihan, the spirit of Ireland. Ireland was the major center of the Great Mother tradition at the time of the birth of Christ, well into the Christian era, and through the early Dark Ages.
While the center of the Grail traditions in Ireland can be illusive to the modern mind, scholars and mystics alike frequently point to Hill of Tara or Uisneach. Ser Perceval, and later the Knights Templar, found the Grail embodied in the very landscape and culture of what is now County Sligo in the northwest of Ireland in the province of Connacht. They found it along a ley line that extends from the north-northeast of Ireland, beginning at Horn Head and running south-southwest through Mount Errigal, Ben Bulben, Tobercurry, Galway City, the Poulnabrone dolmen, Carrantuohill (the tallest mountain in Ireland), and Mizen Head.
The Templars and the descendants of Ser Perceval at various historic periods established their sanctuary on the shores of Templehouse Lake (Irish: Loch Theach an Teampla) and the Owenmore (“the great river”). A secondary ley line also comes into convergence with this ley line near Tobercurry, beginning in the northwest of Ireland at the mouth of the Moy and running southeast through Ráth Cruachan, the Hill of Uisneach, Kildare, Dún Ailinne, and through Arklow (Irish: An tInbhear Mór). The convergence of the two ley lines on the Irish landscape point us to the heart of the Grail: between Knocknashee (Irish: Cnoc na Sídhe), Tobercurry, Kesh, Carrowkeel, Sligo, and Knocknarea. In the heart of it all sits Temple House.
Temple House, and the earlier 13th century Knights Templar castle, sits at the crossroads of the Holy Grail tradition and was the westernmost extension of the Templars influence. Here where the Great River, Owenmore, flows from south to north through ancient beech, oak, hawthorn, hazel, and willow forests before emptying at the foot of Knocknarea, and the cairn of Maeve, the great queen of Connacht, into Sligo Bay. In this region, the sangreal of my mother’s ancestors runs strong in Tobercurry. The village of Tobercurry (Irish: Tobar an Choire), literally meaning “the holy spring of the cauldron”, reflects the soul of the region’s ancient, consecrated heritage: the Holy Grail.
Following the Timeless Thread
Some of the ancient residents herein would have been oracles and tenders of the Grail and Great Mother traditions - continuing the timeless tradition of weaving together the ley lines of the sacred masculine and sacred feminine. Temple House and its predecessors evolved from this ancient crossroads of the banfháidh and fer caille, the sovereign goddess of the land and the primordial, unimpaired masculine.
When our group first arrived at Temple House estate's +1,000 acres, we were greeted with deep sense of ease and the fecundity of the earth. The long driveway through fields of grass, wildflowers, and nettles is guarded by ancient beech, oak, linden, and ash trees. A sense of expanse invites the visitor to soften the mind and slow down – stepping out of the chaotic 21st century riddled with its technological and bureaucratic entrapments, and into the loving arms of long-passed grandmother and the spirit of Ireland herself.
There are two imposing linden tree guardians saddling the driveway that reach out to touch visitors. I imagine they also help keep away those who are not welcome. As we passed between the two lindens on the rise of a low hill, the first view of the Templar castle is highlighted by a forest-enshrouded lake. The castle sits at the center of gently sloping, bowl-shaped landscape - like a cauldron or grail. The majority of this cauldron landscape is filled with the sparkling waters of Temple House Lake. The water beckons to the dreamer and bard, "slip into my dark waters and be reborn."
Pulling up to the entrance, we were greeted by the astute Roderick Perceval, current steward of the estate and patron of the House in continuation of the long line of Percevals before him. While not a knight or lord in title, this regal yet humble man is the living heritage of the house and land. He is also the protectorate of the spirit of the Grail as it is encoded into the very essence of the land.
Roderick and his wife Helena are a gorgeous whisper of a chivalrous past. While flying the banner of landed, plantation-era gentry, the heart of Erin beams through them both and through their entire staff. Truly the Perceval’s grant a lovely Irish welcome.
They instantly helped us to feel at home in the big house while also sharing the heart of the rich ancestral heritage of the Perceval family – and thus the continuum of one aspect of the heart of the Holy Grail - bringing one Home.
When visiting, I would implore that you explore the delightful reflection out-of-time in both house and the landscape. Ask the Perceval’s questions. Roderick is a fountain of historic knowledge. Meanwhile, Helena has quietly been tracking the ley lines running through the estate and knows where the wild edible plants grow in abundance. She also has a hawk’s eye for where numerous houses of the sídhe are located in the landscape. While she may not admit it openly, since she landed there with Roderick and their two children in 2004, she has become imbued with the timeless essence of the land.
If you are looking to fuel your muse or aisling, follow Roderick and Helena’s advice to the old beech woods across the lough, over the bogs, through broom meadows, around the bluebells, and into the quiet heart of the ráth, or fairy fort.
From the time outside of time, watch the Good People’s boats slipping quietly around the lough or down the Owenmore. The vantage point from within the fairy fort looking over the lough and river invokes the poetic rapture of the ancient bard and dreamer.
If you are searching for the Holy Grail. Look no further. Slow down. Look within. Eat from the table of the Good People at Temple House. Follow the pathways and pathlessways through the wood. Cross the waters. Dream. There is nowhere to look but within and the heart of the Holy Grail, the sangreal, is singing in your veins and waiting to remember.
Ireland has a massive magnetic pull on the dreamers, poets, and mystic throughout time. She is ever calling her sons and daughters home to drink from the sacred cup filled by her thousands of holy wells ushering forth across the country. Follow the trail of Ser Perceval to Temple House. Let your cup be refilled.
If you are lucky and wind is absent upon arrival, the surface of the lough will be like glass. The sky and earth inseparable. But when we arrived, the gaoithe sídhe (fairy wind riders) were out on a wild galavant from the Hill of Kesh (Keshcorann) to the southeast, and the waves were dashing wildly on the surface of the lake. Cresting in choppy rhythm, the water lashed itself against the rushes along the shoreline and around the mysterious crannógs, or humanmade islands.
Minding the ewes and lambs grazing, we slowly drove down the hill where we were granted the first view of the big house. Temple House is simultaneously impressive and humble. The cut limestone block in true Georgian era architectural splendor, sits at the center of a terraced, well-manicured lawn. Formal gardens spill down from the western side of the house and end at an old iron gate leading into a deep forest. A mixture of mature and regrowth Celtic-Broadleaf Forest beckons to the naturalist, dream catcher, and grail hunter. The cuckoo calls, “Come explore forests and fields. Fill your cup from the heart of the Grail.”