Erica’s Fairy Forest: A walk made for small feet and big imaginations

Walk for the Weekend: Garden on Cavan/Monaghan border is a poignant tribute

Sophie tries to visit the fairies in Erica’s Fairy Forest.

Sophie tries to visit the fairies in Erica’s Fairy Forest.

 

This is a walk made for people with small feet and big imaginations. For those of us with bigger feet and perhaps smaller imaginations, Erica’s Fairy Forest will be a brief excursion; but for our little companions it is a boundless space to be explored on timeless wings of imagination.

The inspiration for this forest garden, little Erica Ní Draighneain, and all the little children who live on in Erica’s forest, believed in fairies and fairy princes and princesses all their short lives. For them the fairies were as real as the birds and the animals and all the creatures in books read to them by loving parents and grandparents and carers and friends. Real and imagined beings came to them in the play of imagination and fun, and were welcomed with no need to question or explain. They were all part of a wonder-world that graced and enriched their short lives.

We came to Erica’s Fairy Forest on a cold spring day of sunshine and rapidly disappearing snow. Our little grandchild needed no introduction to the fairies and ogres and other creatures of this place on the Cavan/Monaghan border. We followed her from fairy door to fairy castle and wishing chair and fairy hotel and hobbit house and watched her wide-eyed wonder and easy acceptance of creatures on the ground, on toadstools, halfway up high beech trees and unseen behind tiny closed doors.

Sophie said very little as she progressed around this enchanting place, just walked and looked and connected and knocked on doors, and accepted that the fairies were out, or the hobbit was tending the grounds.

Erica’s Fairy Forest is in a lovely place, on the borderlands of Cavan and Monaghan and on the shores of Dromore Lough. This is a beautiful, inter-drumlin lough graced with natural wet woodlands and fringed with reed beds on its shores. It is a place of “waters and the wild”, as WB Yeats would say; a place where, thanks to Erica and her loving parents, the fairies still play and dance and “chase the frothy bubbles, while the Earth is full of troubles, and is anxious in its sleep”.

Walk for the Weekend: Erica’s Fairy Forest, Cavan/Monaghan border
Map: none needed
Start/Finish: Dromore Lough CP on R118, 1.5km from Cootehill, Co Cavan
Suitability: easy, about 1.5hrs
Advice: check out Erica’s Fairy Forest website (ericasfairyforest.com)

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