This seven circuit classical hedge labyrinth with enlarged centre, was designed and constructed by my dad, Fred Wieler in the beautiful gardens, (a labyrinth in it’s self) of Hagal Farm – a holistic retreat centre and our family home. Hagal Farm is nestled on the slopes of the Maughanaclea mountains, in the picturesque Mealagh valley near Bantry, in West Cork.
The gardens at Hagal Farm spared out over about four acres, making up a number of different gardens, each with its own character. (but this is another story for another post, sometime in the future) From the car park, little blue sign can be found with the symbol of the labyrinth, pointing down a winding path through some of the wilder gardens. As you wind your way through the gardens, more of the same signs keep you on the right path, to the entrance.
The Labyrinth’s hedges are Lonicera (Lonicera nitida) and was all planted from cuttings approximately five years ago. To walk the labyrinth is about a 360 meter round trip and takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
An ancient piece of local bog Oak makes up the sculptural centre piece.
Lonicera makes a great hedge, it is easily planted from cuttings and is fast growing. However there is an obvious drawback with this too, it being that, it needs regular trimming. I made the mistake of offering to cut it once, with a hedge streamer, it’s quite a lot of maintenance.
Another big job is mowing the grass, there’s no short cuts so when you get to the centre and your mowing is complete, you get to push the mower all the ways around back out again. But it’s worth it, and for some people it’s even a pleasure!
The Labyrinth in its second year growing.
The labyrinth’s creator, inspecting the hedges
Video of a swift walk through the Labyrinth
What are labyrinths
‘A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
This labyrinth carving ‘Hollywood Stone’ found lying face down in a grassy lane near the village of Hollywood in County Wicklow, dates back to around the sixth century.
A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within.” ‘
Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out. A labyrinth has only one path. It is universal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.
For all those who wish to see more Irish labyrinths or fancy to walk one, this one and many more around the country can be found on Labyrinths Ireland http://www.labyrinthireland.com/irish.html
And for those of you who are reading this from abroad, you can find labyrinths from all over the world on the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator. http://labyrinthlocator.com/
Below are a few other living labyrinths from around the world