Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether summer clothe the general earth With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall Heard only in the trances of the blast, Or if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
An Irish Journey - Part The First
The title of this post is chosen quite deliberately since for most of the time I was in Ireland we simply drove and drove and drove stopping occasionally for 5 or 10 minutes while everyone leaped out of the car to take photographs. Much of the time I wasn't all that sure where we were! I saw a great deal of beautiful scenery but didn't have chance to wander round and explore all the villages, tower houses and old ruined churches that we flew past. The pretty very English looking cottages above are in Adare in Co Limerick. I think the 13th century cathedral in Adare would have been worth looking round especially as it has a lovely circular columbarium (dovecote) but there wasn't time.
Our other stop in Adare was at the former Adare Manor which is now a hotel and golf club. Standing in the grounds on the bank of the River Maigue is this magnificent Cedar of Lebanon which is said to have been planted in 1645. To give you an idea of its size the two small figures on the left of the photo are my friend C and myself.
I know where this was only because I took a photo of the sign in the car park! It's Dunguaire Castle, a 16th century tower house on the shore of Galway Bay. It was once the site of the 7th century stronghold of Guaire the legendary King of Connaught. It is open to the public but it was still closed for the winter the day we were there.
This is the view over Galway Bay from the castle.
I couldn't resist this little group of cattle with the wonderful drystone wall in the background. Irish drystone walls are quite different to those in England, they are all higgledy piggledy but the end result is really attractive.
This beautiful beach is somewhere on the road between Ballyvaughan and Doolin in Co Clare. It might be Fanore but don't quote me!
This lunar landscape is part of the Burren and I would have loved to spend some time walking and exploring among the rocks. The Burren is an area of limestone pavement and has an incredibly rich assortment of wild flowers and butterflies some of them very rare indeed.
By the end of the day the weather had deteriorated drastically and by the time we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher the strong wind had been joined by a hailstorm of biblical proportions hence the rather atmospheric photographs. Just holding the camera still was nearly impossible. If you enlarge the photo you can see the hail - in fact you can see it anyway!
The Cliffs of Moher are a really stunning sight rising to over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean at their highest point. I am so glad that I first saw them many years ago when they were still unspoilt. Now there is a huge car park, a visitor centre, a row of shops and a cafe built into the hillside and fences and paths and steps all over the place. The first time I came it was still wild and open and you parked at the side of the little road and walked right up to the cliff edge - if you had the courage and a head for heights that is:) I'm so glad I still have that memory and I shall do my best to forget what I saw on this trip. Apart from the dramatic skies that is.
This is Caher House which was our home while we were in Ireland, it's a lovely Georgian manor house set in 300 acres and came complete with resident deerhound:) Actually the deerhound lived with the caretaker in a nearby cottage but she appeared every day looking for any food scraps that were going:) I should have taken her photo but for some reason I never quite got round to it. It was cold for the whole of our stay in Ireland so it was great to come back in the evenings and sit in front of a lovely log fire. All we had to do was light them, the caretaker cleaned them out and brought in fresh logs every day. So that was Monday and Tuesday - more scenery to come an another post:)