A JOURNEY INTO CONNEMARA

Connemara

Connemara was not as isolated and remote as I expected it to be. At least the part of it that we toured was not so. Even on narrow roads that literally just lead to the coast over several causeways, houses and schools were frequently dashed over the otherwise barren landscape.

Connemara was magical, the more so because the mountains were half hidden in the mist and in low clouds, throwing an un-earthly light over the bogs, highlighting the rusty colours, the sepias, the deep chocolate browns, the ochre.  Sometimes the sun would briefly take away the veil that covered the land, at other times the sky would darken and a very heavy rain would pour down on us.  But the rain did not bother us, we were after all on honeymoon and it was hard to take the smile off our faces.

The old cottages dotted here and there took my interest but the roads made it so that I could not stop easily to observe them better.  I did take in their oblong shapes however, many seemed to be empty and ruined, others were still very much lived in.

My favourite area was the road (R344) we took from Kylemore Lough, on to Recess.  On our right were the Twelve Bens, a very beautiful mountain range which unfortunately was mostly hidden in the clouds, and to our left we saw some of the Maumturk mountains. Rusty bog land, softly covered in pale lilac heathers, and in strong yellow gorse, drew the eye further along to some lakes and more bogs.  This was for me one of the highlights of our journey, the beauty and serenity that I felt there was incredible and filled my heart with joy.  The scents of autumn-like growth and fresh mountain air were invigorating.  My excellent navigator and new husband Ian had suggested this road, and I am so happy that we explored this area of Connemara.


A little fishing village called Roundstone lies on the R341 coast road, it is such a picturesque village, one that you would want to stay for a week and just soak up the atmosphere, and the views.  We had a lovely lunch there in a little place overlooking the harbour. 
Connemara has a lot of small peninsulas, connected by land via causeways.

A MELLOW EARLY AUTUMN WALK

I strolled around the block this evening. Around the block in this urban area does not mean that I walk totally among houses, no, for a start I walk through the Boreen which is a narrow path where a lot of wild plants and shrubs grow. This 15 minute walk also takes me along a fairly new road which is mostly surrounded by fields. Here I also see a lot of wild flowers, plants and wildlife in general. So it can be quite an interesting walk and all I need is the discipline to do it more often. Today I set off in a mild Irish mist that was softly falling and was hydrating my face, it was gentle and refreshing.

We have been experiencing lovely mild and sunny weather lately, making us think that it is an Indian summer. However, autumn signs can be seen and the lovely bright colours of the berries and the leaves are a pleasure to behold. A mellow early autumn walk was just what I needed after a hard day’s work in the garden.

I was glad to discover that there is plenty of Ivy this year, I always use this to make flower pieces at Christmas time. Apart from that there are moths and butterflies that lay their eggs in Ivy. An important plant. The blackberries are plentiful too and ripening fast now, they are plump and delicious.

Talking about the Boreen, this is the Irish word bóthrín, which is a diminutive of bóthar, meaning ‘road’. It is used to denote a narrow country path often surrounded by hedges, or sometimes by stone walls. Here in Ireland you might often see these paths very overgrown, because nature does take over and if the paths are not used regularly they just close more or less with overgrowth of brambles and other wild plants. However, what is very important about these Boreens is that they are ancient, and in this way they often still contain many native plants. This is important for biodiversity. In this particular Boreen I have found the creeping Hypericum plant, and this evening I checked and found that it is thriving. There are also a few different Ferns, and common Violets. Lots of Ivy, Hawthorn and also some Gorse. All of these are native plants or shrubs. I know that some well-meaning people use the strimmer on this particular Boreen several times every summer and it saddens me, I wish that at least they would let flowers come into seed before strimming.

Meanwhile in the garden lots of work is waiting for me, I did three days of it in the past week, it has only scratched the surface of it. I love autumn though, lots of tidying up, taking notes, and making plans for the next season. All good fun and a great work-out too, especially with nettles that I allowed to grow to 3 meters high!

Sending many thanks this way to all the blessed wishes from everyone on our wedding day.

LATE SUMMER IS MAGICAL

Today the temperature went up to 28C which is very warm for West Cork. Beautiful sunshine and blue sky added to our pleasures, and a little breeze made it so that I could work in the garden. Our very overgrown and wild garden, our Ark, has attracted an enormous number of insects and butterflies during the summer months, and still there is a great number of hoverflies, a fair number of bumblebees, and many smaller flies, as well as butterflies visiting and making life very pleasant especially knowing that we are helping with the upkeep of biodiversity in Ireland. Very necessary.

A delicate thistle seed landed among some of the late flowers.
Nasturtiums have overgrown the Lavender and the Mellissa, flowering beautifully, giving bright colours.
This is my favourite photo of this summer, so lovely to see the insects feeding on the dandelion flower.
The Oregano is almost finished flowering, from my observations these flowers have attracted the most insects, they have flowered all summer and have been buzzing unbelievable.
I guess that it will take me a great deal of time during the winter to identify all my insects, I have so many photos of them and such a variety. Fun for rainy days.

Wishing each and everyone a very nice September, my month, this month I will have my 70th birthday! Again unbelievable 🙂

EXCITING TIMES

Saturday the 31st of August saw Ian and myself tying the knot, we were surrounded by our children and grandchildren, sisters and brothers, and a few close friends. It was a very beautiful ceremony led by Helen Grubert who is an interfaith celebrant here in West Cork. It is a day to remember fondly for a long time to come.

Slowly life returns to normal routine. I do have lots of material, other than our wedding to write about and lots of photos too, and soon I will be back into my blogging mood. Until then I wish everyone of my dear friends and fellow bloggers a great start to a good autumn (or spring as the season might be).