Yes a little detour in this remote part of Ireland is always exciting to say the least, I knew that I was going to do it, I knew that I was going to take photos and I also knew that it was going to be a lovely break. So after my appointment in Bantry I drove into a little side lane off the N71 and followed it down to the rocky seashore. Magnificent views of Bantry bay with the Caha mountains in the distance greeted me. I strolled along the path leading beside the air-strip, quite a few people and dogs were walking there and one man had his fishing rod out into the sea. The rocks were colourful. The air smelled of seaweed and was very fresh. Somewhere far away I could hear a blackbird singing, one of my favourite birdsongs. When I walked back to my car this last view surprised me, I thought that I could easily have been in Canada probably because of the lovely pine trees. Peaceful and at the same time invigorating, this little diversion to my day gave me plenty, I realised all of a sudden that I had been doing an exercise that my recently bought book on photography in nature advised me. That is, spending 10 minutes in nature, breathing deeply, really observing nature, taking note of what you see, hear, smell and how that makes you feel, how that affects the photos, and all that even while I often spend much longer in nature, but then I probably don’t always take it in so intensely.
My sister Meave has a beautiful garden, it is situated on the coast of the beautiful Bantry Bay in the South West of Ireland. The area there is sub tropical and though near the sea everything grows real well. I went visiting the other day and with her permission took many photos to illustrate my writing in this blog. Meave has worked wonders with this garden over the last ten years or so, and by now plants have matured and a nice vegetable plot, in the raised bed that her husband Jay made, is giving her plenty of produce. A walk through this garden is truly wonderful, the more so as Meave has a love of the wild birds with plenty of feeding and bathing areas, it is a delight to see all the different birds, and listen to them too. The climate is mild due to the gulf stream coming from Mexico Bay, this means that many of the plants cultivated here are sub tropical. One of the trees growing here, for example, is the Arbutus, also called the strawberry tree. Palm trees are quite common, also the tree fern which is rather beautiful and special. Meave has let a lot of native shrubs such as the fuchsia and hawthorn grow and they make her garden really natural looking, she also cultivated many otherwise wild growing roses which do extremely well in her garden. She pointed out several plants and shrub which were given to her by various sisters and friends and which have special meaning for her, it is lovely to see these grow so well. Altogether a beautiful garden where butterflies, bees, and other wildlife find a welcome and good home.
A view towards the sea, the garden slopes down towards the coastline. Looking towards Sheepshead peninsula.
Palm trees are quite common around here. And a dark type of Marsh Mallow flower is growing profusely.
A flowering shrub that I don’t know the name of, and the Rose of Sharon, a shrub which is seen a lot here too.
Sheep in the surrounding fields giving a very pastoral feel.
An old Irish kettle filled with geraniums and one of Meave’s cats, this one is called Trooper!
The raised bed full of delicious looking vegetables and herbs.
Another little corner with loving attention to detail, and the bird table surrounded with protection from cats.
A wild thistle almost in flower, it’s seeds will be great for the goldfinches. This shrub I think is Berberis vulgaris.
Rose bushes everywhere with lots of different varieties, lovely scents.
Fuchsias and foxgloves growing wild in hedgerows, also in the garden.
Another beautifully scented rose, and I do not know the name of this yellow flower.
On a journey to Beara peninsula today, it was a glorious though cold day, and there was some snow on top of the Caha mountains, especially Hungry Hill had a lovely dusting of snow.
The landscape on this peninsula is superb, you have the sea (Bantry Bay) on one side, and you have the mountains which are very rocky, and much to my taste to your other side. There is lots of Gorse growing, but also Fuchsia and Rhododendron, whole hedges of Fuchsia flower from May till November, this makes the road very beautiful. There are also lots of Holly and Rowan trees. Lots of boggy land too, and bracken. The main town on the peninsula is Castletownbere, a little fishing town.
Here are some of the views along our way.
This is actually a view of Bantry Bay taken in Glengarriff on our way home
Hungry Hill (685m high), one of the Caha mountain range peaks. This range of hills/mountains is mostly made up of old red sandstone, which is composed of mainly quartz and/or feldspar.