This morning over breakfast my attention was drawn towards the hills and I noticed a change in their colours. This lead to a pleasant conversation over our coffee, a positive change from our usual topic of… what’s going on in the world… so we were discussing what makes these hills change colour in the fall. It is a well known phenomena in these parts. I first remember seeing this in the landscape around the village of Glengarriff, a seaside village lying a bit more to the south of here on the Beara peninsula, it is almost surrounded by quite high hills, Sugar Loaf being the highest at 501 metres, and I remember, while I spend time there, that the hills took on a beautiful brown in the fall. Not only that but the lower lying parts would show a most beautiful beige, almost blond shade. And why that was is easy to explain as it is of course due to the foliage of plants growing on the slopes and higher up changing their colours.

The view through the window from our breakfast table
A closer look at the colours (as good as my camera could get it)

The colour palette of browns is very attractive, browns like sienna, russet, or burnt umber are surely seen in this autumn landscape, and during the winter the shades might be darker, like deep coffee brown which is a rich, dark shade. These ferns (Pteridium aquilinum) but called bracken around here, are a very wide spread fern in Ireland, they grow all over the hills and tree-lined roadsides, they even came growing in our garden. I think that it is the damp weather that makes them thrive so well. They are beautiful especially when their leaves unfurl, or like this in the autumn season.

Another close up towards the hill that separates the town of Skibbereen from the Atlantic ocean

In this photo the grasses, which have the lighter colour, can be seen higher up on the hill. These grasses of which I do not have a photo at present, are very beautiful and growing along the road at the slopes of Priest Leap mountain also in Glengarriff, they give the best show of all our surroundings when it comes to colour. I am trying to think what the best way is of describing their shade, it is between straw, cream and beige, you could almost call it blond! It is very bright and light and gives the landscape a wonderful glow.

Yes, that is how I remember seeing them, a wonderful glow that is very easy on the eye.


Sometimes Ireland is called ‘the emerald country’, and it is no wonder, it is called this way because of the regular rain, this green is always a most beautiful, fresh and profuse colour. Seen from the sky the landscape does look like an emerald jewel.

So it was no surprise that I found young green foliage today along the side of a country road.  Though early in the year, there are signs of a rebirth, and of green in the hedgerows.  The Fuchsia hedges have brown branches with here and there young leaves opening up.  The ferns are enjoying this particularly wet winter, a delight for the eye, their lacy leaves unfurling with a vigour that would surprise you, though having said that, some of the leaves had fringes of brown.

Nature is waking up slowly, spring can start very early in South West of Ireland.  Even the birds songs are changing just lately.







The lesser celandine plants are almost ready to flower.


A look back at a journey taken last September along the roads of West Cork, and the lovely surprise when we came across some forest, some very old trees, lots of beautiful Ferns also lined the road, there was an old gate, and a large ruin, but I am not sure what the history of it was, and now I am not even sure if it was the road between Bandon and Macroom, but I think that it was. It being September, it was autumn still, the road was littered with lovely shades of coloured leaves. It made this journey magical and beautiful.



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