Glengarriff sits on the upper reaches of Bantry Bay in West Cork. I was lucky enough to spend five wonderful days there last week at a Fiddle Retreat and was able to closely observe the various moods of this sublime waterway. I never actually visited the village of Glenngarriff itself, as my accommodation was tucked away on its own private estate behind the golf course; so private and so quiet that in the time I was there encountered not another soul. other than my fellow residents.
Join me on a walk through this blissful elysium.
Bantry Bay is a drowned river valley (like Sydney Harbour), and its quiet, still protected waters are dotted with steep sided rocky islands sometimes capped with remnant, thick sub-tropical vegetation.
The surrounding forest of magnificent oaks birches and conifers has (where the rhododendron hasn’t taken over) a primeval under-story of forest detritus draped with mosses, lichens and ferns, in places forming a vivid green carpet. There is a bubbling stream of crystal clear water that snakes its way down the steep slope into the Bay, cascading over the smoothed rocks and falling into occasional, inviting, pellucid pools.
Azaleas and camellias add colour. This is only March and the rhododendrons can’t be far away from joining in.
You regularly sight seals cavorting on the shore.
The scene was ever-changing. One moment bathed in brilliant sunshine, then heavy cloud. Frigid weather brought some light flurries of snow flakes drifting to the ground but not settling and then blue skies brought out the singing birds. A Great Tit in an oak tree near the house harmonising with the sweet sounds of the fiddle coming from inside.
Another wonderful hidden gem in beautiful West Cork.