Posts Tagged With: Conor Pass

Dingleingdinglelingering. Living on the Hedge.

So what’s the word for someone from Dingle? Maybe a Dingleling?  Sorry about that.

And what if someone from Dingle spent a relaxing day touring the Dingle Peninsula? Well that would be Dinglelingdinglelingering wouldn’t it?

Well enough of this silliness.  I am not a Dingleing but I would be quite happy to be.

7th August 2017.  The weather forecast said scattered sunshine and showers. That was like a gold-plated invitation to spend the day outside. So I decided to go Dinglelingering.

The weather forecast however, luckily, was wrong. There was NO rain and lots and lots of sun. So a quick trip around the Peninsula saw me and my very worthy photo assistant for the day, Sophia, from Bavaria, a first time visitor to Ireland, doing a quick tour over Conor Pass to Dingle, Ballyferriter, around the Slea Head Road to Inch and back to Tralee.

The scenery is of course astonishing and a huge contrast to the magical winter wonderland I posted on my blog in March.

Link to dingle-peninsular-the-irish-alps

Here’s a few samples from the most recent visit. Glorious panoramic views from the Conor Pass;  an elevated glacial lake way above the road;  truly spectacular striations on the bare rock caused by glacial action; the coastline along Slea Head, Inch Beach; a busker, lots of tourists.  Tourists yes but thankfully not the stream of buses you get in the Ring of Kerry.  But after all it is August.

Dingle Panorama 2

Dingle Panorama 3

Elevated glacial lake above the waterfall on the Conor Pass

Dingle Panorama 4

View from tht top of the Pass.

IG3C8031

colours in the floor of the lake

IG3C8035

Glacial striations on the edge of the lake, caused by movement of ice.

IG3C8040IG3C8043

IG3C8059

The water exits the lake by this narrow channel.

IG3C8061

IG3C8129

Lakes on the valley floor.

 

IG3C8334IG3C8361IG3C8368IG3C8422IG3C8430IG3C8467aIG3C8478

 

IG3C8485

Beehive huts from 2,000 BC

IG3C8518

Detail of a hut wall

IG3C8551

Beehive hut wall and roof.  Corbelled.

IG3C8630

Inch Beach

IG3C8658

Inch Beach

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about in this blog.   I want to focus here on what I think is the highlight of a summer soirée in this part of Ireland.

Living on the Hedge.

I can’t speak for the rest of Ireland but Clare and Kerry are in late July and early August absolutely ablaze with a riot of colour lining the roadside. This is my fourth summer here but I never noticed this intensity of flora before. This year has produced magnificent displays of wild flowers. We had it earlier in the Spring with the Spring Gentian and orchids carpeting the Burren and then the incredible Whitethorn and now this vivid show.

Hedges are a major feature of the Irish roadside if you leave the N’s, particularly if you travel the byways – R’s and L’s. Most of the year you don’t notice them. A drab and featureless tangle of green or in winter, seemingly dead and leafless.  And then the rest of the year, they are vigorous and compete with the tarmac making the roads considerable narrower.   And they can block your unimpeded views of the countryside.  But it’s a different story when they are in flower.

IG3C8284a

IG3C8316

So here in Dingle I decided to have a closer look. This particular boreen is a part of the Cosán na Naomh or Saints Road, an 18km pilgrimage road to the foot of Mt Brandon.  The magnificent backdrop is of the coast around Ballyferriter with the Three Sisters being prominent.

IG3C8270

The hedge is a layered pastel of orange, red, white, yellow and purple.  I was intrigued and wondered how much of this display was endemic.  I knew fuchsia wasn’t. What about the rest?

IG3C8253

So here is a bit of a rundown of the most obvious plants that make up this display. I’m sure I’ve missed heaps as I am not a botanist but it’s what my eyes and camera were drawn to.

Fuchsia.  Fuchsia loves Ireland. I struggled to grow this back home in Australia. Too dry, too hot, too much sunshine.  But here those issues are not a problem. You don’t see the many exotic varieties just the one purple and blue single bell shaped flowers.  Of course the flowers are exquisite and despite its origin in Chile the bush has been so naturalised that it is the Cork county emblem.

IG3C8245

Fuchsia

Wild Angelica. Standing out against the orange and red are the white many rayed umbels of this tall perennial. A native of Ireland

IG3C8286

Wild Angelica

Brambles/Blackberries   One of the pleasures of Ireland is the gathering of blackberries from the roadside. No worries about spraying as in Oz. This time of the year the brambles are flowering and developing berries.  A taste of what’s to come. You have to look hard among the verdant growth but soon they will dominate.  Native to Ireland but a pest in Australia.

IG3C8257

blackberries

IG3C8308

Blackberries

Wild Carrot  A tall erect plant with a cluster of white flowers. Native.

 

Centaury. Small 5 lobed pinkish red flowers, somewhat overpowered by its neighbours. Native

IG3C8229

Centaury

Tufted Vetch. A splash of purple on long stalked racemes. Not so common here but ver abundant.  Native

 

IG3C8301

Tufted Vetch

Montbretia.   The most startling plant. Long strap like leaves and multiple flower stems with bright orange funnel like flowers. I love the way this plant is described as a Naturalised Garden Escape.  So definitely not a Native.

IG3C8196

Montbretia

IG3C8312

Montbretia

Meadowsweet   Creamy-white scented flowers. 5 petals. Tall erect plant.  Native

Common Knapweed / Hardhead   Flowers are red-purple on erect stems.  Height to 1m.  Native.

IG3C8247

Common Knapweed

Hawksbeard.  Splashes of yellow among the reds oranges and purples.  Clusters of small yellow flowers with erect buds. Grows to about a metre.  Native and very common.

IG3C8240

Hawksbeard

IG3C8254

Hawksbeard

 

So, turns out most of the plants are native. But and here’s the big but. The two dominant plants of the roadside are the Fuchsia and the Montbretia and both these are introduced. The hedges without these two plants would be very different and I’m guessing would be dominated by brambles with the other plants struggling to get a foothold.

If you are visiting Ireland in Summer, do take time to stop the car and have a look.

Categories: My Journey, Wild Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dingle Peninsula. The Irish Alps

I have blogged about Dingle quite a few times and posted many photos. Even the name has a delightful ringle to it.  So what else could I possibly say about it?  But. There’s the thing about Ireland. There are always surprises and you can go back time after time and each time it’s like you’re there for the first time.

It was the end of February and my annual pilgrimage to Ballyferriter was completed (I have written about this Festival in previous years and it delivered yet again). It was time to go home. I’d been up that night until 4am playing tunes with wonderful people whose friendship is renewed every year.  That’s what’s great about Festivals.  It’s not just the music.

Anyway, during my short time in bed I lay awake listening to the wind lashing and the hail thrashing. A wild night.  Next morning it was calm and there were patches of sun, so I decided to head around the Slea Road back to Dingle, one of my favourite drives. I’d had Aidan Connolly in the cd player all weekend so it was time for a change. I stopped to retrieve a new CD and something made me look back towards Mt Brandon. I was stunned by the view. Completely shrouded in snow with Ballyferriter nestled at the bottom. This is what I saw.

kerry2_154

Mt Brandon, the third highest mountain in Ireland looms over Ballyerriter.

A quick change of plans and I headed the other way making the instant decision to return via Conor Pass.

Perhaps a little foolhardy but the weather looked ok and I doubted I would get another opportunity like this. It turned out to be an inspired decision. As I got closer to the pass the patchwork of paddocks gave way to a carpet of white.  The weather came and went in waves as I headed up the hill.   I was greeted at the top by another snowfall. But also enough sun to revel in the alpine glory. I was in the heart of the Kingdom and I had been granted admission to the Palace. I was lost for words and I really can’t describe the feeling I had immersed in this wilderness.

On this occasion I will let the camera talk. And talk it will. Loudly. Driving over the top and down Conor Pass, there were surprises with every turn in the road . I headed to the villages of Cloghane and Brandon and out to Brandon Point and then returned along the coast to Aughacasla. All the time snow clad ranges framed the views.

Please enjoy these photos of an Ireland rarely seen.

kerry2_157

The green fields of Kerry on the road up the Conor Pass, from Dingle, turned progressively whiter,

kerry2_160

and whiter,

kerry2_159

and whiter,

kerry2_167

and whiter.

dingle-4

The view from the top.

kerry2_172

Heading down the mountain

kerry2_2

Corrie lakes in the glacial valley

kerry2_10

The start of the steep bit! Or the end if you’re coming down.

kerry2_13

kerry2_14

And then…..

kerry2_18

It started to snow.

kerry2_26

It’s not easy to photograph snow.

kerry2_30

At the bottom of the pass is this view towards Mt Brandon.

dingle-1

And the light kept changing.

kerry2_34

This is still Ireland.

kerry2_38

The Irish Alps

kerry2_41

Slieveanea from the base of the Pass

kerry2_51

Approaching Cloghane

kerry2_55

A view of Mt Brandon near Cloghane

kerry2_56

Cloghane with Mt Brandon.

kerry2_57

Mt Brandon looms above Cloghane Church

kerry2_61

Mt Brandon

kerry2_66

The sun shone

kerry2_69

The road from Cloghane to Brandon

kerry2_70

looking across the bay to Beenoskee

kerry2_72

And then it was raining

kerry2_75

Fenced in

kerry2_78

The mountain disappears in the mist

kerry2_85

View from the pier at Brandon

kerry2_86

The pier at Brandon

kerry2_89

kerry2_90

Another view across the bay towards Beenoskee

kerry2_92

Incongruity.  Surfers in the bay.

kerry2_100

Colours.

kerry2_105

The village of Brandon

kerry2_109

kerry2_115

Cappagh Strand near Brandon village

kerry2_116

View across Brandon Bay and Cappagh Strand

kerry2_126

Cappagh Strand

kerry2_131

View from Cappagh Strand back towards Mt Brandon

kerry2_139

The village of Cloghane

kerry2_142

Cloghane or have I been teleported to Switzerland?

kerry2_147

The hills are alive with the sound of……

kerry2_150

A last view of Mt Brandon.

Categories: My Journey, Wild Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trip to Ballyferriter. Over the Conor Pass.

I had  been to the Dingle Peninsular three times before and each time the weather was so bad I was warned off crossing Conor Pass.  Not this time.  I am off to a music festival in Ballyferriter and as I crossed the water to Kerry via the ferry from Kilimer there was glorious sunshine.  And then there was rain.  And then sunshine.

I could see the Slieve Mish mountains and they were snow-capped and so enticing I decided to risk the Conor Pass.   I pulled into a garage to fuel up and the guy behind the counter in a rich Kerry brogue says,  “So where are you headed?”  “Dingle”.  “Ahh.  You’ll be going over the mountain then.” I could only agree.

IMG_8555IMG_8561IMG_8607IMG_8628IMG_8635

The Pass is the highest in Ireland.  It is a winding,  often single lane road and  buses are banned.  At one point the road climbs continuously for over five kilometres.

It didn’t take long for the cloud to descend and by the time I reached the Pass it was snowing.  Just light wonderful flakes drifting hither (and thither).  Not enough to settle.  My fingers were numb but I clicked away furiously.  It was around 1oC but I was charmed by the beauty.    The landscape had been scoured by glaciers in the most recent Ice Age and all the features I had learnt about at Rock School were there.  U-shaped valleys, tarns (or as they are known here corrie lochs), a string of them in fact (called a paternoster) and moraines and deposits of glacial till.  One corrie sits well above the valley floor in a perched valley (cirque).  There was a perfect glacial pavement with striations caused by the scraping of rocks carried along the bottom of the glacier.   Check the photos. Aside from being a geological wonderland it was a place of extraordinary beauty.  The one lane road crept up the mountain to the top of the pass where to the north I could see Castlegregory and across to the Blaskets and to the south Dingle stretched before me.

IMG_8668

Conor Pass.  Glacial moraine in the foreground.

IMG_8676IMG_8732

IMG_8775

Glacial pavement with striations, Conor Pass

IMG_8809

Corrie lakes, U shaped valley, cirques.  Conor Pass

IMG_8834

Top of Conor Pass

IMG_8874

How hard is it to build a straight wall?

IMG_8887

View towards Dingle from the top of the Conor Pass

 

 

On to Ballyferriter and I was greeted by an intense hailstorm .  Just a couple of minutes but enough to create a temporary whiteout.  Four seasons in one day.  Was I in Melbourne?

I will talk about the music festival that took me to Ballyferriter in my next blog.

Categories: My Journey, Wild Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.