Posts Tagged With: sun

Oysters and Trad Music. And sunshine. Sound like Ireland?

May Day weekend in Ireland is one of the busiest music weekends of the year. There is too much choice and if you live in the west you probably think of going to the Cuckoo Fleadh at Kinvara or the festival at Louisburgh. I am sure the Carrigaholt Oyster and Traditional Weekend does not come into your consideration. Well it should.

To be honest I didn’t even know it existed until I prepared the listing of Festivals, which you can find elsewhere on this blog (A Feast of Festivals) but I decided to eschew the larger festivals and the jam packed sessions and head south to this tiny village.

Carrigaholt is not a name that immediately springs to mind and, in fact, I suspect that many, even Clare, people only have a vague notion of where it is, tucked away in the very south west of the county.  Many visitors come to nearby Loop Head but most, indeed including myself, seem to miss Carrigaholt.

I was attracted by the mention of oysters among other things.  Just love fresh oysters.  Sunday arrived with a clear blue sky and a positively balmy 15 degrees so guess where I went.

Carrigaholt is located on the shores of the Shannon Estuary but is a struggling village, like many in the west of Ireland. Population of the village itself is down to 40 and I am told that of that there are only two children. There are four pubs, a small shop inside one of them, a restaurant with brilliant food and a gift shop. But not much else. Oh, and there is Carrigaholt Castle, one of the most elegant tower houses in Clare, which sits on the water’s edge, and a stunning coastal drive towards Kilbaha with some beautifully exposed geology as well.

IG3C4618

The imposing entrance gate to the Carrigaholt Castle

IG3C4676

Another view of Carrigaholt Castle ruin.  One of the most beautiful in Clare.

IG3C4816

West of Carrigaholt on the Coast Road.  Pink Thrift in the foreground and Loop Head in the distance.

IG3C4825

Gently folded strata.  Looking across to Loop Head

IG3C4840

Stunning scenery on the Coast Road from Carrigaholt

Yet for this weekend the streets were jammed and the pubs crowded. Little local festivals like this are the heartbeat of the traditional scene and mean so much to these isolated villages and I love them. I found myself as possibly the only person in town who had traveled there specifically and who didn’t have some connection to the village. Most were either locals, former residents or family visitors. But I was welcomed fulsomely; like joining a family party as the long lost cousin from Australia.

The weather helped of course. Everything was out on the street. An early so-called Junior Session was the first event of the day. ‘Junior’ is the wrong word. The session was led by members of the Maguire family from Wicklow and the music was anything but kid’s stuff. I was stopped in my tracks by Aiofe Maguire doing a concertina solo that showed a truly phenomenal mastery of the instrument. Playing with her were sister Emma on fiddle and Sean, still only 11, wowing all with his fiery bodhran playing. I had another chance to see them later in the day at the Long Dock.

IG3C4705

The ‘Junior Session’.  Some were more interested in other things

IG3C4697

Aoife and Sean Maguire on the street at  Carrigaholt

IG3C4998

The Maguires perform in front of the Long Dock

IG3C5008

The Maguires

IG3C5017

Robbie Walsh with Emma Maguire

The afternoon and evening was filled with sessions at all four pubs. Mainly local musicians from the district, including members of another talented family from west Clare, the Brownes, with some sensational sean nos dancing in the street from Colm Browne.

IG3C4852

In my element.  Thanks Pat Keating for the photo.

IG3C4861

Sean nos dancing on the street from Colm Browne

IG3C4952

Colm Browne with grandfather Tommy Browne.  A musical dynasty continues

I watched a bodhran workshop on the street led by the renowned Robbie Walsh and his Bodhran Buzz. I had to fight mightily the temptation to grab one and have a go but I resisted.

IG3C4900

Joining in the Bodhran Buzz

IG3C4909

Wherever you can find a seat

And later I joined Clare musicians Geraldine and Eamonn Cotter and their extended family for a marvelous couple of hours of tunes and songs.

IG3C5095

The Cotter family plus

Everyone was clearly enjoying themselves in their own way but for some ice cream was the order of the day.

IG3C5036

Totally absorbed.  A family day out.

IG3C4883

I scream and you scream.

IG3C5158

Let out of the Convent for the day or a very Irish Hen’s Party?  Your call.

IG3C5188

Paparazzi.  Can’t escape.

 The party continued at Keane’s Pub well into the night but after 9 hours of playing I made a quiet exit and left them to it.

IG3C5163IG3C5167

Oh and by the way I got my free plate of delicious local oysters!

IG3C4846

Fiddling with oysters

Categories: Festivals, My Journey, Real Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Big Freeze. March 2018. My Story.

What an extraordinary event.

Gotta say I’m not used to snow.  Not used to the feeling of flakes on your face or the biting wind or the stunning beauty when the sun comes out.  Or the slushy wetness that soaks through your boots and trousers and gets tramped through the house.  Or digging the snow from your front door. Or being stuck in your house. Or the vicissitudes of stupidly taking a remote boreen just as a snow shower starts.  I’ll come back to that last one later.

The snow came from that annoyingly named freak weather condition known as ‘The Beast from the East’ which blasted frigid air across continental Europe and over Ireland. It arrived in West Clare on a Wednesday, the last day of February 2018. But it turned out that that was just an entree to a full three course meal which came Thursday and Friday and continued to Sunday.

But first this ‘Beast’. Where did it come from? And why was it so devastating? As a geologist I make a pretty poor meteorologist but those that do know about these things said the whole thing was triggered by a periodic event called “sudden stratospheric warming”. This involved a huge rise in air temperature of around 50ºC in an area about 30 km above the Arctic (the stratosphere).  The origin of this actually goes back to severe cyclones in January in the Pacific disturbing global weather patterns. A true ripple effect. Anyway, this warming weakened the jet stream and forced cold air from western Russia towards Ireland.  Temperatures on the ground in the Arctic were 20ºC above normal, while Europe experienced lows of -15ºC in many places.  And then to complicate it there was Storm Emma which headed north from Portugal.  When it hit the cold air, blizzards, gales and snow were the result.

Where I could, I tried to record the event with my camera and words. Here is a personal account of how it all unfolded around my little part of West Clare.

Wednesday 28th February 2018

We knew it was coming. Temperatures had been way below normal for days and the web was alive with warnings.  Yet I had no idea exactly what was in store. Just two weeks earlier I was chasing all over Ireland to Louth and Armagh and Kerry and Wicklow and Connemara because of snowfalls there. Now it was here in my front yard.  It was snowing when I awoke and it continued to snow.  I was excited enough to venture out around 9am.  The snow wasn’t heavy; just a few centimetres so I figured there would be no real problems except that is that the weather accompanying this snow was truly living up to the appellation that is the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’.  I headed to Spanish Point Beach, braving snow showers and bitter wind.  I’ve seen this beach battered with giant waves, covered in froth and foam and perfectly still with nary a ripple. Never though with white snow meeting the yellow sand. It was not comfortable as mini blizzards would sweep in between the sunshine. Nevertheless I was totally entranced and happy.  The showers faded during the day and though the temperature hardly went above zero, the snow melted by the late afternoon and the streets of Miltown Malbay returned to relative normality. This turned out to be a temporary reprieve.

IG3C3178

Snowstorm on Spanish Point Beach. Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3177

Spanish Point Beach, Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3219

Bell Bridge House Hotel.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3253

Mouth of the Anagh River.  Looking across to Caherush.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3259

Bridge over the Anagh River.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3274

Spanish Point Beach. The sun shone briefly.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3296

Spanish Point Beach.  Looking from the Armada Hotel.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3348

The Clogher Road.  Looking towards my cottage.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3371

Caherush.  Low tide. Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3377

Mutton Island.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3398

Caherush looking towards Quilty.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3231

Miltown Malbay  Wednesday 28 February 2018

IG3C3236

Miltown Malbay.  Wednesday 28 February 2018

Thursday 1st March 2018

I woke up reluctantly poking my head above the sheets with the temperature hovering at -4ºC.  A quick look out the window showed a complete white-out. It was a stunning sight. I love how you don’t know it’s happened during the night. So quiet unlike a rain storm pelting on the slate roof and rattling the windows.

The rocks and cliffs of the bay at Caherush were covered with a thick white carpet and it was still snowing with some vigour.  Around 9am it brightened and it stopped snowing.  I rugged up and took a walk up the Clogher Road.  I was joined by the neighbour’s dog, Valdo.  Briefly. This was much too exciting;  he had better things to do and left me to my meandering. The sun broke through the clouds and its rays made the hills gleam.  My neighbour Michael Talty, stopped his car for a chat. He was heading to Kilrush for some tractor parts. A farmer doesn’t stop for a bit of snow.  So of course I didn’t refuse the invitation to join him. I think he quickly regretted it as I had him stop at Quilty where the snow, the water and the sand united to create a magic world. Mutton Island sat like an iceberg off the coast. I had to photograph them.

As we left Quilty and headed south, there was only a light dusting over the fields. This part of West Clare had escaped the heavy falls that we had experienced. Business done, followed by an hearty breakfast in Kilrush we headed back north to Caherush.

We were passing O’Looney’s lovely pub just a few kilometres from Quilty at Molosky. Stop! I exclaimed as I caught a sight, out of the corner of my eye, of the falls at the Annageerah River. They were frozen! Michael waited patiently as I clambered over a gate and headed across a slushy snowy field to photograph the incredible sight of ice sheets draping the rocks and icicles clinging to wherever they could; where normally water flows. So lucky to see it.

Back home to the Clogher Road which by now was starting to thaw.  It was 2 pm and still -1ºC. The temperature never got to zero during the whole day

Encouraged by the condition of the roads on our journey, I cleared the snow from the car and headed north through Spanish Point along the coast towards Lahinch. The air was clean and crisp and the sun was making a good fist of doing its daily job but the thick cloud resisted. Nevertheless the bucolic landscape had become a patchwork of white fields and the coastline was now the White Cliffs of Clare. The views coming into Lahinch were unfamiliar but truly jaw-droppng. Though thick here across Liscannor Bay the fields were green. The snowfalls were obviously quite patchy.

I continued to Ennistymon. I wanted to see the Falls here.  Would they be frozen?  Well no they weren’t and they were quite subdued, as we hadn’t had a lot of rain for a week or so but they were framed with snow on every exposed rock with icicles hanging from branches and protected crags. The Falls Hotel looked like an alpine resort

A few flurries of snow were appearing now. I love that word ‘flurries’. Not one you get to use very often. Time to head home. Why didn’t I just stick to the main road? It had been treated with salt and grit and was perfectly clear. I was lulled I think into a false sense of safety. So with the help of Google, I took a back route to Miltown Malbay, it wasn’t long before I got into serious trouble. It was only a small hill. A narrow single lane boreen. With a hedge on the left and a ditch on the right. I knew I had to use a high gear and travel at a decent clip but I lost traction very quickly and found myself half way up the hill and going nowhere. Under the snow was a layer of ice. With wheels spinning I couldn’t go forward. With no brakes, reversing was pretty scary. I honestly don’t know how I got out of that. Reversing back down the hill and using the gears to slow down, the wheels went wherever they wanted.  One minute I slid into the hedge. Straightening up then I would head towards the ditch. It was probably only 200m of reversing first down the hill then back up another but it took forever until I came to a farm gate. The drama still wasn’t over as it took many goes slipping and sliding all over before I edged the nose of the car into that refuge and was able to turn around and drive home. To my warm fire and a few relieving tunes and a glass of the small.

That was some day but the wires (as we used to call it before the wireless world took over) were full of dire warnings of another storm. Emma was arriving and would collide with the Beast and batter us with wind and massive snowfalls. Code Red all over the country.  Bread and milk had disappeared from the shops. This really was serious.

IG3C3484-Pano

Panoramic view of Caherush bay.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3462

Caherush Bay at low tide in the snow.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3459

My cottage on the shore. Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3496

More snow.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3504

Caherush Bay Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3546

Mutton Island.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3547

Sugar Island and Quilty. Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3590

The sun breaks through. Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3624

Joined on my walk by Valdo.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3627

Joy.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3628

Looking down the Clogher Road.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3664

Driving into Quilty.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3667

The Quilty Shore I.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3672

The Quilty Shore II.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3675

Quilty Shore III.  With Mutton Island in the distance.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3716

Breakfast at Kilrush.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3739

The snow falls again at Annagreenagh Falls, near Quilty.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3758

Annageeragh Falls.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3764

Annageerah Falls.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3818

View towards Cliffs of Moher from Spanish Point.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3828

Near Spanish Point.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3877

Near Lahinch.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3890

Lahinch. Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3899

Moy House.  Lahinch, Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3909

Cliffs south of Lahinch.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3920

Fenceline and cliffs.  Lahinch. Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C3945

Lahinch. Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4008

The Falls at Ennistymon. Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4048

Falls at Ennistymon.Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4142

Looking towards the Falls Hotel on the Inagh River at Ennstymon.Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4199

Icicles I .  Ennistymon.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4225

Icicles II.  Ennistymon.  Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4352

Icicles III.  Ennistymon.Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4248

Icicles IV.  Ennistymon.Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4110

Icicles V.  Ready to drop.Thursday 1 March 2018

IG3C4377

Frozen grass on the menu today. Lahinch. Thursday 1 March 2018

Friday.  2nd March 2018

It would reek havoc they said.  And they were right about that! Friday morning saw a thick cover of snow over everything with drifts up to a metre. We, in Clare though,  seemed to get off rather lightly. The east and the south of the country were lashed with ferocious snowstorms. Back here in Clare, snow piled up against my door, just like in those movies set in countries where they have real winters.  It was obvious I was going nowhere today, so I settled in with a warm fire to wait it out. Even if I wanted drive anywhere the Clogher Road was not going to cooperate. It continued to snow all day. I ventured out in the late afternoon as the snow eased. The tide had come in and the ocean was tranquil with the bay in front of my house looking surreal with its brilliant white ‘beach’ all the way down to the high tide mark. The car remained in a drift and I went nowhere. No thoughts of a session and in any case most pubs were shut. Marooned. Like millions of others across the Once Green Isle.  Who knows how much fell? I heard a figure of 40cm but I would say much more in some places.  At least it had stopped.

IG3C4451

My cottage.  Marooned.  Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4467

Going nowhere.  Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4490

The Clogher Road.  Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4530-Pano

Caherush Bay at high tide.  A surreal calmness.  Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4401

My front patio.  Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4406

The ‘beach’ at Caherush.  At my front door.  Low Tide.Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4435

Caherush. Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4499

The ‘beach’ at Caherush.  At my front door.  High Tide. Friday 2 March 2018

IG3C4515

The Clogher Road.  Friday 2 March 2018

Saturday. 3rd March 2018

More snow overnight but by the morning all was quiet. Temperatures were up now with a maximum of 2ºC for the day. A veritable heat wave. I was still going nowhere. The predicted rain didn’t arrive but by the afternoon I decided the snow on the roads had started to melt sufficiently to venture out again. Roads had a lot of snow in massive drifts, sometimes two metres high, and in many places were down to one lane. Those roads that were treated were passable but venture off the main roads at your peril. I’d learnt my lesson.  Most residents who live up narrow lanes were were still stuck.  My route again took me to Lahinch and Ennistymon.  The snow was still thick and extensive but the melt had started.  Lahinch golf course was more whites than greens and it was easy to become blaze about the stunning beauty all around.  Snow was still everywhere in Ennistymon, Lahinch and Miltown but the ploughs had been through and it was now more of a hazard to pedestrians.  Businesses were starting to reopen.  Life goes on.

IG3C4576

The Clogher Road is now passable. Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4599

Welcome to Quilty Holiday Cottages.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4631

The Bell Bridge Hotel and beyond.  Spanish Point.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4644

Caherush.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4651

Behind the Strand.  Clogher Road.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4658-Pano

Panoramic view of Surf City Lahinch.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4667

Ennistymon. Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4725

Blake’s Corner. Ennistymon.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4752

The Inagh River and Ennistymon.   Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4767

The old Railway Bridge over the Inagh River,  Ennistymon.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4789

Lahinch. Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4810

Snow dunes, Lahinch.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4827

Lahinch Castle.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4843

The Golf Course at Lahinch..  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4871

Lahinch  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4875

Another view of the Castle.  Lahinch.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4883

The estuary at Lahinch. Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4892

Snowy hills above Lahinch Golf Course.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

IG3C4921

Miltown Malbay.  Saturday 3rd March, 2018

Sunday.  4th March 2018

No snow last night and finally the real thaw started. It still only got to 2ºC maximum all day but the lure of a music session at lunch time in Ennis was too much for me to resist. The Clogher Road was mostly clear now. Mikey Talty was, like many, shoveling snow off the road in front of his house. I stopped for a chat.  Mikey had been living here for over 80 years. “Have you ever seen anything like this before?” I asked. “Aah yes” he said. “When I lived in the States”. 

Grinning I went on my way. Ireland does get heavy snow every few years. But not so often in these low lying coastal areas such as West Clare. The road to Ennis goes over Slieve Callan and the snow was thick in the hills and again there were drifts, metres high, meaning it was a slow trip. The music at Cruises Pub in Ennis was fantastic, with a huge crowd, desperate for a circuit breaker from the travails of the last few days. I returned about 5pm and it was still felt more like a journey through the alps rather than rural Ireland. I wasn’t ready to go home and called in at Hillery’s, for the regular Sunday evening session.  Life goes on.

IG3C4935

Mikey Talty, resident on the Clogher Road for 82 years clears away snow.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C4937

Snow drifts on the road to Inagh.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C4947

Heavy cover of snow remains.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C4961

Even the windmills stopped turning.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C4966

Lonely cottage at the food to Slieve Callan.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C5172

Switzerland? or Ireland?  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C5183

The boreens were starting to clear.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C5207

Looking forward, looking back.  Mt Callan.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C5100

Enjoying the craic at Cruises Pub in Ennis.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C5229

The snow melts in the fields on the Clogher Road.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C5232

Caherush.  The rocky bay is returning to normal  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

IG3C5237

Almost gone.  Sunday, 4th March, 2018

Monday, 5th March 2018.  

It wasn’t quite over yet. Still the predicted rain never arrived and most of the snow on the lower ground had retreated but I knew it was still lying in the uplands.  Maybe the Burren would be worth a visit.  I wanted to see it.   Temperature was still around 2ºC in the morning as I set out but by the end of the day it had risen to 5ºC.  So I drove to Poulnabroun and then to Ballyvaughan and back through Carran.   It took all day.  It was cloudy and misty so not ideal but walking in the stillness of a snowy Burren was something truly special.  So quiet with hardly a soul on the road and those that were seemed to be heading somewhere else. A privilege to see it like this. I encountered a few busloads of tourists and they like me were the lucky ones.   The dolmen at Poulnabourn was looking resplendent and I viewed the wonderful stone walls literally in a different light as they stood out framed by the whiteness of the snow and the sky.  See if you agree with me.  The hills actually had a lot more snow than was apparent from a distance with the clints and grykes retaining the snow where it had melted elsewhere.  The Turlough at Carran, a wondrous geological feature  had plenty of water, though much of it appeared to be covered with ice. I imagine a couple of day earlier you might have been able to walk across it. By the way turlough, along with drumlin and esker are the only three words of Irish origin that I know that are  used worldwide as geological terms.  Thick snow was still on some of the Lanes but the snow ploughs were out and about so I imagined most would be passable.

The event that had dominated Irish lives, closed schools, airports highways and even pubs, isolated people for days and created timeless memories was over.

And that seems a good place to end this story.

IG3C5243

Plenty of snow on the way to the Burren.  Monday, 5th March 2018.  

IG3C5261

Poulnabroun Dolmen.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5282

Poulnabroun Dolmen.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5316

Near Poulnabroun Dolmen.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5351

Burren scene.     Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5378

Burren.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5388

Burren.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5419

Burren.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5462

The tourists still come.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5518

Burren. Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5568

On the way to Carron. Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5580

Still heavy snowdrifts.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5589-Pano

Carran Turlough.Monday, 5th March 2018.

IG3C5599

The Turlough. Much of it is still frozen.  Monday, 5th March 2018.

Here are some pictures of those wonderful stone walls:

Tuesday 6th March 2018

I thought I had finished this blog but it was much brighter this morning and by the afternoon the sun was returning.  The temperature soared up to 7ºC.  Out my kitchen window the paddocks were pretty much free of snow.  Not Mt Callan.  It looked glorious (despite those windmills) with patches of sun glistening off it.  I had to go up and take a closer look.  There was plenty of snow so, sorry, a few more pictures.

Almost a week.  A week I won’t forget.

IG3C5625

Mt Callan.  The view from my kitchen window. Tuesday 6th March 2018

IG3C5639

Ruined cottage.  Road to Mt Callan.  Tuesday 6th March 2018

IG3C5642

Behind Miltown Malbay.  Tuesday 6th March 2018

IG3C5644

Mt Callan. Tuesday 6th March 2018

IG3C5656

The Summit.  As close as I could get.  Tuesday 6th March 2018

IG3C5679

Abandoned barn.  Mt Callan. Tuesday 6th March 2018

IG3C5693

The roof of the world.  Tuesday 6th March 2018

IG3C5717

Situation normal.  The gulls have returned to Caherush.

IG3C5708

A bird’s eye view.  Tuesday 6th March 2018

Categories: Real Ireland, Wild Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Connemara Colours. Winter in the Maumturks.

Sometimes you get lucky.

On a Saturday late in November I made a quick trip to Galway to attend a concert in a friend’s house in the heart of Connemara. Now as readers of this blog will know I love the many moods of Connemara and relished the opportunity to spend a little time there. The weather is not always kind however.  You can expect mist on six out of ten days. But if you spend enough time in this surprising country occasionally you are well rewarded.

I had heard reports of snow but had no real expectations. I was not prepared for what awaited me though as I drove a circuitous route in and out of Galway and Mayo between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask.

Near the village of Cong (famous for its association with the Quiet Man, but I will be quiet on that for the moment),  I saw snow on the ranges to the west.  So of course I headed in that direction along the shore of Lough Mask until I reached the village of Finny.   The white shrouded backdrop above the little yellow church were now within reach.  These are part of the Sléibhte Mhám Toirc (or the Maumturks).  Not so well known as the Twelve Bens, which lie on the other side of the Inagh Valley, they are less rugged but with their brilliant white caps reflecting the sizzling sunlight they were no less spectacular.

As the sun and clouds and rain and mist fought for dominance an amazing winter palette was in full display.  Everything contributed.  The sky, the hills, the snow, lakes and rivers, stone walls, pastures and paddocks.   The snow caps would change from grey to dazzling white and then glow golden orange with the descending sun.  The sky was at once black then blue as the storm passed, the hills were orange, brown, red and green.  The country sparkled.

I was lucky and happy.  To be in such a stunningly beautiful place where a world class vista was around each corner.  And so grateful that I could capture some of those fleeting moments with my Canon.

Words are irrelevant.

IG3C8848IG3C8859IG3C8887IG3C8927IG3C8969IG3C8992IG3C9024IG3C9061IG3C9070IG3C9078-PanoIG3C9100IG3C9122IG3C9181IG3C9213IG3C9232IG3C9248IG3C9255IG3C9269IG3C9275IG3C9310IG3C9336IG3C9347IG3C9366IG3C9381IG3C9401IG3C9408IG3C9427IG3C9433IG3C9462IG3C9514IG3C9529IG3C9555-HDRIG3C9690IG3C9717

 

 

Categories: My Journey, Real Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Árainn Mhór Island. Donegal in a Day.

Arguably among the most beautiful counties in Ireland is Donegal. It is a different reality to the postcard bucolic scenery of Kerry or the treeless wilderness of West Clare but it is no less arresting. Visitors come to Donegal for a different experience. For me its the rolling russet-red hilly boglands, granite strewn boulder fields, jagged and sparkling quartzite hills, deep-blue loughs, whitewashed cottages, steep cliffs disappearing into the windswept spray, empty beaches, its fishing villages and maritime heritage, the language, its raw climate and its welcoming people. But Donegal is a big county and it can be hard to get around especially with the limited time many visitors allow in their rush to see everything. But I’ve found somewhere that has all of that and more wrapped up in a 22 square kilometre package that sits just a 15 minute ferry ride off the coast.

This is Árainn Mhór (Arranmore). Donegal’s largest inhabited island it was a complete unknown to me until I got a message from my friend Pauline suggesting we meet there for a day’s exploring.  Just one of those whims that makes Ireland so unpredictably delicious.   She lives on another special island, Achill in Co Mayo, and was looking for a break and, in the fashion of all true island residents, where better to go than another island? So I instantly agreed of course and made the trek from Co Clare arriving on a wet cold morning at the ferry terminal at Burtonport at the appointed time. Well, as is often the way with things in this country, Pauline’s car died so she never made it.  Having lost my guide and companion I headed over anyway with only the vicissitudes of the weather and the narrow winding boreens to lead me on my discovery.

I was captivated from the moment the ferry left Burtonport.  There are two ferries run by two companies.  Known to everyone as the Red or the Blue.  I took the Red. The port was busy enough but only with those who eke a living along the Donegal coast.  Children on the way to school, a delivery of Guinness and a little dinghy loaded with some of life’s other essentials presumably  headed to one of the remote islands.  We picked our way between these small rocky islands dotting the narrow channel.  Many of these islands have houses which I guess for the most part are holiday retreats.  It is only 5 km before we head into the Ferry port at Leabgarrow.  just as the Blue ferry in uncharacteristically, for Ireland, perfect time made space for us at the wharf.

IG3C0058

The Red Ferry heads out from the port of Burtonport

IG3C0020

Essential supplies for life on a Donegal island

IG3C0075

Can’t tell if it’s coming or going.

IG3C0114a

Towards Árainn Mhór

IG3C0142a

IG3C0226a

Approaching Leabgarrow, the ferry terminal at Árainn Mhór

I love this bit. Arriving at a place you’ve never been and know nothing about. Do I turn left or right?  Well I drove off the ferry and headed south and as I did the rain miraculously stopped, the sun burst through and the island glowed. This would be repeated all afternoon. Dazzling sunshine and stormy showers with even a bit of hail and of course wind. I shouldn’t go on about the weather because this is Ireland after all but as I was dead keen to try and capture the island with my camera I was concerned about the light and the rain and my freezing cold hands.  The south coast provides winding roads which snake through the hills giving views of seascapes across to the mainland and passing though hamlets  clinging to the hillsides and strung along the roadway.  Stone-walled paddocks flow down to the rocky shore.

IG3C0341IG3C0366IG3C0389

IG3C0427

As it turned out the island put on quite a light show. With the sun coming and going, the light changed every few minutes. You couldn’t plan; you just had to be ready to catch those fleeting moments.

The dominatingly dark greyscape would disappear and the sea would be lit by a fan of radiating beams streaming under the clouds.

IG3C0362IG3C0347

When the sun shone for those brief moments it would dazzle.  The real colours of the Donegal palette were displayed and intensified. The red and brown grass, deep blue lakes, sparkling rocky outcrops, sinuous black roads,  green paddocks and white cottages. IG3C0522IG3C0531

IG3C0421IG3C0437

Then the wind would be so strong it would blow the mist back over the land or even reverse the flow of rivulets making their way to the sea.

IG3C0637

IG3C1049aaaa

And the rain sweeping in across the ocean would provide interplay with light and dark, waiting for the hand of a skilled painter. The weather was so confused that at one point we had just a beautiful hint of rainbow and an approaching rainstorm juxtaposed.

IG3C1123

The weather can’t make up its mind

IG3C1196

Storms arrive on the east coast

IG3C0831

Storms arrive on the west coast.  Mainland visible in the distance

IG3C0843

Green Island off the west coast of Árainn Mhór

IG3C1189

Looking across towards Errigal

The south coast provides winding roads which snake throught the hill giving views of seascapes across to the mainland and passing though hamlets  clinging to the side of the hill and strung along the roadway.  Stone-walled paddocks flow down to the rocky shore. Then the road turns north and with a few hairpin bends rises to take you to an elevated bog land underlain by granite. That soon changes to quartzite hills – jagged and chaotic. The one lane road meanders across this magic land and you feel anything could happen. And it does.

IG3C0366

IG3C0400

village of Torries at the south of the island

IG3C0506

IG3C0462

Enter a caption

IG3C1232

Quartzite hills

IG3C1211

Bog land and granite

I see a figure in the distance walking in my direction. Due to our respective speeds it takes some time for me to reach him. He is wearing a reflective bright yellow jacket and dark glasses. And carrying a stick. Of course that is not unusual in Ireland but a closer look showed him waving the white stick in front of him. He was blind. This was kilometres from anywhere mind you. He stopped as he heard my car approaching and pulled to the edge of the road. I stopped and greeted him. “Lovely day isn’t it?”  he said. In his defence the sun was shining at that time. “Sure is”. A few more words about the weather and the chance of more rain and then quick as a flash he came back “Where are you from?”. I gave him the potted version and we had chatted briefly. It was clear then that he had had his fill of this outsider and wanted to continue his walk.  I watched him steadily and confidently stride away musing on the inner strength that many have to carry on a normal life especially, or perhaps because of, living in such a remote place.  A truly unexpected encounter.

IG3C0511

Off for a walk

The ‘ring road’ as it is known continues past the island reservoir which has a monumental sculpture immersed in the water and topped by two flags, one of which is the US stars and stripes and the other appears to be an Irish flag but missing the orange. It just looks like someone has cut the orange off.  But if any of my readers know more I’d be grateful to know.    The memorial remembers the terrible hardship of the Hunger in this part of Ireland and how many who were evicted escaped to Beaver Island, of similar size on Lake Michigan in the US. There have historically been strong links continued to this day.

IG3C0624

Memorial to the victims of the Famine and links to Beaver Island.

Every island worth its salt has a lighthouse. The elegant white and red structure was built in 1859 to replace a light first erected in 1798. It is still operational but not attended.  Indeed the former keeper’s residence is now a Bed & Breakfast.  In summer.

IG3C0750

IG3C0772

IG3C0727

The cliffs at Rinrawros Point

IG3C0745

The light and its exposed location at Rinrawros Point, atop jagged cliffs, reminded me of the precarious maritime history of this island. There is a plaque in the ruins of the RNLI building (Royal National Lifeguards Institution) on the south side of the island which chronicles the sea tragedies of the island and it is truly sobering.  From the death of Tom O’Donnell in 1839 and subsequent tragedies, many of which involved multiple loss it has been a rough existence for the Arranmore islanders. And how hard it must have hit some families as names such as Gallagher and O’Donnell which names regularly appear. Worst of all was the Arranmore Disaster when 19 lost their lives in a small boat trying to make it through the passage from Burtonport before the encroaching dark.  As I write this I suddenly realise it was 52 years to the day since this devastating event 9th November 1935. Most of those lost were Gallaghers, many form the one family, with 15 of them returning from working in Scotland.

IG3C1649

arranmproc3[1]

A poignant photo of the funeral for the victims of the Arranmore Disaster

 The fishing industry has been the backbone of life on Árainn Mhór. Which makes it all the sadder to see the abundant evidence everywhere of the decline in its fortunes and the ripple effect this has had on the island.  Just near the ferry port two fishing boats stand by the roadside, decaying reminders of the current circumstances.

IG3C1509

Abandoned fishing boats at Leabgarrow.

 

Alleged overfishing by island fishermen, paradoxically while EU super-trawlers vacuum up the sea floor beyond the 12 mile limit, Euro intervention and a ban on salmon fishing.  There are now only four fishing boats operating out of the island.  Previously I mentioned the RNLI building, which I thought initially was a church. Closer inspection revealed its real use.   Surrounding it is a sea of stacked lobster pots eerily reminiscent of a graveyard, which it clearly is, and piles of gossamer like netting resting against its walls. On the nearby jetty sits another decaying fishing boat leaning against the pier for support, in one last attempt to stay afloat.  It is very sad to see and testament to a forlorn hope that perhaps there will be better days .

IG3C1599IG3C1608IG3C1620

IG3C1652

With the permanent population continuing to decline to around 500 since its peak in the 1940s (around 1,400), tourism has become the main ‘industry’.  But tourism is seasonal. When I visited in the first week of November there were no hotels open. One large Guest House was for sale.   Early’s Pub, the only restaurant on the island,  only opens on the weekend. The other pub served only toasties (though they were delicious). BnB’s have virtually shut up shop. I was the ONLY overnight visitor on the Island. I am pretty sure of that.  And if it wasn’t for the help of a local resident who was able to contact Annie who kindly opened her BNB for me, I would not have been able to stay on the island.  It is hard to see three months of summer visitors being a viable alternative industry.  If you are going in the off season and I recommend staying at least one night, just arrange accommodation first.

IG3C1493

I’ve spoken of the changing light so I was in high hopes of a classic sunset. While inconveniently placed clouds thwarted me nevertheless the backlighting of orange light provided some remarkable cloudscapes. At time it was like the clouds were alight flames flaring upwards into the night sky and rays of orange directed down to the earth.

IG3C1289

Sunset behind cloud

IG3C1282

Clouds aflame I

IG3C1340

Clouds aflame II

IG3C1337

Glowing thunderheads

And fourteen hours later the display was repeated when I was rewarded for getting up early (7:45 am) with a spectacular sunrise before the clouds descended and killed the show. And then as if to say “Ok.   You’ve had your fun”, rain descended.

IG3C1491IG3C1441

IG3C1459IG3C1451IG3C1435

In all I only spent 24 hours on the island. Enough? Not really. I ‘saw’ everything I suppose but I only got just a little taste of the true feeling of the place.  Pauline, any time you want to try again. I’m up for it.

IG3C0659

IG3C1580

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

Giant Steps

Giants CausewY pAnorama 1

The Giant’s Causeway is on every visitor’s must see list on the island of Ireland. For lots of different reasons. It’s a beautiful place on a beautiful coast, It has mystery and mystique. It is intriguing and enigmatic. That’s why over a million people a year visit.

It is located in Northern Ireland in a part of Antrim known as The Causeway Coast.  I have been there twice in the past year – in January 2017 in the depth of winter and in September. Both times I was gifted with marvellous weather.

For me as a geologist it was like worshipping at a holy shrine. So I thought I would put together a few of my observations from the two trips.  Apologies if this is too dry for you but you can skip the words and just look at the pictures.

So what are we talking about here?

The Causeway is part of an extensive coastline exposing thick basalt flows.  The scenery is nothing short of spectacular with sweeping bays and jagged cliffs stretching as far as the eye can see.

 

IG3C1241

The Causeway Coast looking west with Giant’s Causeway in the foreground.  

IG3C1248

The coastal path from the Causeway to the Chimney Tops past the Organ Pipes

IG3C1423a

View west showing Causeway and Chimney Tops in the distance.

IG3C9835

Giant’s Causeway is on the right and the Camel Rock on the left.

 

The Giant’s Causeway is most famous for the spectacular columns, or more correctly ‘columnar jointing’ in the basalt. The origin of the columns has historically caused all sorts of consternation. Our forebears did not believe such regular shapes could be created naturally. So if it wasn’t the work of the Almighty then it must have been Finn McCool. Hence the legend of the Irish Giant constructing the causeway to engage with his counterpart in Scotland, Fin Gall.

 

Giants Causeway 3

View from the clifftop down onto the Causeway.

 

 

IG3C9907IG3C9903IG3C9882

IG3C0976IG3C0961

And he left evidence didn’t he? In his haste to get back to Ireland and escape from his giant nemesis, Finn McCool lost a boot which remains to this day adjacent to the Causeway. There is a more prosaic explanation and I’ll return to this later.

 

IG3C1038

The Giant’s Boot

 

The Causeway came to the attention of Science however in the late 17th century and right through the 18th century it was the focus of intense debate as to its origin. Geological science was then in its infancy. Two intensely opposed schools of thought developed. The Vulcanists, who believed the columns were basalt solidified from lava and the Neptunists who said that all rocks including basalt were sedimentary and formed in a great ocean. The Giants Causeway was at the centre of this debate. So it is one of the most significant places in the history of the geological sciences. That debate has long since been resolved in favour of the Vulcanists

We now know, however, that the columns are caused by cooling cracks that developed at the bottom of a lava flow where it was in contact with the cooler rock beneath. As the lava continued to cool these cracks slowly propagated up creating regular, generally six-sided (though they can have from three to seven sides), columns. These regular columns are called colonnades. The hexagonal shapes are caused by the joints tending to be at 120º to each other. At the exposed tops of the flows cooling was more rapid where there was contact with air and water, so the jointing was irregular and blocky. This type of jointing is called entablature. You can see this very clearly in many places especially at the, so called, Organ Pipes

 

IG3C0876

Regular hexagonal columns

IG3C0947a

Columns with 4, 5, 6 or 7 sides.

IG3C1130a

Columnar jointing

 

 

IG3C1117

Spectacular columns at the Organ Pipes

If you look closer at the columns you will see that in addition to the regular vertical joints that create the columns there is also another set of sub horizontal joints which slices each column into regular segments. These were created by the release of stress during contraction within the columns.

 

 

IG3C0989

Horizontal jointing

 

The really intriguing thing is that when these columns break along thee horizontal joints to form the rock platforms they are in fact ont horizontal.  Usually they are either  beautifully concave or convex and the segments fit perfectly together in a ball and socket arrangement. The concave joints are easily spotted on the rock platform as they retain pools of water.

 

IG3C9908

IG3C9880

Detail of column surfaces.  water collects on convex surfaces

 

The columns make an impressive display whether on the rock platforms or in the cliffs.  There is a formation at the eastern end known as the Chimney Tops. If the illustration attached from an 1888 book is accurate, then the chimneys are considerably smaller than they were in the 19th century.   I suggest you go and see them before they disappear.

 

IG3C1229

Chimney Tops 2017

 

Chimney-Tops-Giants-Causeway

Chimney Tops 1888

 

 

 

 

 

It is easy to see how the Neptunists thought the basalts were of sedimentary origin.  There is a distinct layering which could be mistaken for sedimentary banding. Of course it represents different lava flows.  particularly confusing is a distinctive orange red layer in the middle of the cliff.  It is known as an Interbasaltic Formation; a laterite horizon, and is caused by the basalts below it being exposed to weathering for a considerable time before the upper series of basalt flows were deposited. It also suggest a warmer climate at the time as laterites require tropical conditions to develop. It is composed mainly of clays and is rich in iron and aluminium (most other elements were leached out) and has been mined for these ores elsewhere in Antrim.

 

IG3C9965

Layering in basalt flows

IG3C1232a

Interbasaltic laterite

 

 

IG3C1171

Laterite in detail

 

Within this laterite hori\on you can see relicts of the original basalt as paler partially weathered rock. There are also some excellent examples of preserved circular structures representing earlier spheroidal weathering within the normal basalt. This is caused by water percolating down vertical and horizontal cracks eventually creating rounded blocks. It is also known as ‘onion skin’ weathering.

Oh I forgot.  Finn’s boot.  It’s actually a glacial erratic, deposited by a retreating glacier at the end of the last Ice Age (about 10,000 years ago). Much more boring explanation.

 

IG3C1045

Giant’s boot.  Glacial erratic

 

I know I’ve gone on about the rocks but the spirit of the place is palpable.  The only word I can think of is Romance,.

IG3C9962IG3C9909

Romance and Rocks.  What a combination.

 

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

The Flaggy Shore and Aughinish. Make the time.

IG3C7889

Just a short distance off the N67 which tracks the northern coast of Clare as part of the Wild Atlantic Way is the Flaggy Shore. This is the perfect spot to see the Burren meet the Bay, in this case Galway Bay.  A sweeping stony shoreline with a backdrop of the bare purple hills and the lush green fields beneath.

IG3C7648IG3C7663IG3C7852

 

IG3C7746IG3C7717

Look north across the bay, now calm and peaceful and you see the villages of Galway clinging to the coast and beyond this the misty silhouette of Connemara and the Twelve Pins.

 

IG3C8056

Cliffs of Aughinish in the foreground and the Twelve Pins on the horizon

 

The place has a permanent spot in Ireland’s psyche thanks to one of Seamus Heaney’s most celebrated poems, Postscript.

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other ……

Heaney in describing how the poem came to him said:   “I had this quick sidelong glimpse of something flying past; before I knew where I was, I went after it”.

He has said it beautifully of course so I won’t try and improve on those words.  All I can do is attempt to give that feeling in pictures…

IG3C7920IG3C7909IG3C7905

There is no beach, as such, at Flaggy Shore. Just boulders, pebbles and rocky outcrops. But a walk on the strand will well reward. You can stroll along the roadway or explore the limestone platform in the littoral zone.

IG3C7697

This is the best place in the whole of Clare to observe the coral fossils that make up such a large part of the 350 million year old layers. Huge colonies of branching corals (fasciculate lithostrotionids) are sliced at various angles revealing themselves from all perspectives.  Their true branching form can be seen often in section on the rock face. Sometimes the colonies seem completely intact and measure over a metre across. If you have been to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland it is easy to imagine the warm shallow sea that was once home to these corals and the teeming life that surrounded them.

 

IG3C7585

Planar sectional view through a coral colony

IG3C7656

Large fossil coral colonies on the rock platform

IG3C7655

Excellent view of coral colony showing branching and dendritic form. About a metre across.

 

If you look hard you will see long straight grooves etched into the rock. These are called striations and are caused by the movement of a glacier which smoothed this landscape around 10,000 years ago. Rocks trapped in the ice were dragged along the bottom scouring these cracks. We are able to measure the direction of movement of the ice sheet using this evidence.

 

IG3C7588

Glacial striations on the rock platform at Flaggy Shore

 

If you like watching sea birds, you are in the right place.  As well as gulls, this time of the year starlings gather in flocks and search for food on the sea shore. These murmurations can number thousands of birds and when performing their acrobatic gyrations they make one of the truly spectacular sights in nature. They swoop and soar and flit and glide in perfect concert. It’s only when you freeze this motion with the camera that you see how perfectly aligned is the movement of each individual bird. I could watch them for hours.

 

IG3C7822a

Starlings I

IG3C7793

Starlings II

IG3C7857_1

Eyes left

IG3C7858a

Eyes right

 

Aughinish Island, just a few hundred metres across the calm water, is comprised of glacial deposits left behind by the retreating ice as the continent warmed. The Island was originally part of the mainland but a devastating tsunami caused by an earthquake in Portugal in 1755 separated it. The British built a causeway in 1811 to service the troops manning the Martello Tower (built to protect Ireland from Napoleon). It is still the only access to the Island.  The one lane causeway actually connects Aughinsh to County Galway which paradoxically means the fifty residents on the island and the occasional vistor who stumbles on this place must travel through Galway to get access to this part of Clare.

 

IG3C7934

The causeway built to access Auginish

IG3C7947

Peace I

IG3C7950

Peace II

IG3C7984

Peace III

 

For the ‘tourist’ looking for a quick fix there is not much to take you to Aughinish.  But it is a place to walk and breathe.  Where the quiet ambience is tangible.  It has a feeling of calm so unusual for the Atlantic Coast.  You will be unlikely to meet anyone except a farmer attending to his boggy field or another collecting seaweed blown in by Hurricane Ophelia.  But you will get stunning views across the inlet and if you are lucky enough to see the sun disappear behind Black Head you may not want to leave.

 

IG3C8005

Looking across the inlet from Aughinish to the village of Ballyvelaghan

IG3C7988

A Martello Tower built in 1811 to defend the Irish coast from the French.

IG3C8011

Lengthening shadows

IG3C8014

Evening serenity I

IG3C8036

Evening serenity II

IG3C8064

The shoreline on Aughinish.  The softest most comfortable grass you will ever find.

IG3C8079

Vivid red growth on the tidal flats

IG3C8094

The high tide mark left by Hurricane Ophelia which exploded the previous day. 

IG3C8231

Collecting seaweed

 

 

IG3C8053

Life on Aughinish

 

As usual I will let my camera have the last word.

IG3C7981

IG3C8293IG3C8310

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

An Apology to Turlough O’Carolan

Driving through Keadue in the very north of Co Roscommon, as I was on this crisp, clear Autumn day, you are reminded everywhere of Turlough O’Carolan. There is what seems to be a new sculpture in the main street of this spotless town with a harp at the centre and there is a Heritage Park with monuments to the man. A carved coloured stone with the music for Sí Beag Sí Mór sits in a rotunda that looks out over the village to the Arigna Mountains.  And if you come back in August next year you can attend the 40th O’Carolan Harp Festival.  Though born in Co Meath, the blind harpist and composer lived in and around Keardue/Ballyronan so this is definitely O’Carolan Country.

 

IG3C2815

The village of Keadue

 

 

IG3C2791

Tribute to O’Carolan?  newly installed statue in Keadue.

 

And just out of the village, there is the Kilronan Cemetery where he was buried. The elaborate entrance proclaims this with a carved stone mounted over the gate.  His grave lies within the family crypt adjacent to the ruins of the Abbey.

 

IG3C3007

Entrance gate to the Kilronan Cemetery

IG3C3009

Detail of the front gate.

IG3C2999

Kilronan graves

IG3C2984

Kilronan Abbey ruins.

 

The sun was shining when I visited and of course I had to take a ‘selfie’ of me playing Sí Beag, Sí Mór at the grave site. Now I am not a superstitious person but I swear that as I played the last note a black cloud came from nowhere and filled the sky. The heavens dumped for about three minutes as I retreated to the safety of my car.

 

IG3C3018

The headstone of the grave for Turlough O’Carolan. 

IG3C3028

Sí Beag, Sí Mór

IG3C3034a

One minute later the heavens dumped.

 

I get the message, Turlough. I have to admit that a friend warned me not to do it. Now seriously, I’m sure it wasn’t the worst you have heard, but I promise never again.

Sorry.

If you’re in that beautiful part of the world. Go visit. Just don’t play Sí Beag, Sí Mór.

Categories: My Journey, Stories, Trad Irish Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.