Visits For May, 2009

Sunday, 3rd May 2009

A Nice Walk At The Lakes

My mum came over to see her new great grandson and she likes a nice, gentle walk, so we went to Glendalough for the day. It was also a good excuse to try out my new lens on a variety of subjects: landscapes, monuments and general scenery.

We parked at the gatehouse and walked through the monastic centre and then up to the top lake and to Reefert Church. It was a bit overcast and quite windy in places along the path, but it was a lovely day and a chance to talk to my mum. Great scenery and a walk with your mum who you don't see enough of. What can be better?

Glendalough (Co. Wicklow)Visitor Centre12 New Images

Monday, 4th May 2009

Another Wicklow Bullaun Hunt

I've recently been corresponding with David about bullaun stones. He has been studying them for his Ph.D. (which is a great subject to take on in my book!) and is one of the few people who has seen more bullaun stones than me. He was kind enough to send me some info on Wicklow bullaun stones and after going through it I saw that he had managed to find several that I haven't yet found. There was only one thing for it ... I would have to head out and try to find them again.

I did manage to locate two that had eluded me and I went back to see one that was guarded by a randy bull when I went to see it before. There were two stones that I didn't manage to locate - a small one at Castletimon and a six-bullaun one at Kilmacoo. The Castletimon one has almost certainly been taken by someone. The Kilmacoo stone, reportedly along with a few others at the site, is now under a thick sea of brambles.

Apart from the bullaun stones I did find, the highlight of the day was seeing a sparrowhawk not far from Kilmacoo.

Bahana (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone4 New Images
Ballintombay Upper I (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone10 New Images
Ballintombay Upper II (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone3 New Images

Saturday, 30th May 2009

Achill Island and Mayo - Part 1 of 3

What a glorious weekend! The drive across to Achill Island was a sunny one, but Saturday's weather was a bit hazy on the island, seriously limiting the views from the sites I visited. It wasn't raining and t was very warm, though. Nothing to stop me revisiting sites and hunting out new ones.

I had identified over 30 potential sites on Achill alone to visit, but I knew that many of these would either be gone or unidentifiable in the peat bogs. Some of them are very remote, but these would wait until Sunday.

Today I set up the tent nice and early and then set off to scour the slopes of Slievemor for signs of up to 15 sites. Many of them are now not visible due to gorse or peat cover. I did find a couple of interesting ones, though.

I also revisited the famine village where the notice board mentions a large quartz block on the hillside that is known as 'The Star'. Lovely! This marks the start of the good booley-ing land and a bohereen runs from the village up the slopes towards it. Along this roadway there are many quartz blocks - three of which look like a stone row to me. The notice board also mentions a large boulder at the start of the road with 'Naturalistic carvings on its northeast face'. What on earth does that mean? I couldn't see any markings on it, but I did see a wheatear - a lovely bird.

Keel East (Co. Mayo)Court Tomb10 New Images
Keel East (Co. Mayo)Chambered Cairn6 New Images
Bal of Dookinelly (Co. Mayo)Rath1 New Image
Bal of Dookinelly (Co. Mayo)Court Tomb11 New Images
Slievemore (Co. Mayo)Miscellaneous Site3 New Images

Sunday, 31st May 2009

Achill Island and Mayo - Part 2 of 3

If you look at the OS map covering Achill Island (sheet 30) you will see a megalithic tomb marked on the very north side of the island. You will also see that no roads go anywhere near it and that the only way to it is over a mountain. Guess where I wanted to go today!

First, however, I had some other monuments to look for. Two of these took me to Keem Beach at the extreme west of the island. What a beautiful, beautiful little cove. The drive to it is a bit hairy, mind, but the end of your journey is worth the effort. Up above the beach is the coastguard station and there are several monuments marked in the valley behind this. Sadly, many of them are gone. Only pieces of a mass rock remain now: at least one standing stone has been destroyed here.

To reach the tomb beyond the mountain I chose to walk from Lough Acorrymore, a glacial lake (a corry) that would drop easily into Snowdonia in Wales. This was the second beautiful spot I spent some time at today.

After talking to some people at the lough I left my GPS on the roof of my car and set off on my 5km walk. Yes, I really did leave my GPS on the roof of my car. Credit has to go to all the people who visited the lough while I was walking, and it's a busy place, because the GPS was still there when I returned! The heat of the sun was overpowering and the 2L of drink I had with me wasn't really enough for this tough walk.

Once over the other side of the hill I was at Lough Nakeeroge - the third beautiful place I spent some time today. This lough is located just yards from the coast and will one day disappear as the sea erodes the thin slither of rock that keeps the lough back.

As well as the portal tomb I wanted to visit I found a wedge tomb, a possible stone circle and a group of clochans - presumably an old booleying settlement as the land here is lush and fertile.

Keem (Co. Mayo)Cross4 New Images
Slievemore (Co. Mayo)Wedge Tomb11 New Images
Slievemore (Co. Mayo)Portal Tomb8 New Images
Slievemore (Co. Mayo)Stone Circle3 New Images
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