While we all love to view the spectacular sights and experience the wonderful places, often it’s the simple pleasures that we enjoy the most.
Like sitting on a rock, in silence, and watching the seals go about their daily routines. Or sharing a forest track with a hare for a surprisingly long time. Or coming across a fox in the middle off the road after dark, sitting on his hind legs as a dog would. Indeed, when he eventually noticed my approach, that fox jumped up, left the road and took up the same sitting position on a narrow garden wall.
I’ve always loved autumn.
As is my wont when I have a bit of spare time, I recently went to a wood I know near Lough Key Forest Park to look for some deer.
Aasleagh Falls is a tiny but celebrated waterfall at the head of the Killary, Ireland’s only true fjord, in south County Mayo. The very beautiful Erriff River tumbles down the couple of metres, before babbling over rocks and into the sea just beyond.
St Kevins Way in Wicklow was the target as I left Mayo in the dead of night recently. A supposed pilgrim’s path, St Kevins Way travels some 25 km from Hollywood in the east of the county, over the Wicklow Gap and down into Glendalough, the great monastic city of the Wicklow mountains.
Corraun is kept attached to the Irish mainland by rocky boggy land to its east, barely 800 m wide. Off its western shore, meanwhile, a channel just 150 m wide holds Achill Island at bay.
Rather than simply moving along The Bangor Trail and then veering left, while out for a hike last week, I decided to leave the village of Bangor Erris, cross over the modest summits of Knocklettercuss and Maumykelly and head for the peak of wonderful Slieve Carr beyond.
Our hedge gives us great joy, especially during spring and early summer. As much as I’d love to live out in the wilds of Mayo, maybe under a mountain or by a lake, with a wooded area nearby, unfortunately this isn’t the case. At my semi-urban home, the hedge separating our house from the open fields beyond, with her Ash, Whitethorn, Bramble and wildflowers, is my little bit of nature.
Raftery the Poet, of 19th Century Mayo, was blind from childhood and spent his life playing tunes on the fiddle, creating and singing songs as he wandered the West of Ireland. Born in Killeden, near Kiltimagh in east Co. Mayo, around 1779, Raftery would lead a nomadic existence, much of it in the Loughrea area of Co. Galway, where he died in 1835. He is buried near Craughwell.