The first is of surely Ireland’s most magnificent roadside piece of art – The Gaelic Chieftain, by Maurice Harron – located just north of Boyle, one of the prettiest towns in Connacht. Standing proud above the stunning Lough Key below, the sculpture commemorates The Battle of Curlew Pass in 1599. I guess you could say he’s riding off into the sunset.
I’m not going to mention the rubbish that gets discarded here and that Roscommon County Council doesn’t collect often enough.
The second is of one of my favourite spots in the province – perhaps my very favourite. The Carrowkeel cairns sit atop the Bricklieve Mountains of south Sligo. Often, when you visit megalithic sites, it takes more than a fertile imagination to comprehend what you’re looking at. Up here, you simply climb inside and you’re transported back.
Pity some people feel it necessary to leave their little candles behind them. I always carry them away anyway.
The third is sunrise over Ben Bulben, taken from slightly north of the mountain, at Grange. My positioning is not quite right to get the impression of the sun rolling up the mountain. Still, better to have tried and failed than not at all. You get the idea.
Back in October, I was walking along the top of Ben Bulben, from the Glencar Lake side out towards the sea end. The wind was mad.
The fourth, I took along the Shannon flood plains of east Roscommon. These flat lands invite the river to burst its banks every single winter and spill quite some distance from the river bed. I remember about eight years ago when the then N5 between Tarmonbarry and Strokestown was completely cut off by the flood waters, forcing people some 12 miles out of their way. The road has since been moved.
My father used to tell a great story of an English boat owner, who came to Banagher in Offaly to buy a river boat during the off-season. Cock sure of himself, he took possession of the boat straight away and only got a few miles before running aground, not one but two fields away from the river bed.