Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Unknown Road . . .

The beginning of my collection of limpet shells, with holes in.

I have had a few days off to explore County Clare a bit more. My friend Jill has been staying for a week and between answering emails and bookings and all my usual admin I have got out and about. Although we are now in October and the light is generally low - we didn't have too much rain and actually had a few days when the sun shone.

We, and several other friends, all adore the lichen on the walls over here. Some if it grows so long it waves at you as you go by! It makes for a beautifully subtle colour palette.
 
 One place that I have been to visit that is quite local to me, 40 minutes drive, is Vandeleur Walled Gardens. 
It has always been highly recommended, and now I have visited this fabulous place, I can understand why. What a treasure to have so close by.
 
The walled garden would be a joy at any time of the year with all the quirky colours and structures. The gardeners are really interesting to talk to, in fact everyone we met was lovely and obviously cared greatly for this wonderful place. The food in the cafe is fresh and made on the premises - and the cakes . .  oh my! Delicious. The most amazing thing about this place is that entry is free. I shall returning again and again. 


Abandoned and untended, the garden was ‘lost’ for many years – but redevelopment of the Garden began in 1997. In 2000, the first flowers were replanted within the walls and the Garden opened its gate to the public – ready to share its secret once more.
The redesign of the garden incorporates the old path system but now contains many new and different plants. The garden features a dramatic red theme – such as the red summer house, benches and doors – to make sure there is bright colour and life, all year round.

Jill following the labyrinth.

Even in October there was colour to enjoy. I loved this subtle pink hydrangea next this grey stone wall.

We chose what we thought might be the best day to have a day out on The Burren. The Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous Grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/Hazel Woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying Springs, Cliffs and Fen. It is a fascinating area to visit. Whilst it is beautiful in the bright sunshine, I do prefer to explore it when the clouds are grey, giving it a mean and moody look. 

This is one of my favourite views.

Wonderful textures.

A photo of the artist in her element, up on The Burren.
Courtesy of Jill Crowther - thank you baby.

We had traveled up to The Burren to find the The Hazel Mountain Chocolate Cafe.  I had heard about it from a local friend. Wow!! What an amazing place - they grind small batch cacao beans onsite to create their own range of chocolate. The chocolate factory is well worth the trip alone. But the cafe - oh my goodness. It has it's own style - just wonderful. The food is splendid, all freshly cooked on the premises with home grown produce.

 
Hazel Mountain Cafe.

Wonderful homemade cakes - note the tea pot lights!

I had the chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and Jill had the carrot cake - both were excellent.

After the wonderful cake we needed a walk and moved onto the next place on our list to visit. 

I am great fan of the beautiful grey stone that is a signature of County Clare. There are many old churches and abbeys in Ireland and several in my area. I  had heard about Corcomroe Abbey and as it was so close we paid a a visit.

 
 
Corcomroe Abbey is situated on the edge of the Burren. It was founded for Cistercian monks around 1195 as a daughter house of the Abbey at Inisloughnaght, Co. Tipperary. The church was constructed in the early 13th century.
It is a beautiful place to wander around and take the usual photos of views through arches. The textures of the stone are fabulous and the grave stones are full of gorgeous lichen.
 
 
 The 13th century carvings are still visible.
 
Wonderful old stone crosses.

We had a great day out. Many of the roads were 'unknown roads' on Google maps. It made us think. Many of the roads we travel in our lives are unknown, but still we take them. Having the faith that all will be well . . . 

***

Back at home I seem to be fixated with my local bay. Ross Bay. It is one of the bays that can be seen from my house. 5 minutes drive.


The local bays have a remarkable geology, known as ice age pavements or turbidites.


There is an abundance of seaweed in the rock pools left when the tide goes out.


Yet more seaweed.

I am paying much more attention to the seaweed now than the rocks and shells. I can happily spend an hour bent over creating compositions and taking photos.

Such a vivid green.

Now that Jill is back home I need to get on with answering emails and bookings for my teaching here next year. My next post will be all you need to know about my teaching here at home in Ireland. I have been here long now to feel that I can now start to share this wonderful place that I have landed in.

***

Hello Jill - back home safe, the rope looks very happy here.
Hello Diana, I hope you get to see the lovely Anne Kelly.
Hello Tod, Seaweed - who would have thought!!! x x 

XXX


4 comments:

  1. A wonderful momento of a wonderful week xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was special, the week that every thing fell into place - it has taken a while, but I am now on a better known road . . x x x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for this post. I have always wanted to visit Ireland and am hoping to in the next few years. I am keeping this email so that I can visit these places when I do. (I am from Australia)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello - I am glad I am doing my bit for Irish tourism. I do so love it here. We cant guarantee the weather, but everything else is wonderful. x

      Delete