Monday, 21 August 2017

21st August 2017 - Slieve League cliffs - Killybegs - Sligo - WB Yeats

Monday 21st August 2017

54 degrees 10.065N
08 degrees 27.251W
Sligo, Ireland

We are now ensconced in a different sort of B&B…

heathery hill 
Last night we had a whole glamorous cottage, all tricked out in green, red, black and cream.  Here we have a small bedroom with a bathroom down the hall, and a free table in the little dining room.  (It is much cheaper…)

I am quite happy with this arrangement.  The bed is comfortable and clean and the bathroom, while some way down the hall, is for our use only – all of the other rooms have ensuites.

Beach at Glencolmcille - there were 167 steps to go down there and it was blowing a gale...
We have had a fascinating day.

Pete direction the photography from the car
I have taken lots of pictures because – beauty!

But they have come out very dark and gloomy…

because the weather is ghastly!

I very providently bought two umbrellas in the pharmacy at Killybegs – Pete was sure I wouldn’t find such a thing in this little town but – really?  No umbrellas for sale in such a damp place??  He was WRONG!  Mind you the umbrellas are very small and flimsy…

I popped them into my bag when we started the (4k, approx) walk up to the cliffs of Slieve League. 

And they came in very handy; it started to pour when we were a long way from the car.

It was a fabulous walk. 

My favourite photo of the day
We were drenched after our walk and went to the Ahoy CafĂ© in Killybegs, which was warm and cosy and redolent of tasty fishy meals.  Happy!

We were very happy to see so much purple heather adorning the hills, valleys, mountains.  It is just glorious.

And the peat is fascinating – they are still digging it up, for fuel.  They use machines now; it much have been cold, damp, horrid work for men (women??) with spades…

I thought we should listen to Irish music in the car, and hauled out my computer which is, surprisingly, full of Irish stuff.  The Fureys, the Corrs, the Chieftains, Luka Bloom, Christy Moore, the Waterboys, Capercaillie, Feargal Sharkey etc etc.  I have not yet gone through the whole catalogue!  Along the way we saw posters – Christy Moore in concert!  How fabulous would that be?? But…this is in October.   We will be long gone.

We are in Yeats country so I played the Waterboys: An Evening With Mr Yeats compilation.  And then we went to a small church and looked at his grave, with its bleak epitaph…

This is a fabulous, wild, beautiful bit of country.  (But…horrible weather!  I do have some understanding; Tasmania can also produce horrid summer weather.  Maybe not as bleak as this, however!)

Sunday, 20 August 2017

20th August 2017 - Belfast to Donegal - Killybegs - Dunkineely - Belleek pottery - Castel Caldwell

Sunday 20th August 2017

Wild Atlantic Way cottage
54 degrees 27.216N
08 degrees 17.474W
Wild Atlantic Way Cottage
Donegal, Ireland

Rowan berries in their thousands
We were sad to leave our very comfortable place in Belfast, full of hospitality and welcome but…it was time to move on!

In the late afternoon yesterday Liz and I went for a last glorious walk along the River Lagan towpath, and up onto the tracks on beautiful green hills.

Thank you Google
She took me to the Giants Ring, a small stone henge set in a very large perfect circle, constructed in 2700BC.  It was too big to fit the whole thing on my camera so I stole a drone image from Google.

The henge is on the right...on the left is a black dot which is actually a large black dog running joyfully across the grass
The farmland here is so very green and luscious – hard to believe there was such wholesale famine after the potato blight.  The cows are fat and happy, crops burst out of the ground, the trees grow tall and leafy.

We left more or less in sunshine but before long it was drizzling gently – hence all of the greenness!

It was of course all extremely pretty, with lovely little villages and fabulous farmland along the highway.

We stopped to have a short walk into the forest where the ruins of Castle Caldwell are shrouded in greenery.  The castle was built in the 1600s, I think…(1612-19 actually – thank you Google!)

Our pretty Ford Fiesta rental car posed nicely near the castle gates.  Pete loves it much more than he loved the Italian Panda.  I loved one of the stories we heard from our Belfast friends.  When Judith was a little girl her father was driving behind a Fiat Panda.  She was learning to read at the time, and said, with a bit of concern, “Oh look!  There is a Flat Panda!”

The Caldwell Forest is just gorgeous.  And Donegal seem to be looking after it very well.  Ivy has been strangling the tall trees, and a team of foresters has gone in to cut it off at the pass.  Good to see!

We were very amused to see a car confidently parked RIGHT across a big wooden gate with a big sign saying…PLEASE DO NOT OBSTRUCT ACCESS.  This car couldn’t have blocked the access more if it had tried!

Our next stop was the Belleek factory.  (No I hadn’t heard of Belleek fine china…I have now!)  We looked at the amazingly intricate ceramic lacework and marvelled…And then we watched a short video where they showed how the artists actually create the baskets, bowls, lamps, wolfhounds etc etc.  Fabulous!  NO I do not want ne!  For a start I can’t afford one; also I can’t cram one into my tiny travelling pack… (And maybe this much prettiness is not really my style…)

We ended up in Killybegs, a very pretty town, home to a very big fishing fleet with the biggest fishing boats we have ever seen.  

We saw a young seal bobbing around and gushed nicely.  Always happy to see wildlife!  But…I don’t like to take the shine away from Killybegs…BUT yesterday one of my daughters met up with a leopard seal on the beach 100 metres from her house in Cremorne… (Tasmania Rules!!  And just look at those teeth…)

So now we are holed up in a very pretty airbnb cottage in Dunkineely, near Killybegs.  It is very nice but…it cost $133 for the night and there is no breakfast… I do expect a bit of toast for $133! 

Tomorrow we are going to look at some big cliffs and some more Irish beauty, and then we are going to Sligo for the night – to a much cheaper airbnb which does provide breakfast…

Loving Ireland, north and south!

But meanwhile back in Tasmania…here is Leo, aged 11…