Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Romantic Ruins

More from our meander along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

I’m not sure why ruins are refered to as romantic, I tried to find out, but I’m not sure I’m any the wiser.  I think I’ll go with the term magnificent ruins, for these buildings are magnificent.

To me they speak of  change and in the case of these buildings, social and political turmoil, but I suppose that’s inevitable if you hang around for a few hundred years.

This is Leamaneh Castle 

Big House Ireland

It stands in private land, and due to its precarious state it’s not maintained.  The orignal tower house is on the right of the next photo, and built-in 1480-90 I’m sure if was around here, someone would have ‘repurposed’ the stone over the centuries.

Big House Ireland 2

This is Garrettstown, this is one wing, there is another wing, but the planned ‘grand house’ was never built, as the cash ran out.  It now forms part of Garrattstown Holiday Park, a stop-over on our travels.

Big House 3

Now this one has more of a romantic look  I think, with a Rapunzel vibe  It’s Newtown Castle, it has been beautifully restored and hosts weddings rather than battles 

Art School

The estate is also home to The Burren Art College, and we had a lovely lunch there, and Spud the dog had the time of his life, about six students (all girls, from the USA) who were on a month-long residency and were missing their pet pooches from back home swarmed over him, he had his tummy tickled whilst we ate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big House 3http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=CO&regno=20912426

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Mizen Head

Ireland’s most southwesterly point, and home to the Mizen Head Signal station, as you can see, it’s an isolated spot that is enhanced by modern paths and an essential bridge (to my mind)

Mizen head view

We didn’t need telling more than once

Dangerous cliff

We were keeping to the paths.

Dangerous cliff Mizen_

Which had their own attractions

Mizen Head orchid rock

 

Mizen Heasd chain

We are duty bound to photograph such feats of engineering, as Joe is studying civil engineering, and like to see a nice bridge.

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The signal station is now a museum, much of its original equipment remains,

Distress_

Mizen_

Along with documents,

Mizen Head Telegram

which kind of looked a bit haphazard, but one hopes they’ve been catalogued

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This was my favourite, an inventory of  tubes and fuses, who need an Excel spreadsheet eh? I like the faux alligator skin print of the cover

Tubes fuses Mizen_

Working here must have been an isolated life, you weren’t going to see a lot from the window, and certainly not the next landfall of America, it does feel like the edge of the world.

last view_

and before the bridge was built, there were only a few ways of leaving.

Mizen Head Rescue

We had the luxury of walking off, although Mr Uphilldowndale, was keeping to the centre of the bridge, and not looking down.

 

Mizen Head Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Conor Pass

The Conor Pass is one of the highest and most scenic roads in Ireland.  The day we drove over, the conditions were good, and traffic was light.  Mr Uphilldowndale had ridden his bike to the summit the previous day, and had not seen very much at all.

Conor Pass

It’s narrow and steep, but whilst I wasn’t driving, I didn’t think it wasn’t as arduous as Hardknott Pass  in Cumbria or Bealach na Ba in Scotland  (I’m sure the weather helped)

Conor Pass rocks

The view was stunning,

Conor Pass sumit

I loved the birdeye view of the ancient croft and sheep pens down in the valley.

Conor Pass walls

 


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Loop Head

Loop Head West Clare, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.  So many beautiful orchids

sm file orchid_

Purple Orchid Ireland 2

Whats not to love?

Heart Ireland_

We were not so keen on the dizzying height of the cliffs, but photographed from a safe distance, you had to admire the geology, its things like this, the folds in this rock, a bedding plane pushed to almost 90 degrees,  that make me feel very small, just a spec in the universe, just passing by, at the whim of forces of untold strength.

rock folds

There was lots of wildlife too

Moth Ireland_

Loop Head, is at the mouth of the  river Shannon.

It’s a popular place to catch sight of dolphins,  the water was heaving with seabirds, and there was a pungent smell of fish,  and those people willing to sit at the edge of the cliff were getting very excited,  we crept a little closer, all the black flecks in this photo are birds either on the water or diving, there was obviousley a large shoal of fish passing through.

loop head.jpg

and the distinctive black shape are of course dolphins. Not very dramatic dolphin photographs, unlike these beauties , I’m leased to say we had  a better chance to see the magical world of dolphins, they’ll get a post all of their own…


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Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018

We stumbled upon  the  Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival, during our road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way,  Mr Uphilldowndale was a happy chappy, a celebration of wood, glue and varnish, the kind of thing that floats his boat.

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018 3.jpg

There was a lot going on, on the water, racing of Currach, a traditional Irish craft, note the oars, or should they be poles?

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018 13.jpg

Historically the boats were made with animal skins, stretched across the timbers, these days canvas is used

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018 7There was much activity around the beautifully restored historic Falklands Islands trading ketch Ilen which was launched at Baltimore in 1926

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There’s a lyrical description of her restoration here

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018 2

There was an atmosphere of concentration and competition, to build a boat,

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018 4

and great to see so many young teams

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Looked like a lot of glue, screws

and refreshments were required.

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A grand day out.

In a welcoming and hospitable town

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018.jpg

 

 

 


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The Burren

(Burren) is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him…… and yet their cattle are very fat; for the grass growing in turfs of earth, of two or three foot square, that lie between the rocks, which are of limestone, is very sweet and nourishing. Edmund Ludlow 1651-52

It wasn’t the kind of landscape I’d ever associated with Ireland, apparently it is a glaciated karst landscape, it’s striking, especially as we’d been fully immersed in headlands, seascapes and lighthouses on our journey along Ireland Wild Atlantic Way. This seemed like a different country altogether.

The Burren_

I do like a a nice bit of limestone, it reminds me of home in many ways

The Burren view

And happy school trips to the likes of Malham Cove, on school geography trips. To look at the limestone pavements, the slabs of limestone, divided by clints and grykes . The Burren pavements.jpg

It looks barren, but there was lots of life. The Burren fren limstone.jpg

And the evidence of life forms past, were clear to see, such as this coral

The Burren coral_

This was back in early June, we thought it was hot that day, I don’t imagine there is much in the way of water left in the rather caustic looking ponds, that were humming with dragonfly, none that would keep still to be photographed though.

The Burren ponds.jpg

This land has been used for animal grazing, since Neolithic times, the walls are later.

The Burren drystonewalls

I have to say that a Derbyshire Gritstone sheep, would laugh at such a filigree wall, and then walk straight through it!

But they must have served a purpose, or they wouldn’t be here now.

The Burren wall 2.jpg

 


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Grave Matters

It’s no secret that on our travels, I’m often to be found in grave yards. I find them a fascinating social history, and wildlife refuges.

Whilst on our trip along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, we thought we’d look up some Mr Uphilldowndale’s ancestors

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Frustratingly, given that we’d already been in about 20 graveyards ,and some of them were very impressive, I have to say; this is Kilmacduagh dating back to the 7th century 

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we found the one we wanted in Edgesworthstown to be locked.

Edgeworths town church.jpg Ahh well, we’ll make an appointment next time.

 

The Irish, take dying very seriously, it’s not  a topic they shy away from. My holiday reading for this trip was ‘My Fathers Wake’ by Kevin Toolis, how the Irish teach us to live love and die  it helped me to read the graveyards in a different way.

You’d never see a sign like this in an English graveyard.

Grave Matters

In England the  neighbours of the bereaved might bring flowers, offer their condolences, but would they offer to dig the grave? No.

The artefacts left at graves, also told a story, and were very different from what you might see in most of the UK, apart perhaps from areas where there is  a large Irish Catholic populations.

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We were a bit worried about Mary, it was 25c, it must be very hot in there.

globe

And when the Irish talk about family graves, they can go back a few generations, with newer  memorial stones added.

later stones

Makes you think, doesn’t it.

the greatest sin