Visits For June, 2004

Sunday, 6th June 2004

A Wander Through Nature\'s Best - Day 1

The first day of two wandering across the Burren, stopping evey few minutes to marvel at some small part of nature that goes to make up its incredible whole.

Walking here is very tiring. You have to pay attention to every step you make. Looking down at your feet so much not only makes you see all the amazing flora here, but makes it so much more exhilerating when you pause, look up and see a view across limestone pavements and huge craggy mountains looming up in front of you.

Today was a day of revisits as well as getting to some new sites. My wife, Uta, joined me for this trip. She's never been to the Burren until now: needless to say she was thrilled by its eco-diversity-in-adversity. Everytime I walk 10m across a piece of the Burren I am amazed at how much life there is crammed into the eroded gulleys - I'm stretching way back to my school days here and seem to remember that this kind of pavement is actually called 'Clint & Gryke'. Presumably the grykes are the gulleys.

As well as the flowers that form crazy patterns in the grykes like 1970's carpet or wallpaper, the fauna here is amazing too. All day we were tormented by cuckoos - we even saw one. A pigmy shrew, a hare and so many different species of birds also payed a role in our travels - special thanks go to the hare (always a star player) and the skylarks: They really are doing so well in Ireland this year.

The vast variety of creepy crawly things and things with wings deserve a special mention too - you guys were great!

Shandangan (Co. Clare)Dubious Site4 New Images
Killinaboy (Co. Clare)Sheela-na-GigAwaiting New Images
Parknabinnia (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb7 New Images
Parknabinnia (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb6 New Images
Commons North (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb2 New Images
Leana (Co. Clare)Dubious Site2 New Images
Leana (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb8 New Images
Leana (Co. Clare)Cairn4 New Images
Leana (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb4 New Images
Leana (Co. Clare)Dubious Site3 New Images
Creevagh (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb3 New Images
Cahercommaun (Co. Clare)Stone Fort5 New Images
Gleninsheen (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb3 New Images
Gleninsheen (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb3 New Images
Caherconnell (Co. Clare)Stone Fort3 New Images

Monday, 7th June 2004

A Wander Through Nature\'s Best - Day 2

We found a campsite near Doolin and settled in. A short wander down a track and across two fields took to a spot overlooking a cliffy, craggy coastline where we watched the sun go down over the Arran Islands to the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks below, sending up huge plumes of spray. Does it get any better?

After a well deserved sleep and before doing any megalith viewing we decided to go and see the Cliffs of Moher. Wow! They're impressive, but I found the crowds of tourists very oppressive.The charge for the car park is outrageous too! The 'Visitor Centre' is a shop ...

So, from the packed and hectic tourist-trap at the cliffs we set off north to get away from it all. One small townland, packed with tombs (and a bonus cashel) would take us 5 hours to explore. The curcuit was about 2.5 km, but walking across the Burren-esque landscape constantly in awe of what nature has going on up there and looking down upon Galway Bay and over to the Arran Islands really slows you down.

Stoolery Hill (Co. Clare)Standing Stone2 New Images
Ballynahown (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb5 New Images
Ballynahown (Co. Clare)Hut Circle1 New Image
Ballynahown (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb3 New Images
Ballynahown (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb3 New Images
Caherdoon (Co. Clare)Stone Fort1 New Image
Ballynahown (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb9 New Images
Kilmacduagh (Co. Galway)Round Tower2 New Images

Sunday, 20th June 2004

Running Around Then STOPPING!

Today's site list is going to look like I did loads, but in reality I was at just four locations, but each of them have multiple monuments.

It was a pretty 'churchy' kinda day, but I did finish with what quickly became one of my favourite sites to date. It was also a pretty mixed-up kinda day weather-wise, but I struck lucky and managed to dodge the worst of the rain.

Why did I STOP? When I reached Longstone Rath I was gobsmacked! What a truly amazing and magical place it is. Three years I have been waiting to visit the site and it was worth every moment of torment. When I arrived I stopped. I stopped and soaked it all up.

St. Munna's Church - Taghmon (Co. Westmeath)Sheela-na-Gig7 New Images
St. Manchan's - Lemanaghan (Co. Offaly)Church7 New Images
St. Manchan's - Lemanaghan (Co. Offaly)Bullaun Stone2 New Images
St. Manchan's - Lemanaghan (Co. Offaly)Bullaun Stone2 New Images
St. Manchan's - Lemanaghan (Co. Offaly)Holy Well2 New Images
St. Mella's Cell - Lemanaghan (Co. Offaly)Church3 New Images
Gallen Priory (Co. Offaly)Church14 New Images
Forenaghts Great (Co. Kildare)Church1 New Image
Longstone Rath - Forenaghts Great (Co. Kildare)Henge9 New Images
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