Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bleak Beauty in the Rebel County

I've been travelling around Ireland a lot with the new job.  It's good - I love travel, all the strange unexpected moments that flip your thoughts totally back-to-front when you're in the middle of thinking about something else.

Yesterday was a doozy - Dublin, to Mallow, down to Blarney and Cork, on to Clonakilty, and then up through Dunmanyway to Bantry.  The plan *had* been to get back from Bantry up to Clare, and stay there for an evening or daybreak surf before heading back through Ennis to Dublin.  But, in my naivety I completely misjudged the Bantry to Limerick section, and ended up having to halt in Limerick for the night.

While Bantry to Limerick wasn't fast, it was (the first part particularly), awe-inspiring.  The section near Bantry is kind of what I'd imagine the isle of Harris would look like if it just kept raining so hard for so long that eventually stuff just started growing on the rocks.  A strange, lush bleakness.  Or a bleak lushness.

Anyway, my route from Bantry (I've latterly discovered) took me within a mile or two of the legendary Gougane Barra.  Gutted now that I didn't take the turn when it was signposted, but I had no idea how close I was.  Which sort of explains why it was so spectacular, *and* why I wasn't getting anywhere fast.

In any case, there was one moment of quick halting the car on the trip - coming in to Macroom, I glance out of the drivers window, and there's a vast area of lake studded with dead tree trunks.  Or a massive field of dead tree trunks flooded with water.

Strange, alien, surreal, amazing.

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