Our hedge gives us great joy, especially during spring and early summer. As much as I’d love to live out in the wilds of Mayo, maybe under a mountain or by a lake, with a wooded area nearby, unfortunately this isn’t the case. At my semi-urban home, the hedge separating our house from the open fields beyond, with her Ash, Whitethorn, Bramble and wildflowers, is my little bit of nature.
Raftery the Poet, of 19th Century Mayo, was blind from childhood and spent his life playing tunes on the fiddle, creating and singing songs as he wandered the West of Ireland. Born in Killeden, near Kiltimagh in east Co. Mayo, around 1779, Raftery would lead a nomadic existence, much of it in the Loughrea area of Co. Galway, where he died in 1835. He is buried near Craughwell.
View the Fáilte Ireland video promoting the newly designated Wild Atlantic Way – a 2,500 km touring route down the west coast of Ireland. You can also read my blogpost about the Wild Atlantic Way. To discover some of this amazing coastline on foot, in Mayo and Connemara, please do get in touch.
Built by Isidore Blake at the end of the 18th Century, Towerhill was a very fine “Big House” in Mayo. Standing 6 bays wide and 3 bays deep over basement, the house was reputedly built on the site of an old burial ground and church dedicated to St. Patrick near Carnacon. The 340 acres of the demesne proper were described by a visitor in 1838 as “splendid ornamental ground”. One year earlier, Lewis refers to “the beautiful seat of Major Blake, situated in a noble demesne. The house stands on an eminence commanding fine views of the surrounding country and the adjacent mountains of Partree [sic]”.
From September 20 to 27, 2014, I will lead a small group walking in France.
We will be walking in the southern départements of Lot and Aveyron, a wonderful rural area far from the madding crowds and brim full of traditional French culture. Come not just for the walking, but for the sights, food and wine!
Wild Nephin is the title given to Coillte’s project to ‘rewild’ a large area of blanket bog to the east of the Nephin Beg Mountains of northwest Mayo. The State-owned forestry company aims to ‘create’ Ireland’s first wilderness over the next 10 – 15 years.
I like Corrannabinnia very much. Let’s make that clear from the start.
At 714 m and the second highest point of the Nephin Beg range, Corrannabinnia is surely one of the highest peaks in Ireland not to be named in OSI Discovery series maps. Strangely, lower points on this mountain massif, such as Glennamong, Bengorm and Claggan Mountain are all named, while the high point goes unacknowledged. Part of the reason for that is perhaps that Corrannabinnia isn’t, in fact, its name at all.
A strange little place in the middle of nowhere, Mám Éan can be reached from three different directions. I chose to ascend from Maam (not to be confused with Maam Cross). To be honest, the word ‘ascend’ is inappropriate here, as the destination stands at a mere 260 m altitude.