Author Archives: Murtagh's Meadow

About Murtagh's Meadow

As an ecologist I have always had an interest in nature. I love gardening and would spend all day outdoors if I could. I also enjoy taking photographs and writing. I live in the west of Ireland with my young family.

Shaggy Inkcaps

Combining today’s daily prompt – mushroom, with the weekly photo challenge of experimental (as I had a little play with this image before posting!).

Shaggy inkcaps

Shaggy inkcaps

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Letter

I am a hoarder. I have been since I was a child. But sometimes it does lead to little treasures. Inspired by this week’s one a week photo challenge – “Letter”, I remembered this letter or postcard. My father’s aunt wrote each Christmas and enclosed in her letter, there would be a little card for my sister and I. This is one of the oldest letters I have. There is a date that I have obviously added later. I would have been seven in 1978 (giving away my age!). I know it’s a bit early for Christmas but thought I would share.

 

 

October Beach Walk

As some of you will know one of our favourite family activities is a visit to the beach!

Beltra beach, Westport, Co Mayo

Beltra beach, Westport, Co Mayo

Even at this time of year, a beach walk brings much pleasure. The day was grey and perfectly calm, so the planned kite flying had to be abandoned. Still we enjoyed some beach art, rock jumping, fossil hunting, and I got to play with my camera. We even had a paddle, but it felt VERY cold!

From the shore of Beltra beach, you get to see Ireland’s pilgrim mountain, Croagh Patrick and looking out into Clew Bay you can see the hump-back shape of Clare Island. On the island is a 16th century Tower House or Castle which was one of the homes of the legendary pirate queen Grace O’Malley (in Irish Grainne ni Mhaille  though she was also known as Granuaile). It is a place that is on our list of “places to visit”.

Before heading home we enjoyed our picnic, which included some warming pumpkin soup.

Beltra beach, Westport, Co Mayo

Beltra beach, Westport, Co Mayo

November Apples

We enjoyed our first apples in late August, and we’ve recently been harvesting our late apple varieties .

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There are three varieties – Annie Elizabeth*, Pixie and Katja. We (my children, husband and I), did a taste comparison of each. All four of us voted the Annie Elizabeth as our favourite.  It being the sweetest of the three; our vote may just indicate we all have a sweet tooth! In fact, the Pixie apples were very similar in flavour but were very firm.  So we’ve put these into store. The Pixie is also a smaller apple. An ideal size of a children’s lunchbox.

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The Katja apples have a good sweet flavour too. The flesh shows some pink flushes, and is softer than either the Annie Elizabeth or Pixie.

In terms of cropping, both the Katja and Pixie have given a reasonable crop for the size of tree. In fact, it is the best crop we have had from the Pixie. The Annie Elizabeth however had a much heavier crop last year, compared to this year. So we will savoured the few apples we did have and hope that next year it will return to it’s bounty of the 2016 season.

It always pays to grow a couple of varieties of fruit tree, as we have certainly found they all have good, and bad years.

*Interestingly Annie Elizabeth is listed as a cooking apple on many websites. The Victorian Nursery website (UK) does say it is so sweet it doesn’t require sugar. So I am not sure we have it properly labeled. I double checked in my garden notebook and it is definitely listed as Annie Elizabeth and was planted in 2006, but it could be the original label was incorrect.

Apple tree

Apple tree – Annie Elizabeth in 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mausoleum at Belleek Woods

So as Eliza guessed, the snap shot I gave you yesterday was just some little detail of a mausoleum.

Peek

Peek

The mausoleum lies in Belleek woods in Ballina Co Mayo. Sir Francis Author Knox Gore (1803-1878), inherited Belleek Demesne in 1818. He was responsible for building Belleek Manor (now Belleek Castle hotel).  On his death he wished to be buried in the grounds of the demesne with his horse! His son, Sir Charles James Knox Gore, had the mausoleum built over what is thought to be his father’s grave. It was designed by James Franklin Fuller and demonstrates Hiberno-romanesque architectural style. Franklin Fuller also designed Kylemore Abbey and Ashford Castle.

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