The Lens-Artist challenge this week is to show your favourite fences. In County Mayo, west of Ireland, fences tend to be functional boundaries for livestock, often composed of post and wire fencing. I actually much prefer wooden fences, but they are few and far between here in the west.
These fences are not pretty objects, but are often found in nice places, like along the coast, where they are sometimes unwelcome.
Ross Beach is one of our favoutite beaches at any time of year. With Easter falling early this year, we have had opportunity to take a few day trips. Heading to the beach is always a bit of an adventure. This time we were surprised to find that the storms over the winter have shifted sand away from the beach. This has resulted in the loss of some dunes, but also the exposure of a more pebbles and stones in one area.
Ross beach, Country Mayo
There was time for some beach-combing and even castle building.
The horses and their riders were also enjoying the freedom of a long beach. Like us, the horses had a paddle, they did not seem to notice that the water was FREEZING!
We usually attend the Saint Patrick’s day parade in one of the local town’s with the children’s school, but this year they decided they wanted a break. It was a dry day, but bitterly cold with a blustery easterly wind.
Avoiding towns we headed toward the Nephin Wilderness Area (Wild Nephin). It is a rather grand title for what is 11,000 hectares of planted forest and upland agricultural land, though admittedly there is also plenty bogs, heaths, lakes, rivers and mountains.
The landscape is stunning. There is plenty to see, particularly if you like walking or cycling. The area includes much of the Nephin Beg Mountain Range, which is a beautiful but little explored part of Ireland.
On a sunny day last week, I got a sneak preview of the new Teach Saileach or Willow Room at the Country Life Museum in Turlough, Co Mayo.
Sunshine through willow of Teach Saileach
On Sight 2017, was a community arts project, funded by Mayo County Council, in partnership with the National Museum. The Willow Room is one of several willow sculptures created in the grounds of Turlough Park, by the talented Mayo Art Squad. The artists used local willow and traditional basket making techniques.
I was privileged the following day to be the first person to use the Willow room as an outdoor classroom for a group of pupils from a local primary school. We used the space as our classroom before exploring the wood for bugs and other mini-beasts. The bug hotel is also a new addition to the woodland.
The room made a wonderful outdoor classroom. Pictured below are just a couple of the other willow sculptures that can be viewed as part of the Willow trail.
The artists involved in the project were: Mick Smyth (coordinator), Brendan Timlin, Kevin MacNeely, David McInerney, Saw Tun, Sanita Vecbrale, Paul O’Driscoll and Aidan Crotty