Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
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.
As some of you will know one of our favourite family activities is a visit to the beach!
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.
So as Eliza guessed, the snap shot I gave you yesterday was just some little detail of a mausoleum.
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.
Just before the summer holidays finished, we visited Belleek woods in Ballina, Co. Mayo. We had visited the woods before, but one of the paths was now part of a new cycle greenway from Ballina to Killala (called the Monasteries of the Moy Greenway) and we thought we’d try some of the route.
As we followed some of the woodland paths on our return we found these lovely fairy houses. The fairy trail has been a relatively recent addition to the woods and many of the fairy houses have been made locally through the men’s shed project.
It was a great little find and particularly entertained our six year old who enjoyed running ahead to see what little fairy house she could spot next.