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.
What do we expect from Autumn? Leaves, nuts, fruit, fungi, colours and storms!
We’ve already experienced Storm Ophelia (or ex-hurricane Ophelia) which was one of the strongest storms to hit Ireland and caused a lot of damage in the south and south east of Ireland. Some homes are still waiting for their electricity to be restored. It is hard for us to imagine a week without electricity, though our parents and grandparents would have been well used to it (our own area being electrified in 1951). Today, Storm Brian, is passing through, he is not expected to cause as much damage as Ophelia.
Many large trees were felled by Ophelia. This year, we are told is a good seed year for oaks and beech. So it seems appropriate to try and set some seeds to replace some of those that have been lost. We’ve collected some beech nuts from some impressive local beech trees. We’ve also collected some sweet chestnut seeds but only found a few acorns so far.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day one of our collected seeds could look like this (we will of course be long gone!).
It had been thought that the native Irish honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera was extinct. However, research from Jack Hassett at the Limerick Institute of Technology has found that this may not be the case at all. Using DNA techniques, bees from three hundred Irish hives were examined and the vast majority were found to be a pure form of the native bee Apis mellifera mellifera.
This is good news and makes it even more important that we protect this unique population.
Today, Sunday, 27th August makes the end of Ireland’s 2017 Heritage Week. Thank you to all those that attended the three events I was involved in over the last nine days. Yesterday, we enjoyed our pollinator walk along the River Glore. While Carder bees were plentiful other bees were very scare. But we did see lots of peacock butterflies, one speckled wood and one red admiral.
Lots of us got up close and personal with some great minibeast at the Country Life Museum, at our biodiversity event and the children all went home with some flower seeds potted up to help our pollinators next year.
Last weekend we saw plenty of wild flowers along the banks of the River Moy at the Riverfest.
This post was my own little homage to the Heritage week. It is a great way to get people out and about exploring their own local heritage, be it nature, built heritage, geology, what ever it is. While I look forward to doing it again in 2018, it is important that we all continue to get out and explore the wonderful heritage Ireland has to offer. One thing you can do is Make a Pledge for Nature. The Heritage Council is asking each of us to make a small pledge to help nature in our gardens, or communities.
Last weekend, we attend the Foxford Riverfest, a celebration of fishing and nature based around the River Moy, in Foxford, Co Mayo. There were lots of fishing competitions, wildlife walks, crafts, civil defense rescue boat, and lots of fun activities for the children.
But the things which seem to have caught everyone’s attention were these knitted and crochet items on the street corners.
The aptly named “Yarn Bombing” was a street art initiative organised by the men and women of Foxford as a means of brightening up their town for the Riverfest. More of the wonderful creations can be seen on the Riverfest facebook page.