Tag Archives: Ireland

Reflections 2

On a walk the other day at Turlough Park, here in Co Mayo, I was reminded of Patti’s Lens Artist Photo Challenge for this week – Reflections.

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Turlough Park, Co Mayo

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Turlough Park, Co Mayo

Turlough Park, Co Mayo

Turlough Park, Co Mayo

Turlough Park, Co Mayo

Turlough Park, Co Mayo

 

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Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail

One of the things that really make me happy is time spent with my family and particularly when this involves exploring nature, somewhere new. We had been to Ballycroy National Park before but this boardwalk trail we had only driven passed before.

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Boardwalk over bog

The wooden boardwalk rises you slightly above the bog , so you can look down and admire the heathers and beautiful grasses in their winter browns and reds.  Here and there bog pools are dotted and interpretation boards hint at what you may see on a summers day.

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All around you can admire views of mountains, such as Claggan Moutain, (even if covered in low-lying mist) and the bay.  In fact it is hard to imagine it as the sea as it seemed so calm. And you can also see why it would have been a favourite pirate hiding place in years gone by.

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Boardwalk trail, Claggan moutain and the bay

The boardwalk leads you to the sea shore where yet another surprise awaits.  There in the water, and jutting out from the deep peat banks are ancient trees. Known as bog oak (though they may be oak, yew or pine) these tree fossils could be 5 or 6 thousand years old. They have basically been preserved in the acidic peat soil. Some, are slowly been colonised by seaweeds.

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Bog oak stump

This is a special place. It is not just the spectacular scenery that make me happy but seeing these ancient trees is a powerful link to the past.

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Bog oak with seaweed

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Sculpted remains of an ancient tree

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Splash

On the west coast of Ireland, Atlantic waves have over millennia shaped our coastline creating rocky shores, beaches and towering cliffs.

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North west Mayo looking across to Achill Island

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North west Mayo looking across to Achill Island

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Pollawaddy, on Achill Island, off the Mayo Coast

 

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Downpatrick Head, County Mayo

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Downpatrick Head, County Mayo

Ross Beach

Ross beach, County Mayo

Lens artist phot0 challenge 21 – Splash

Citizen Heros

Over the past few weeks I have been very lucky to have been working with some very dedicated people. These citizen don’t seek to stand out, instead they work tirelessly for their communities, their hard work often going unnoticed.

The people I am talking about are the community volunteer committees working to improve our towns and villages throughout County Mayo and Ireland. Many of these committees go under the title of Tidy Town Committees.  Tidy Towns was set up in 1958, and was initially used to encourage towns to improve their environs by planting flowers and trees. Today, Tidy Towns is much more than that, encompassing such themes as sustainability and biodiversity.

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I have been working with groups in Westport, Mulranney, Belmullet, Castlebar and Balla delivering Leave No Trace Biodiversity Training Workshops. The pilot programme is being delivered in partnership with South West Mayo Development Group CGL (SWMDC). The workshops are raising awareness of local biodiversity, what can be done in communities to protect and enhance biodiversity, and how biodiversity is linked to the Leave No Trace ethos and use of our outdoor spaces.

For me the most inspiring element of delivering the workshops are the groups themselves and their enthusiasm for improving their local areas. These community volunteers are working for the greater good of their communities. They don’t just plant window boxes. They create community gardens, build and install bird, bat and bug boxes, plant orchards,  and encourage others to actively participate in the community.

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These are the unsung heros of our communities.  No job is too small (they will stop to pick up litter where ever they walk), and no challenge too big. If you are a local business owner I urge you to get behind your local Tidy Town group. If you are just an interested citizen, Tidy Town committees arcoss the country are always looking for volunteers to help. Why not give it a go.