Tag Archives: Ireland

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #215

For this week’s Len-artist challenge John asks for “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles… and the Places they take us” – but I have veered off topic a little to talk about places boats have taken me. In recent years, we have had a few interesting trips on boats – or at least the boats got us to our destination. The first trip was to Clare Island off the west coast of Ireland. A small ferry takes about 20 minutes to cross from mainland to the island.

Early morning ferry to Clare island

The island is lovely. We visited in January – but the day was glorious and clear and the light beautiful.

Then home again on the ferry at sunset.

Our next island visit was to Inishbiggle. Also off the west coast, but a much smaller island – talking only about ten minutes in a small boat similar to the small boat in the picture below.

Here crossing over from the mainland.

The island is lovely, exceptionally quiet (there are not many families living on it now) and the only shame was all the abandoned cars (and tractors) that it is too expensive to remove and so are left to rust away.

Great Yellow Bumblebee Project

This year, I have been lucky to be working for the Great Yellow Bumblebee Project. The Great Yellow Bumblebee is Ireland’s rarest bees and it occurs on the Mullet Peninsula and Erris coastal mainland of County Mayo in the west of Ireland.

Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus)

We have been working with farmers looking at how best we can manage fields in a way that provides lots of flowers for all types of pollinators. This area of County Mayo is stunningly beautiful, and supports a unique flower-rich habitat called Machair.

Machair grassland

Machair is traditionally been used as winter grazing, which has benefitted the wildflowers that grow here and in turn these areas support a wealth of insects including pollinators.

Machair grassland

We find lots of different bees. And finding the the rarest of them all, the Great Yellow Bumblebee, brings deep satisfaction.

Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus)

Other rare and vulnerable bee species can also be found in this special place.

Many thanks to Ann-Christine for providing inspiration for this post – LAPC #214 Favourite Finds

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #213 – Here Comes the Sun

This week Amy asks is to explore the sun.

I love the sun on water, the way it makes it shimmer and shine.

Achill island from Doohoma, Co Mayo

Without the sun we would not have plants. This one is a native Irish plant called the perennial sow-thistle. But I like to think of it as our own sunflower. They are tall plants – from 80 cm up to 150 cm with these glorious yellow heads and they are loved by bees and other pollinators.

Perennial sow-thistle

With the sun, comes shadows and butterflies too of course.

Wall brown butterfly

And without the sun we wouldn’t have sunsets.

Sunset

Many thanks to Amy for this week’s lovely challenge.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #204 Doors/Doorways

I used to have a bit of a fascination for old abandoned buildings, of which there are quite a few in the rural areas of Ireland. Here an old cottage.

abandoned cottage

Here an old shed, possibly still used for some sort of agricultural storage.

Old shed

And another; the door frame remains but there isn’t much left of the building itself.

old door

There is a certainly melancholy about these places, a history lost and forgotten.

Thank you to Syvia at My Colorful Expressions for hosting this week’s Lens artist challenge – door /doorways

Lens-Artist Challenge #195: Colourful Expressions

Today we enjoyed a beautiful walk in Brackloon woods near Westport, Co Mayo. The wood is a Special Area Conservation due to the presence of old oak woodland. It was full of the colours of spring. The woodland floor covered in flowers. Mossy greens , the pink stems of Herb Robert, yellow Lesser Celandine and white Wood Sorrel.

Woodland floor

Here the Wood Sorrel in more detail, and below that the Celandine.

Wood sorrel
Lesser Celandine

Also the delicate white of Greater Stitchwort.

Greater Stitchwort

Among the flower butterflies added further colour and beauty. First the aptly named Peacock and below the Holly Blue butterfly, tiny but like a little bit of sky fliting about.

Peacock butterfly
Holly Blue Butterfly

It does the soul good to immerse oneself in nature for a little while.

Thank you to Anne at Slow Shutter Speed for this week’s Lens Artist Photo Challenge.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #188: A Special Place

I have been a regular follower of the Lens-Artists since Patti, Tina, Amy, and Ann-Christine started their weekly challenge and it is a real honour being asked to host one of their weekly challenges.

The theme of this week’s challenge is “A Special Place“. Many of us have a special place; maybe it is a place you like to escape to when you need a break from the ups and downs of the everyday; or it may be just a place you enjoy spending time. Your special place may be a certain room in your house, it may be a place you like to visit, or it may be a building such as a library, museum, or church.

There are many reasons too why a place may be special. It might be a memory that it holds, or the way the light plays in that space, it may be something to do with the way the place feels or smells. It would be wonderful if you could show us the places that are or were special to you and if you can tell us why. I live in the west of Ireland and am lucky to be surrounded by many beautiful places.

In general, though, I am a home bird, so for me my garden is a truly special place. It is somewhere to sit and enjoy, somewhere to garden and find release from the stresses of work.

If I go anywhere, I just love going to the coast. Growing up, I spent many happy summer days with my family, by the ocean on the north-west coast of County Mayo, so maybe it is this that connects me to the sea. Or it might be just the smell of the salt, the feel of the wind in my hair. It is a place where I can always find peace, no matter what the season.

Many thanks to Anne Sandler for her Water challenge. It was so lovely to enjoy all the beautiful photographs and posts.

We hope you will join us this week. We look forward to seeing what makes a place special for you. Please link to my post here and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you.

Next week, Tina will lead LAPC #189. Her subject is Odds and Ends.