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.
County Mayo (west of Ireland) is blessed by an amazing Atlantic coastline. This year we have not had much beach weather but we try to make the most of it when the sun does shine.
Beltra beach is just outside Westport. It is just one beach of a number in Clew Bay. It’s a lovely place to swim as the relatively shallow waters of the bay warm up quickly. There is lots to explore; rocky shore and rock pools when the tide is out; wildflowers where sand meets fields; and plenty of shells to collect too.
Above the beach rises Croagh Patrick. This mountain is a pilgrimage mountain. Before being a site of Christian pilgrimage, it was a site of pagan worship when people are thought to have gathered to celebrate the beginning of the harvest. The main day for climbing the mountain is the last Sunday of July. Up to twenty thousand people made the assent in previous years. This year, for the first time, people were urged not to climb it because weather conditions on the day were so bad (rain and wind), which says a lot about the kind of summer we are experiencing!