Tag Archives: Wild atlantic way

Wild Atlantic waves

Inspiration comes from so many places. For me though nature is my muse. It can be wild flora or fauna or just wild places. A couple of weekends ago we had to opportunity to visit the coast on a very windy day. While it wasn’t cold the strong wind meant warm hats were required and raincoats, to keep the worst of the chill out. The waves were awe inspiring. The power of them electrifying. I could have stood there and watched them all day.

Cross Beach. Mullet Peninsula

The gulls appear almost to be playing in the wind – enjoying it’s strength and force as much as we were.

These small sanderling (photo below) were just looking for their dinner though, and seemed oblivious to the waves thundering around them.

Sanderling

And the greatest surprise of all was this frog. A stream, swelled with recent rainwater and therefore gushing down the strand had obviously swept this poor hapless amphibian onto the shore. Needless to say we rescued it – for it would surely have become dinner for a hungry gull or at least been washed into the sea by the next big wave. And we returned it hopefully to the safety of the dunes further up shore.

Stranded frog

An awe-inspiring day. And humbling to see the power of nature.

Waves

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

The 17th March is Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Usually we would be celebrating our day with Saint Patrick’s day parades – instead everything has been cancelled in the chaos that is Corvid-19. It feels very surreal but all too real. Schools are closed and all activities and events are off. Like many families we are in self-imposed isolation, only going out to stock up on food.

Still it is Saint Patrick’s day and I feel the need to celebrate Ireland. So I have chosen the chaos of our Atlantic coast to share with you. Stay safe and well everyone.

My first few choices is the very appropriate Down Patrick Head, on the north west coast of Ireland. A wild and beautiful place.

And to end a sunshine one. Stay positive and hopeful, the sun will shine again.

Inishbiggle (Inis Bigil)

Inishbiggle (Inis Bigil in Irish) is a small island (just under 3km2) that lies between Achill Island and the mainland off the west coast of Ireland. We had the opportunity to visit the island a couple of weeks ago. The journey, just takes a few minutes in a small boat from the mainland.

Boat ride

Boat ride – looking back to mainland

The island has only very small roads and with hardly any cars, is the perfect place to walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Inis bigil

Inis bigil

One of the oldest building on the island is the church, a small pretty building on the eastern side of the island.

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The island was only first inhabited in 1834. At it’s peak the island had a population of 171 and throughout the early 20th Century the population remained about one hundred. By 2006 the population had dropped to just 24. Today, there are just ten households occupied throughout the year and only 14 people living on the island permanently. The majority of inhabitants are over 50 years of age. The ferry man told us there was no longer any children living on the island.

 

In the past, farming and fishing would have been the main occupations but today only a couple of landowners continue to farm (sheep and cattle). Tuft is still being cut in some places.

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The island has a magical quality to it. It is so peaceful, the views are stunning and the light is special.

But at the same time there is a sadness, a feeling that humans time here is coming to an end. The men who took us across on their boat were very conscious of the changing climate. They could already see the impact on their community, with rising sea levels and increasing strengths of storms. They showed us at how extra stones cages have had to be installed at the pier to protect it and how the floating platform needed and extra 30cm added to the top to deal with higher tides and storm surges. We often think of sea rise as only affecting tropical islands but for these islanders it was very real too.a

 

The island’s isolation is both it’s magical charm and it’s potential ruin.

Inis bigil

Inis bigil

 

Ferries to the island are available from the mainland at Doran’s point or from Achill island, see this link.