Friday, 9 March 2012

Ballyvaughan Again

We were a week later this year but the countryside seemed to be two or three weeks ahead.
The hazel groves, festooned in previous years, were almost devoid of catkins.

 There were new flowers about that we had not seen before

 The ivy berries were huge, plump and black
 and here and there were primroses, 

the gorse was in bloom, then gorse always is, but the blossoms were vibrant and succulent making a beautiful bright yellow contrast against the Burren limestone.
 The grass was greener than we've seen it before

 but the in the  little overgrown abandoned cottage time stands still, 

 poignantly frozen in the year the last occupant died.

 White blossoms sprang from thorny bushes

 and elsewhere there seemed to be a programme of hedge chopping of vast scale...for Ireland.

 We walked and picked up a lovely dog along the way. He walked with us for about an hour

 until further along the way we were joined by another  and they walked ahead , together.

 We discussed the possibility of returning through the wood, instead of along the road, but the dogs were ahead of us, read our body language and jumped the stile into the wood. They ran ahead and disappeared. When we reached this area of flat stones with low hazel bushes we sat down to eat our

 and guess who reappeared? Both of them. 
Until we'd finished and they vanished again.
It made us laugh to think they must do this with tourists and walkers over and over again.

 On Wednesday we celebrated 25 years of my husband's work as a self employed freelance restorer.

On Thursday my friend and I visited Lisdoonvarna and The Burren Smokehouse where we bought some incredibly pricey handsmoked salmon, then on to Ennis and lunch in the Rowan Tree cafe.

 I recommend it , lively and friendly and vibrant with good food.
 I took my friend to the airport and then I drove home alone. I stopped at the Polnabroune Dolmen, a portal tomb high on the Burren limestone pavement just as the sun was setting.

In the evening  Noel Hill, the teacher of the concertina school my husband was attending, gave a concert with his daughter.
This was really why were in Ballyvaughan, County Clare. 
His music is sensitive and beautiful and his teaching by all accounts is excellent. A group of perhaps 20 from USA, Spain, UK, Sweden and other parts of Ireland attended to learn what he had to teach. I enjoyed their company in the evenings. 

 On Friday I met my own sort of people! I travelled to Le Gra craft studio in Claregalway to meet with Esther Kiely who has been a blog contact for some time. It was great to meet at last. She arranged it so that there were other textile people there for us all to have a chat.  Here she is (on the right) with     Breda MacNelis from Dublin , a facebook textile contact who had been to Ballyvaughan to deliver her work.
 We also saw the work of Margaret and Veronika  they both brought lovely pieces for us to look at. Thanks you so much for making it a great visit, and to Esther for making me so welcome with tea and cakes. Here's the rest of the shop. Its well worth a visit .
 Now for an unexpected treat. On Sunday we left Ballyvaughan early to drive to Dublin ferryport. We arrived at 1.15 for the 2.30 fast ferry and guess what? It had been cancelled. We didn't fancy sitting around at the port until the next ferry at 8.50 in the evening so we decided to visit Newgrange, a stone age site with a 5000 year old passage tomb. The chamber is amazing (no pics allowed) but I particularly liked seeing the carved kerbstones around the edges.

 At the entrance is a door and above it a window through which at the winter solstice the rising sun penetrates the tomb with a shaft of light. If you want to read more about it go HERE. Its fascinating.

 We drove back to Dublin via The Hill of Tara, but we couldn't see much.
 It was just quite good to be there at sunset
 watching the moon rise.

Enjoy the rest of the photographs.
I've come back with my head full of ideas.


ju-north said...

A wonderful visit!

Breda said...

Wonderful pics and narrative Jackie, was lovely to meet up with you, will have to plan for a longer visit next year :-) Breda x

jinxxxygirl said...

Thank you so much for the little tour and the pictures! I've come away with ideas too. :)

Jennifer Tetlow said...

What a wonderful trip - I enjoyed your sharing it - especially the carved stones and thanks for the link to learn more

Heather said...

Wonderful photos Jackie, and congratulations to your husband.
That tan coloured dog looks almost like a lioness in your photo!
Love the dolmen and what a treat to visit Newgrange - amazing site and so vast.

Anne B said...

The tall white flowering plant could be Ixia ??? Not sure. Lovely pics - thanks for sharing them.

Rachel said...

The scenery is always wonderful in Ireland, and it seems you had a marvellous time!

Julie said...

What a magical trip! With both the Burren and Newgrange your head must be bursting with inspiration. Thank you for all the great photos. You make me want to go back to Ireland.

Robin Mac said...

Wow Jackie, what a wonderful trip - no wonder your head is bursting with ideas, all those marvelous colours. I am fascinated by Newgrange, visited the link to find out more. Cheers

Els said...

You had a wonderful trip Jackie, thanks for taking us along a bit...

Soggibottom said...

Your back to full swing :-) THAT PLEASES ME :-) X X X LOVELY POST MY DEAR FRIEND X X XX

sharon young said...

What a lovely tour you gave us, it was like being there. I loved the two dog tale, thanks for sharing it with us.

Jennie Atkinson said...

Fantastic pictures Jackie - it brought it all back for me too, but you went to some REALLY interesting places. Next year I am definately bringing my walking boots!

We only got back on friday and it has been a bit hectic since, but I will keep in touch. It was great meeting you and hopefully we will have lots to do and share next year.

PS your blog is fantastic - as is your work. Wonderfully inspiring!

Rosie said...

Oh wow you almost made me feel I was there with you .... it all looks wonderful.

Maggi said...

Thank you

karen said...

what a great post. It sounds like you had an amazing time...

Kathleen said...

I always love going on adventures with you (even though I here and your there, LOL). Great photos and inspiration. Can't wait to see what you make next.

fiona d said...

thank you for taking us on your journey. I always feel homesick for Ireland even though I've never lived there, it was so good to see your lovely pics

Linda said...

Beautifully written and lovely photos ....great post Jackie!

Knitsister said...

What a great time you are having! Lovely photos, enjoy the rest of your trip x

Ester Kiely said...

Great overview of your trip. So lovely to finally meet you! Thanks for your visit to Le Grá Craft Studio and Gallery. Veronika Feldmann was my other quiltmaking friend in the studio for your visit. We hope to see you again soon.....maybe you'll give a workshop or a talk nxt time?

Anna said...

What an interesting post, I really enjoyed it all!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Looks like a lovely holiday!

jinxxxygirl said...

Hi Jackie!

I wanted to let you know i just awarded you The Versatile Blogger award! Just pop over to my blog to read the details and grab your button. Don't forget to read the little blurb i wrote about your blog!
Hugs! deb

Writing from the Edge said...

Enjoy reading your blog, and LONG to buy lots of your bits and bobs! You are so talented.
I live in the west of Ireland (although I'm not Irish), and yes, I think things have raced ahead here this spring.
Glad you enjoy your visits...

Very Berry Handmade said...

What a lovely post! I have such fabulous memories of family trips to Ireland - I love the Burren and going to Newgrange was a highlight of our trips. I have stitched pincushions inspired by those spirals... so definitely, yes, totally idea-inspiring!

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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