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.
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.