With great longing for home and sadness of leaving, I made the journey back from Connemara today.
As I passed Kylemore Abbey, the clouds began a hasty descent, down over the mountains of the pass…
I longed for home, but was mesmerized by the play of light and mist that is a magical part of the landscape of the West of Ireland.
A landscape that haunts one forever…
Lol, ( http://www.lolhardiman.com/ ) had an Art Exhibition opening at the Clifden Arts Festival and I simply couldn’t refuse the invitation to be there and stay for a few days in their lovely home, near the Atlantic Ocean.
Their cottage is surrounded by the most ethereal play of light, being near the shoreline and surrounded by mountains.
I first met Terri and Lol when they visited Bealtaine Cottage to learn more about Permaculture and quickly bonded in a deep friendship.
I meet so many wonderful people here at Bealtaine and am often invited to visit with them, though rarely take the time to do so…
I’m glad I made this journey into the hauntingly beautiful land of Connemara…the images will inspire dreams for many nights ahead in Winter.
I met some fine people and talked about wine making and permaculture.
I have promised to return in November to talk some more and lead a workshop on making Wine and Willow Wreathes!
Connaught, the province of Ireland where Connemara lies, has, historically, been associated with immense poverty and harsh living conditions, though its beauty has kept it populated, albeit sparsely in parts.
Many Irish have emigrated from here, down through the centuries, especially so during the Great Famine.
Yesterday morning, I walked in the gardens as the sun rose, and watched the mist slowly lift from the fields, that run down to the shoreline.
Terri and Lol have planted lots of Willow, as a wind break and are developing a sustainable smallholding around their cottage.
Living this close to the mighty Atlantic Ocean, the land is swept by salt-winds and gales, that roar in over thousands of miles of turbulent sea, making landfall, with all the power and destruction only those winds can carry.
The soil is scraped off rock and carried on the winds, to fill crevice and glen.
Even the cows have learned to forage and climb like mountain goats in search of food!
This beautiful creature stood atop the rocks watching the sun rise, as I walked in my dressing gown around the cottage gardens.
In the distance, my little camera picked out the walls of ancient cottages, abandoned to the elements of sea, rain, wind and sun, casting imaginary sounds of past lives upon the mist that lifted heavenwards, in the warm morning air.
As I drove towards home, leaving this magically, evocative landscape behind me, the sheer beauty of Connemara urged me to stop… and take one last image to share with you…