Greetings from Torr Head, Northern Ireland

Pam is standing on the closest point on Ireland to the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland, framed by the Irish Sea, blue from reflected sky on a June day.

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From a June 6, 2014 day spent among the Antrim Glens of Northern Ireland.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, east, V

Looking east

This the fifth and final of a series of landscape photographs taken from this position.

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The peak is named, in the English language, Slievenaglogh. It is so strange as it’s not English, being instead a transliteration of the Irish name “Sliabh na gCloch.” This is “Rock Mountain” translated literally. Slievenaglogh is carried to the townland, a long thin swath of land being the peak and associated ridge-line.

The rocks up there are called “gabbro,” a type of magma slowly cooled under ground. Slievenaglog, Slieve Foy across the valley, and the Morne mountains all formed within volcano magma chamber(s) of the Paleocene, 66 million years ago, a time associated with extensive volcanism and the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that gave rise to the current age.

Our younger cousin has been up there, optimistically we left it for a later trip.

Click for another interesting post and story from County Louth.

Here is a slide show of this landscape series.

A link with interesting reading on County Lo uth geology.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, northeast, IV

View of Slieve Foy

This the fourth of a series of landscape photographs taken from this position.

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The distant ridge, Slieve Foy, is the site of a mythic battle from the epic “The Cattle Raid of Cooley” (Irish: Táin Bó Cúailnge).

Pam and I did a circuit of the island, returning to the home of my Mom’s first cousin. Our last full day on Ireland a cousin took us on the Tain Trail, over Maeve’s Gap of Slieve Foy and into Carlingford town.

Our route is partly visible to the right of the ridge, hidden in low clouds.

Click for another interesting post and story from the Cooley Peninsula.

Here is a slide show of this landscape series.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, northeast, II & III

Rural Scenery

These are the second and third of a series of landscape photographs taken from this position. See the previous post for the first.

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I visited here early morning of the Monday Pam and I embarked on a trip around the island of Ireland.

Arrived the previous Saturday when, after some sites between Dublin airport and the Cooley Peninsula, we met my Mom’s first cousin who had invited us for a visit. We had a grand time meeting them.

The ruin in this view is on the slopes of the peak. Some of these ruins are former homes with the replacement nearby. This appears to be an abandoned farm.

Click Me for the first post of this series.

Click me for the next post of this series.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, northeast I

It goes on and on and on

Slievenaglogh is the name of a peak on the Cooley Peninsula of County Louth, Ireland near to the birthplace of my Mom, Proleek, a few townlands to the west.

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On the northeast slope of Slievenaglogh peak (Irish: Sliabh na gCloch) on the road from Mullaghattin Townland to Riverstown.

Here we look northeast from the Slievenaglogh Townland, the valley between Slieve Foy and Slievenaglogh peaks.

The view includes Little River, Ballycoly Townland and Castletown River.

Adjacent is a sheep pasture with a farm ruin behind the yellow flowered gorse (whin bush, scientific name Ulex).

Slieve Foy is the far ridge lost in clouds. Early morning, late May 2014.

Click for an interesting post and story from the Cooley Peninsula.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Bog Bodies

In the the long view

On this occasion we will explore a time machine found four miles south of Kells, County Meath, Ireland.

Step into this pool and you, too, can emerge 4,000-odd years later, skin intact, to achieve fame and fortune, a place in a museum and the record books if such exist 6019 AD. Reference the Cashel Man from Cúl na Móna bog near Cashel in County Laois, Ireland who now resides within the National Museum of Ireland.

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True, post mortem fame is hollow for the individual. Maybe, attaching your life story engraved on a gold plaque with a gold chain encircling your torso will offset the loss of your bones (dissolved in the acidic waters) and life itself.

The water of this pool is colored dark by long decayed vegetable matter. Beware of walking the bog surface, it is dangerous and destructive to the environment. Pam and I visited Girley Bog on our tour of County Meath, Ireland.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loughan an Lochan Ruin I

Romance of Ruins

Introduction

Here is a photograph from our day touring the Glens of Antrim.  While making our way up the coast to Torr Head a group of stone walls resolved into ruins. A cluster of cottages on grassy slopes above the Irish sea above Loughan Bay.  This is the townland of Loughan.  Along the road are wonderful signs providing in handsome carved letters the place name in english and gaelic.  Here a signed only provided a gaelic name: “Loughan an Lochan”…near enough to meaning “Loughan Bay” in English.  The bay is a shallow scallop shaped indentation of the coast, a margin of narrow sand strand.

Ruins are spread across the slope.  Immediately before the views are traces of a foundation above the grass.  Beyond the top of a gable, an entire gable to the left.  On the far ridge, just visible, is an entire structure with doorways, gables, walls.

Across the Irish Sea, 13 miles distant, is the Mull of Kintyre.  In faint outline, rising above the horizon, find the highlands of Islay more than 30 miles.  Both are tips of peninsulas jutting from Scotland.

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The ruins lead to curiosity over who live here?  What were their lives like?  Why did they leave?

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Visit to Proleek Dolmen

Romance of Stones

I have an update to my post “Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home” where we explored the site of the boyhood home of my grandfather, Peter McCardle, on great grandfather James McCardle’s Proleek farm. April 2018 an email arrived from the brother of the owner of the house across the road.  He recognized the property from the blog photography and reached out to introduce himself and share information. His own genealogical research suggested we shared a great aunt.  We now work together to define this connection.

Our tour of Ireland was bookended by a visit to the farm site and, located little more than a kilometer away, a 5,000+ year old portal tomb, the last site Pam and I visited. We parked at the hotel / golf course built around the monuments.  There is no fee to visit the site, number 476 on the list of Republic of Ireland National Monuments (Irish: Séadchomhartha Náisiúnta), protected at the level of guardianship by the National Monuments Act of 1930.  The townland is named after the dolmen.  The anglicized “Proleek” is derived from the Irish for “bruising rock”, as in a millstone. The grave is attributed in folklore to the resting place of the Scotch Giant, Para Buidhe More Mahac Seoidin, who came to challenge Fin Mac Coole.  

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Ballymascanlon House Hotel is on the R173, on the left heading from the M1 towards Jenkinstown.  Path to the monument is marked here and there and requires attention.  It helps to understand the general location of the monument on the property.  The parking lot and hotel are on the southern end, the monument is on the north end.

The path leads through the hotel grounds….

….and golf course…

…and you first encounter the megalithic Gallery Grave of a type named “wedge shaped.”

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The 22 foot long tomb gallery supported stories of a giant burial. Pam poses for a sense of scale.

These are the only ancient monuments in Ireland were a stray golf ball may be encountered.

A short way ahead is the dolmen, or portal tomb. The informational placard is in English and Gaelic.  There is an illustration of the stones covered with earth with a stone façade.

Some describe the formation as a giant mushroom with warts. The posting feature image is of the same aspect as the next photograph, with me for scale.

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We are surrounded on three sides by the golf course.  The “entrance” to the tomb, through the two upright portal stones, faces northwest toward Slieve Gullion, a mountain with its own Neolithic burial site next to a lake on the summit.  The mountain and the flat land, such as Proleek township, feature in the story of how the Irish hero Cú Chulainn came by his name.  To learn more, click this link for “On the Tain Way” the first of my posting that includes some stories of the hero.

The fifth hole.

We had a beautiful day, so I took time to capture all aspects.  The hedge is the northern property border.

The “warts” are stones. There is a local saying that success in placing three stones on top will give a wish or lead to marriage within the year.

Click for more Ireland stories.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Island Shrine

part of the Irish landscape

A roadside shrine on Cottage Road, Inishmore. The faith brought by the saints has deep roots here.

A large crucifix set with wet stone walls with cut flowers. The walls are the native limestone.

It is a spring (early June) afternoon and there are fern and wildflowers. The white flowers are Greater Burnet saxifrage (Scientific Name: Pimpinella major).

Click Me for Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

The existing dry stone wall was interrupted by the shrine. In the distance are dry stone walls around fields, a stone shed, feeding horses and the sea, being Galway Bay, storm clouds with distant rain.

Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search google “Wet Stone”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Inishmore Slideshow

An Aran Island Revel

Imagine yourselves in an open cart exploring the island. Here are the photographs from my Inishmore exploration posts. Enjoy!!

Click for another great Island post, “Inisheer Welcomes the 2014 Gaeltacht Irish Football Champions.”