A view to the northwest from within Dun Aonghasa in springtime. The interior a karst formation (see my post, ” Galway Bay View from Dún Aonghasa”), the grikes filled with grass and a sprinkling of white and yellow flowers, a cloudscape rising over the walls. Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.
The exposed limestone of the Aran Islands here transitions to a fertile field of grass, husbanded by generations of islanders. Photograph was taken from the path on Inishmore leading up to Dun Aonghasa.
The Aran Islands are an extension of The Burren of Ireland’s Counties Claire and Galway. The word burren is from the Irish Boireann, meaning “great rock.” The glaciers that covered Ireland, retreating about 10,000 years ago, scraped down to the bedrock, exposing wide areas of limestone and dropping, here and there, large rocks. When people came along the foreign nature of the large rocks was recognized, all the more obvious for lying on the horizontally bedded, exposed limestone. We call the foreign rocks erratics. The underlying scoured rock is a pavement for a resemblance to a cobbled roadway.
The incised line, filled with grass and wildflowers, in the following photograph is called a gryke. The body of stone between the grykes are clints. Sometimes, the grykes are cross hatched and the clints resemble cobblestones or flat paving stones.
The view is northeast toward the 12 Bens of Connemara. Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland
Modern stonework borders the 1/2 mile path to the inner Dún Aonghasa walls, keeping tourists off delicate plants, maintaining the integrity of this ancient site.
The view north, northwest over the walled path to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) looking across karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains. Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.
I found these snags surrounded and, at a distance, hidden by the burgeoning Brock-Harvey forest preserve here in the Finger Lakes.
As with burgeon (see yesterday’s blog post), the word “snag” has a long history from a forested northern region of the planet, though it hales from Scandinavian languages rather than Old English and Old German. As a noun “snag” is something with a point and a body long enough to cause inconvenience, the point catching on anything handy. As a verb “snag” is to become inconvenienced by a projecting body.
In forestry, a snag is any trunk of a dead tree. Commonly, a tree top breaks off leaving a jagged point which possibly can become an inconvenience. For birds, an upright dead tree is a blessing, perfect for homemaking.
Fallen, the snag is still a snag and also a home first for fungus. When the work of the fungus is done, the resulting mound is perfect for growing new trees.
There is a word to describe the first growth of spring, rare in a way as having grown within the English/French languages without roots from either Greek or Latin, wholly suitable to a forest people. The first growth of spring so impressive it has words of its own: burgeon.
Both as a noun, burgeon the bud itself, and a verb; to burgeon, as in to burst forth. Burgeoning: the process of the act itself.
Working as a consulting dietitian, back in the 1980s, on a early June drive from Canisteo, New York on route 19 north of Mansfield, Pennsylvania, where the road goes through the Tioga-Hammond Lakes Recreation area there were miles of phlox growing on the east side of the road. The fragrance of phlox was pervasive with the window down and to this day I remember that time when phlox is in bloom as it was on June 5th, last week.
Click any photograph for a larger image.
On the way to Treman State Park, to check out wildflowers, on an afternoon that threatened rain I came upon these stands of phlox, growing as it does under trees in damp soil on the east side of Colegrove Road. We’ve had plentiful rain this spring.
Looking it up in my reference book, “The Botanical Garden”, the plentiful number of species was daunting. (CLICK ME for more about this reference.) Bloom times spread across the calendar from May through August and into autumn. Species blooming in June were just not a good match.
It was a surprising result, though in retrospect given the wide distribution and abundance of species, is to be expected. So I poked around the internet search engines, results from varied search strings, until Phlox divaricata popped up as a wildflower with a late May / early June bloom and growth habit and flowers matching these.
I captured macros of the two hues from roadside specimens.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills
Upon disembarking from Queen of Aran, our ferry out of Doolin, onto the Kilronan quay we walked toward the bicycle rental and Pam refused to bicycle. Her objections were many, safety, impending rain, time. She did have a point about time, the ferry leaves at a set time leaving errant tourists to fend for themselves. We were unused to cycling, still Dun Aonghasa is just over 5 miles from Kilronan, less than an hour round trip. With our starting time of 11:30 am there was 3.5 hours slack for returning to the quay before the 4 pm departure. Plenty of time for wandering the ruins and stopping along the way.
We followed Pam’s advice. Still there were the many bicyclists. Perched on our horse drawn carriage, on the uphill runs, each bicyclist we passed was proof positive to Pam of the wisdom of our choice. I was silently envious of their freedom and overlooked the many mini-buses on the narrow road.
When the day comes to mind, not often, I am left with the guilty feeling of not stopping into the bicycle rental office to cancel the reservation. An email was waiting for me the next day, asking where we were. Thus, the title of this post, “Stiffed.”
Pam’s Response to this post.
Pam’s reasons for not wanting to ride a bicycle around Inishmore: “I hadn’t been on a bike for approximately 20 years. However, if it wasn’t going to rain (it did), if the narrow road was larger, if there weren’t any minibuses loaded to the gills or horse traps sharing the same single lane, I would have considered it. Sitting back and enjoying the beautiful view on our private horse trap and listening to our very knowledgeable tour guide/driver was the highlight of this adventure for me. I am sorry you felt like you didn’t have a choice.”
Pam’s correction of my statement about her being concerned about time: “Time wasn’t a factor in my decision making. I also didn’t have a problem with you biking but there was no way I was going to do that.”
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
On Monday, June 9, 2014, cousin John Mills dropped his son, Sean Mills, myself and Pam Wills off at the foot of the western slopes of Slieve Foy on the Tain Way. Sean, Pam and I walked the way over the mountain and into Carlingford in the footsteps of epic Irish heroes.
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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
Another aspect of the gradual 1/2 mile inclined path to the central ring of the prehistoric Dun Aonghasa ruins of County Galway, Ireland.
The view north, northwest from this way to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus). In early June, looking across wildflowers, karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains.
Note the doorway (with long lintel) in the surrounding wall, to left of center in middle distance.