On the way home from Cookstown having done a short walk there in Cabin Wood, I returned via the “scenic” route, past Tullaghoge Rath. It is probably prehistoric, but better known for its connection to some of the ancient chieftains of Ulster, including the O’Neills, the last ceremonial inauguration being of Hugh O’Neill in 1593. I only had my phone with me and a short time to wander about this lovely place, but the pictures it takes are reasonable.
The views of the surrounding countryside are amazing!
It was such a lovely morning, we decided to head for the nearest coast, the Irish Sea at Murlough Bay, County Down.
We followed the boardwalk through the dunes.
That’s Slieve Donard in the middle, Northern Ireland’s highest mountain at 850m (2790ft). We couldn’t believe how good the views were today.
Continuing on the boardwalk the sea eventually came into view.
Then out onto the beach. Wow!
The pictures say it all: wonderful.
We ended up in Newcastle for our picnic lunch, then a stroll along the front with an ice cream. What more can I say?
The last picture is looking north from Newcastle, back to our starting point. What a wonderful day!
That’s how it’s been for me lately; which way do I turn. Which path to take. I need to take stock and focus on a recurring dream I have: maps, routes, landscapes.
I’m a great fan of books by Robert Macfarlane and one book that comes to mind just now is Landmarks. It’s a book about language and landscape and after each chapter, the author adds a glossary of words relating to the landscape of that chapter, for example, flowing water words like the Gaelic “caochan” meaning slender moor-stream obscured by vegetation, Sussex “rife” for a small river flowing across a coastal plain, or Yorkshire “sike” for a small stream flowing through marshy ground. I am no linguist or language expert but just look what I’m missing! Words used describing the natural environment of these islands come from so many different languages and cultures, including Irish, Welsh, Old English, Gaelic, Cornish…….and so the list goes on. The book also wishes to capture these words now and hold them for future generations. Macfarlane tells of the deletion of words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary because they are not relevant to modern day childhood. Words like acorn, beech, conker, and many, many more. By contrast, newly introduced words thought to be more relevant to the children of today are bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom and so on.
I’ve just written all of that and whilst I bought Landmarks when it was first published in 2015, I think I shall have to read it again, and all his other brilliant books!
The East Strand, Portrush
Yes! The sea and the sand with some sunshine! Unfortunately, it is bitterly cold.
It is only April after all.
It’s cold; there’s a fresh breeze blowing from the northwest, but it is a wonderful day! A day to help blow away all grief and sadness and look forward to a quiet Christmas.
Another day of rain and so I stay indoors. I watch the flowers as their strength is tested by the heavy downpours. This picture will serve as a memory to hold onto until next year.
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.
What a glorious day! These could be the last good days of summer, so off we go for a tour of County Down to some of our favourite places. First to the house and gardens of wonderful Mount Stewart.
Then we board the ferry at Portaferry to cross to Strangford. Such a short trip but being on the water is a joy today.
A short drive from Strangford is Kilclief. There are a few families on the beach: one group having a picnic, another playing cricket and at the edge of the sea some children paddling. This is the perfect place to stop and relax. The sun is warm and the air is fresh. It doesn’t get better than this!