Island of trees against background of mountains in Connemara.

The Magic of County Galway

All around, the coral mountains, crumbling stone walls, lakes – a shade that borrows from sea, that could belong to somebody’s eyes . . . These were my impressions of County Galway, as we journeyed towards Clifden, a town known for its extraordinary position, nestled between the foothills of the Twelve Bens and the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. The day was sleepy with heat, an atmosphere reflected in this island, furnished with sloping trees.

Razor Clam Shell at Ardmore.

The Adventure Years

When the sand draws you down to its grainy heart, you have to keep control of your feet, lift them, before they sink completely. This, I found out while walking on the beach at Ardmore with my husband and baby daughter. I was posing for a lighthearted picture and somehow my daughter’s buggy stayed firm, while the sand crept up over my ballet pumps.

White Feather

Feathers on the Road

A flurry of butterflies awaits us, as we prepare to make the most of a rare blue sky. The weather has been stubbornly grey recently, so here is a chance to show my little girl that life can have a shine all of its own.

Crab at Atlantaquaria, Galway.

Galway Atlantaquaria – The Experience

As a child, I always associated aquariums with magic. There is certainly a mysterious quality to creatures who live underwater and it can be fascinating to see them up close and learn about their habits. Galway Atlantaquaria gave us our first opportunity to introduce our baby daughter to some of these creatures.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare.

The Cliffs of Moher

Our first family holiday – myself, hubs, our baby, and The Cliffs of Moher. Although the weather was rather grey and an edgy wind accompanied us, it seemed fitting as we breathed in the landscape, the sheer scale of the cliffs and their brooding, domineering presence. Tourists swarmed in all directions. Any time we paused to take a photo, a person appeared beside us.

Rediscovering The Sea

I wanted to go to the sea, realised I hadn’t been in almost a year.  Why?  I love the sea.  I grew …

Hot chocolate and cake.

At December’s Edge

Lately, I realised that I haven’t written a nature-related post for a long time. I’m going to blame this on pregnancy, rain, and less time with my husband at weekends . . . Firstly, pregnancy does not mix well with hills, beach-walking or any kind of rough terrain. I was doing really well, up until I reached around 32 weeks, then I experienced two bad colds, began to feel nauseous all over again and lost a bit of my fitness.

Lilac flower at Swansea's Plantasia.

A Sunday Afternoon at Swansea’s Plantasia

On a recent visit to my home town of Swansea, I tried to think of something a bit different to do. My husband and I were meeting a friend and the options were slightly limited, due to my pregnancy and the fact that I’ve been getting some pain on my right side. Suddenly, I remembered Plantasia in Parc Tawe – it’s got insects, fish and animals, as well as lots of greenery and exotic blooms, doesn’t take too long to walk around and also has a coffee shop.

Grasshopper on doorstep.

Grasshopper, Caterpillar, Mushroom Cake!

It seems we have a friendly grasshopper, content to stretch out on our doorstep and chirp a greeting. Obviously, he doesn’t realise his size puts him in great danger of being stepped on! He’s so relaxed that my husband was able to take a very detailed close up of him.

The humble Hairy Molly or Fox Moth Caterpillar (according to Internet reports).

Micropoetry and the Hairy Molly

I’ve been looking out for a certain kind of caterpillar, thinking of its presence as a sign; a prime indicator that autumn is here. The caterpillar I refer to is known as a ‘Hairy Molly’. I think this is actually a slang term for the larvae of the fox moth, but don’t quote me. I’ve just done a small bit of Intenet research and it can only be trusted so far!

Beetle at Mahon Falls.

Meeting a Beetle at Mahon Falls

Mahon Falls is a place I go to find peace. It is characterised by mountains, stubborn sheep (with horns like celtic knots), rushes, greenery, gushing water and pure air. Well, the air is usually pure. On this occasion a group of smokers gathered in front of our just parked car, obscuring the view and lending smoke to the fresh and clear atmosphere.

Young seagull and parent.

The Seagulls of Dunmore East

Before the storms, there was Dunmore East . . . This is what I shall tell myself when my country cottage is under siege from swirling gusts and whipping rain. Yes, I’ve read the weather forecast for the coming week and it doesn’t look good. So today, I’ll be reflecting on a fresh, but sunny afternoon, spent at the harbour in Dunmore East.

Fox cub.

The Lost Animals of Summer

Whenever my husband and I return home from an evening out, we catch sight of a lost looking animal at the side of the road. A couple of days ago we saw a fox cub; his ruddy fur, fanned out from his face like a mane. Seconds later, he fled into the bushes, the tip of his tail signalling a hasty farewell.

Swallow Chicks.

When Swallow Chicks Fledge

Our swallow chicks have fledged already! It seems they were an early brood. One minute, Hubs and I were gazing up, trying to count the number of feathery faces; the next, we were looking at an empty nest.

Rabbit eating grass.

Summer of the Rabbit

Well, I think we can safely say the summer is here. Never mind the rain, like last year, we have swallow chicks and baby bunnies residing in our garden. It was Hubs who spotted the first rabbit, darting under our shed.

Stunning riverside scene at Carrick-on-Suir, complete with heron.

Walking by the River

I love walking by the river in Carrick-on-Suir. The water always looks so fresh and cool. Sometimes it’s possible to distinguish black flickers of fish in the depths. Swans parade like floating snowdrops and on a sunny day the sky presses, only offering a bare trace of breeze.

White blossom on tree.

Blossom, Bird Fights and Bumblebees

Right now, I have a stunning view from my window. The tree across the road is wearing a badge of blossom. It looks like a wedding guest, proud to show off some fresh blooms for the occasion.

mistle thrush

The Fearless Mistle Thrush

The mistle thrush is a proud character, who first came to my attention last spring. He is back again this year and hard to miss.

Lambs and a pheasant.

A Gathering of Birds

I’ve noticed a gathering of birds in my garden, lately. Not a menacing gathering, reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Birds’, but a bright, babbling chorus of goldfinch, chaffinch, blackbird, wagtail and swallow.