Spent a few days in Ireland with DH, meeting up with him for some birding after he'd been there a week or so golfing with his brothers.
The start was a pretty hectic trek of close to 22 hours continuous travel -- I flew into Dublin, took a taxi to the Heuston train station and the train to Cork where DH picked me up: and then we drove (about 2 more hours) to Bantry on the south west coast.
Like a picture post-card -- the emerald green fields hedged with purple and pink fuchsia in bloom.
Masses of ripe brambleberries. And orange crocosmia.
Once off major highways, such narrow narrow roads -- just two strips one vehicle width wide with green grass down the middle. And if you encounter another vehicle, the need to back up until there's a lay-by.
Our first few days we stayed in a remote "birder's" cottage set among fields of sheep and cows up one of those tracks.
We had a day of "guided birding" . . . crows and gulls, of various types, comprised most of the bird life!! I was delighted to see "real" British Christmas robins, so fat and round and jolly, smaller than our North American robins:
And also "European" goldfinches -- such as the one immortalized in Raphael's "Madonna with a goldfinch". They fly like our black winged yellow birds and sound just the same -- but what a natty colour combo!
Our last two days we spent about 20 miles west of Dublin in a tiny mid-18th century gate house belonging to the Irish Landmark Trust, set at the eastern boundary of a "stately home": Castletown House.
What a lovely spot -- so remote, with a tributary of the Liffey River flowing past and free access to the 200 acre park -- yes, with lots and lots of birds there too!! Gray herons, coots, ducks, raptors . . . . plus many local people walking their dogs of various breeds! We ourselves walked more than 17,000 steps in a single day and then had our supper outside on a private patio using a small folding table and chairs thoughtfully provided . . . listening to the dusk chorus. I think that if we were to return to Ireland in the future, we might base our travels around two or three days in each of several of the glorious properties owned by the Irish Landmark Trust . . .
Back late Wednesday and back to work Thursday and Friday: but it's taken me till this morning to recover entirely from the jet lag!
Worth it?? Oh yes!! Such a good break before we gear up for the fall!