Day 15: Homeward Bound

We’d had typical weather for Ireland this time of year: partly cloudy, cloudy, mostly cloudy, and rainy. Temperature ranged from only forty to fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, I laughed when I saw the “Spring Arrivals” at Ashford Castle when we were there.Spring Arrivals at Kylemore

Yet for the past seven straight days the sun had shined brilliantly. We knew it had to end. Sure enough, snow began to fall from a slate gray sky as we taxied down the runway at Dublin Airport. That was fine. Nothing could detract from the vivid images fixed in my mind.

Sheep on the Meadow

Colorful SheepFleecy white sheep on verdant Connemara hillsides, many ewes bearing colors. Why? Rams are sometimes put into a harness at mating time. The harnesses have a colored, waxy block in them, which leave a mark on the ewe when mounted, so owners know which ewes have been mated with and which have not. After three weeks the color of the crayon is changed. Any ewe that is re-mated gets the second color on her. This one’s been busy.

And then the babies come.

Baby Lambs Closeup

Gorse

 

 

 

 

Dazzling color came in the ubiquitous Western Gorse, an evergreen shrub prevalent in countries of Western Europe.

These vibrant hues of green, pink, blue, yellow all combined to lighten the gray days. The glorious red-orange of a Renvyle sunset completed the color spectrum.

Stay lovely, Ireland. Then again, I know you cannot help yourself.

Renvyle Sunset

 

Day Five: Renvyle House and Connemara National Park Part 1

We had arrived in Galway on Day Four and eaten an early dinner at Tigh Fox, a traditional Irish music house, then headed west to the ocean in Connemara. On the Wild Atlantic Way sits Renvyle House Hotel and Resort.

Renvyle House

Renvyle has been around for centuries as a private home, opening as a hotel for the first time in 1883. Many famous people have graced its 150 acres, including W. B. Yeats and Winston Churchill. We were greeted by a dramatic yet serene sunset. When it was finally dark, we stopped by the pub on site for a toddy and to listen to musicians fiddling away.

Renvyle Sunset

Our House at Renvyle

In the morning we left our house on the property to explore.  We got the lay of the land from first class fly fisherman Jackie Coyne (left below) who was talking shop with a fellow fisherman when I struck up a conversation with him. He was present for a tournament being held on the premises, and proudly announced he had secured a spot in the World Championships being held later this year in Connemara.

Jackie Coyne and friend

Fly fisherman

 

 

 

 

He pointed in the direction of his grandmother’s ancestral home across the water, which bears a resemblance to a castle of long ago. He pointed in another direction and said if we went straight, we’d arrive at the North Pole.

Jackie Coyne's Grandmother's Home

This Way to the North Pole

 

 

 

 

Finally he indicated the direction of New Foundland, and I told him my father was born in Bay Bulls. As I looked toward the country, I felt a connection with the past, a land I’ve never seen, and my dad.

Looking toward New FoundlandIn the early afternoon, it was time to check out Connemara National Park…