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.
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.
Fleecy 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
In the early afternoon, it was time to check out Connemara National Park…