The six week long heatwave that we are experiencing here in Ireland during June and July has brought with it some of the best summer weather many can remember, yet it has also at this stage created water shortages and with the ground being so dry we have also had many forest wild fires along with fires on the open bog lands.
I enjoyed capturing these pictures a lot! as the atmosphere on the bog was amazing, the smell of smoke and the cracking of still burning small fires, with dead wood smoking all around me, nothing but deep ash on the surface.
I took these pictures this morning, they show the results of a large wild fire on the bog lands at littleton, county tipperary. Most of the trees and heather have all been burnt, these fires are mostly just on the surface and when we see the return of some rain the environment will recover very quickly. The question is just when will we see our usual Irish summer return , with its rains at least once or twice a week ?
In my earlier post I posted some of my own images of the Bog of Allen, Just one of the Irish Bogs I love visiting. Last year I went to see an Art exhibition that included some painting by, county Kerry based painter Noel Browne.
Some of his paintings I share here.
I feel he has captures the wonderful feel of the Irish Bogs including the vast Landscape they produce, when they have been cut by mechanicall harvesters for Peat production. His painting capture the almost monotone landscapes with deep flooded pits created by these machines.
First paintings for over a year :
Its over a year since I did any painting, I have been working with my photography so much, but as its the start of a new year , I felt a real need to paint again.
This painting is the start of a project I will work on , based on the upland bogs of Kilkenny and Tipperary.
It based on a series of photographic images from these great places.
Going down to Littleton Bog.
To myself I feel that very little depicts the landscape of Ireland as much as it’s peat bog areas, peat has been cut from this landscape for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Littleton Bog is about 30km from my home and I visit this area many times during the year, too both walk our dog Molly and take sometime too take images and just be out in what can be a very wild place in the winter months along with a wonderful place in the summer.
The mass production of peat from the Littleton area has left this landscape deeply affected as you can see from this photo and the photographs below. However I have also tried by best to show how the area around the bog can be reclaimed for both nature and wildlife.
Many Animals and Birds make the reclaimed lakes here their home during both the winter and summer months. Littleton bog is also home to many rare plants and insects with multiple entries in the Irish national biodiversity database.
Last week the Irish Poet Seamus Heaney died and he wrote this Poem about the Irish bog lands.
By Seamus Heaney
We have no prairies
To slice a big sun at evening–
Everywhere the eye concedes to
Is wooed into the cyclops’ eye
Of a tarn. Our unfenced country
Is bog that keeps crusting
Between the sights of the sun.
They’ve taken the skeleton
Of the Great Irish Elk
Out of the peat, set it up
An astounding crate full of air.
Butter sunk under
More than a hundred years
Was recovered salty and white.
The ground itself is kind, black butter
Melting and opening underfoot,
Missing its last definition
By millions of years.
They’ll never dig coal here,
Only the waterlogged trunks
Of great firs, soft as pulp.
Our pioneers keep striking
Inwards and downwards,
Every layer they strip
Seems camped on before.
The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.
The wet centre is bottomless.
Images of the Bog – Gallery
Lough Boora parklands, are one of the most interesting outdoor locations you could visit in Ireland. They cover up to 14 kilometres of scenic views and cycle routes, the parkland has many sculptures and art installations for you to view along with miles of walking routes. The location is also a nature reserve that is home to many rare birds such as lapwings. The first image in the below Gallery is of two Lapwing flying above the park.
Along with the great sculptures which I will cover in full in another post, some archaeology found at the site has completely changed the history of the country. The remains of a village that would have sat on the banks of one of the biggest lakes in Europe at the time. The findings date the people living in this area back some eight and a half thousand years, this is some two and a half thousand years older than previously thought.
It also pre dates the Christian history of Ireland by some seven thousand years.
The village itself was large and well established for its time, indicating that man must have lived here for sometime before reaching this level of culture. This would indicate that Man moved back into Ireland soon after the ending of the last Ice age some ten thousand years ago.
I have taken some images of the information boards on the site, you can find them below the following images.
Poem by : Kathleen Jamie
I walk at the land’s edge,
turning in my mind
a private predicament.
Today the sea is indigo.
Thirty years an adult –
same mind, same
ridiculous quandaries –
but every time the sea
appears differently: today
a tumultuous dream,
flinging its waves ashore –
I tread back over the bog
– but every time the bog
appears differently: this evening,
tufts of bog-cotton
unbutton themselves in the wind
– and then comes the road
so wearily familiar
the old shining road
that leads everywhere