This time last week during a weeks holiday to both counties Sligo and Mayo, in the norths west of Ireland, we hiked up Croagh Patrick or “The reek” as locals know of it. This mountain is one of Irelands Highest peeks and is most famous for being climbed by pilgrims on Reek Sunday every year, which is the last Sunday of each July. On this Sunday, thousands of pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick in honor of Saint Patrick who, according to tradition, fasted and prayed on the summit for forty days in the year 441.
It has been a personal aim to walk the peeks of a list of mountains in Ireland for a couple of years and “The Reek” is just one of these mountains to hike in the next couple of years.
The weather on the day was perfect and we started our walk about Midday having driven some 80km to the main car park used to start the hike. The start of the walk is good, being flat for a while and then only slowly rising in level, so you get a little time to warmup before the main slopes higher up the mountain side. Once you hike the first slopes the path levels off for a while until you come to the bottom of the main peek.
I really enjoyed this hike, its hard – no getting away from that fact but when you do finally get to the top the views are amazing, you can see most of county Mayo and well into county Sligo from here. there is a step that surrounds a small chapel that you can sit on to eat and have something to drink. We rested here for about 10 mins before walking around the top of the peek.
As you can see these images below are mostly taken at the top, when I finally go to open my bag and get my camera out. As I said you truly feel on top of the world here, this point is some 764 metres (2,507 ft) above sea level, not the highest mountain in the country by about 250 meters but here you start your walk at sea level so it could well be the highest distance you have to walk to get to the top…..
I will let these images do the rest of the talking for me other than to say , this is one of the most enjoyable walks of my life and I cannot wait to walk more Irish mountains in the months yo come ..
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, A gallery
Those Images – Poem by William Butler Yeats
What if I bade you leave
The cavern of the mind?
There’s better exercise
In the sunlight and wind.
I never bade you go
To Moscow or to Rome.
Renounce that drudgery,
Call the Muses home.
Seek those images
That constitute the wild,
The lion and the virgin,
The harlot and the child.
Find in middle air
An eagle on the wing,
Recognise the five
That make the Muses sing.
William Butler Yeats
Created using a Wacom Mobile Studio table …..
Killary Harbour/An Caoláire Rua is a fjord located in the west of Ireland in the heart of Connemara which forms a natural border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is 16 kilometres long and in the centre over 45 metres deep. It is one of three glacial fjards that exist in Ireland, the others being Lough Swilly and Carlingford Lough.
On its northern shore lies the mountain of Mweelrea, Connacht’s highest mountain, rising to 814 metres. To the south rise the Maumturk Mountains and the Twelve Bens. The area contains some of Ireland’s most awe-inspiring and dramatic scenery.
I visit the Fjord back in January and captures these images, I felt that Christos Andreas Kourtis poem “Glacier” matched the amazing atmosphere here perfectly …..
Christos Andreas Kourtis
Nov 30, 2013
Slowly it slides on sub zero waters
trying to find a pathway to the sea
sheet of pure blue and heaven white
lumbers discreetly for aquiline is quite
From the top of the world
frozen fingers reach down
claws frantic on solid ground
No religion no sage
no saviour just age
and the relentless pull of gravity
will take it from mountain to the sea
This sculptress of valleys and dales
and fjords that can be seen for miles
travels without sound
By Christos Andreas Kourtis
West of Galway lies a land
Scorched by the chill of northern winds
Where ancient hills stoically contemplate
Their grey reflections in dark, misty lakes
Roiling stormclouds serve as the canvas
For a monochromatic panorama
That lulls the local folk
Into an inescapable monotony
Their lilting language itself
A murmur that recalls the falling rain
The plodding passage of days
In this dreary, silent landscape
Is a hell all its own
For those accustomed
To urban bustle
But the natives of this grey land
Sing bright céilí songs
Drink their lager by golden firelight
Dance reels and jigs
And tell stories of a time
When giants roamed the hillocks
And heroes sailed the roaring seas
In search of mythic monsters
Descended from hearty stock
Of shepherds and saints
These rustic people still regard
The old ways as new
Discover their future through their past
And are never bored
As long as there’s a tale to be told
A smile to take in
Or a pint to share with a friend
Children of the Gaeltacht
Sing your songs
Remind me once again
Of that night in Ballyconneely
When I was one of you
This Morning here in Ireland is a very wet one with some 20mm of rain is expected here in county Kilkenny before midday.
So what better way to free yourself on this Autumn day than with a rainy day poem :
The Rainy Day
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
A Slow Afternoon at the lake
Last year I stayed at Derryhick lake, county Mayo for a weeks holiday.
One very slow morning while taking some pictures of the lake, the time was moving by very slowly and by the afternoon I decided that I wanted to attempt to capture the feeling of these moments. I placed the camera onto a tripod and put an ND filter on the lens and took some 30 second exposures of which these are just three.
I was very please with the effect of the slow shutter speed on the surface of the lake as it captured exactly the feeling of this very windy but wonderful day.
A sense of place (Achill island, County Mayo) in ten black and white images ..
I don’t usually post images by themselves but I want these images just to speak for themselves ….
All images taken on a Nikon D7000, set to black and white and in September 2011….
Feel free to add some comments !
This set of images was taken at (Derryhick, Co.Mayo) above Derryhick lake – where we were staying for a week, I was out walking Molly our Golden retriever when we passed a field on our left.
I noticed this old white Bog pony way in the distance and she really took my attention so here she is, I have come back in my mind to this moment a lot for some reason as I hope she’s good and still walking this amazing landscape.
Landscape images : Nigel borrington
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
Keem Strand, Achill island, Co.Mayo – Nikon D7000, Jan 2013
A moment of peace and quite, this image was taken late one evening during a summer stay at Derryhick Lake, Co Mayo.
Kilkenny based Photographer : Nigel Borrington