Bret’s co-workers invited us to join along on a hike yesterday. I spend a lot of time with myself these days, so I, especially, was excited for the chance to get outside and take in the lovely Irish scenery with some good company.
Sunday turned out to be a bit rainy. In case any of you look at the pictures we post and think it is mostly sunny in Ireland. It is not. Those pictures always make it to the blog because the best pictures come in the rare minutes during which we have some sun. Rain coming down in sheets is a much more common weather event. Downtown Cork, which is just a few minutes from our home has flooded twice since we’ve been here:
Further flooding in Cork city as River Lee bursts banks
So all the rain turned what is normally a modest Mahon waterfall into a spectacular sight (see Bret’s pictures here).
The yellow circle is the actual Mahon Falls. The green circle is another huge waterfall that our local guide, Chris, said he had never seen before. The blue circle is the waterfall that grew out of the trail we were supposed to take up to the top.
Needless to say, there was a little too much water for us to get across and take the trail to the top, so we went plan B. Hike across the ridge from the next valley over
and then back on the side of the ridge that faces the waterfalls.
That second part sounded a little terrifying to my vertigo (did I mention that it was quite windy?), but it seemed like a nice alternative.
and it was.
The red of the heather and the green of the grass and rushes made the landscape really vibrant. Bret commented at one point that he felt like everything he was seeing was in the vivid mode (my favorite camera setting).
The white dots everywhere are sheep, by the way. It turns out that our whole hike (and most other hiking in the area) was on private land. The farmers just allow folks access. Our hosts related that some farmers are more friendly about it than others (for instance, if you bring a dog which is only rarely allowed, some farmer will just shoot them). I can’t even imagine how this would work in the US. I am guessing that lots of ankles get twisted coming down those hills and those are some steep cliffs with only good sense to protect you from falling over the edge. However, the sheep generally keep to themselves, so I don’t think it bothers them too much to have hikers milling around.
All in all it was a fantastic (but very wet) day. We got just enough glimpses of the incredible views that we were missing from the clouds, that we have already put this hike back on our to-do list for when the weather gets better.
My favorite picture from the day…. ghost sheep.
Is that some sort of tree plantation in the distance in the second photo from the top?
Yes… It seems like most of the tree farms grow pulp/ firewood- although there seems to be some forest products industry in Ireland. Most of the forest that is left in Ireland (10% forest cover) is plantations- mostly sitka spruce. Looks like there is some bug eating at them too.