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I managed to get myself up very early last weekend in order to take a few photos down by the coast while the sun was low in the sky.

Morning sunrise

This photograph, of the fields, the mist and the windswept bush in the foreground, was taken on my way down to the beach. I love it.

Bird on Ballybrannigan Beach Glow on the rocks Monster head

The above are a few photos taken of the coast and the rocks as they are bathed in the orange searchlight glow of sunrise. Check out the rock monster poking his head out of the ground!

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Another photograph from the weekend. This one is from Inch Beach in East Cork – one of my regular haunts.

Irish country Road by the sea

Over the last few days we have had a continuous barrage of gale-force and storm force winds. Curiously, the weather was meant to be dreadful today but it didn’t turn out like that in Cork at least. It was actually quite a pleasant day..

In any case I still had to get down to the sea to take a few photos. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing like the sea during a storm.

East Cork Storm 4

East Cork Storm 2

East Cork Storm 1

This weekend was an eventful and pleasent one.

I met a friend of mine from years back in O’Hare, and it so happened that he was sitting right in front of me on the flight. Other than that it was a typical flight – about 90 minutes of sleep and the usual clammy, drained feeling when I finally arrived into Shannon.

I was exhausted (as usual) when I arrived home after driving back from Shannon. I really, really should stop doing this: I’m flying to direct to Dublin from now on. After a 3 hour nap, I headed out to Roches Point, the lighthouse at the eastern entrance to Cork Harbour. It was wonderful. There were some fantastic rock structures out there and the seas were raging. The “harbour effect” was quite dramatic – I could virtually draw a line across the harbour mouth where the waters suddenly became calm. Further on in my travels, I came across a pristine beach that has a stunning cave and cliff backdrop. No photos unfortunately. I’ll definitely be back, though.

Today I took all four kids on a trip up to the Nire Valley in Co. Waterford (once again, no photos 😦 ) . We ambled a short distance to a place where a small river cuts deeply into the valley. Nobody there but ourselves. Flocks of ravens could be seen fighting the air currents. My eldest was thrilled when we came across a megalithic standing stone on our return journey. After looking carefully at the stone, I noticed that the symbol of the cross was incribed in the rock.

I then took a meandering trip to Ardmore, Co. Waterford, the site of one of Ireland’s best preserved round towers (a defensive structure used by monks during Viking times). We found a terrific playground there quite close to the beach, and I pretended to be a big bad monster while the kids tried to defend their playground castle from me. We spent the time there shrieking with joy. It was great fun.

They were exhausted when we got home. One thing though – my eldest son tried to put on a DVD movie (thinking I wouldn’t notice) and when the Universal Pictures intro started – the one with the world turning – my two youngest boys (age 2) started shouting “Earth!!!” and one of them pointed to a small country on the globe and said “Ireland!!!”

He was quite right.

Beach outcropToday wasn’t exactly the type of day to be putting on boots and getting outside. It had been bucketing down for most of the day. I was keen on going for a walk by the coast, but when I saw the rain pouring down on the balcony I decided that I would need to leave it for another day. But then I got a call from a friend of mine. He was interested in going on a walk, and without a second thought I decided we would do it, rain or no rain.

We met each other in Ballybrannigan Beach at 3.45, put on our rain gear and headed out. The walk is not the easiest: you have to scale rock faces at times, and you always need to be on the look-out for slippery stones. This type of walking requires the utmost concentration. The sea was wild! Not as far out as I would have liked, but we managed to do the walk without any problems.

Rock face with huge indentations in itMy friend was the first person I have ever taken out on a walk on the coast. He has done hillwalking a few times before, but this was different. I’m not sure if he was expecting it to be so challenging. Certain algaes and seaweeds can make boulders very slippery indeed, especially in bad weather.

The walk is quite short, but it’s a good one because you get to see everything the coast throws up at you: sea caves, stacks, bridges, cliffs, wave-cut platforms, ledges, boulders, sandy beaches and little alcoves everywhere.

The major item of interest is a rock wall that is punctured by huge round indentations. These indentations, ranging from 30 cm to 1m, have been put there by great round boulders, some of which are still embedded in the rock face. There appears to be a thin ‘skin’ on the boulders. I discovered today that similar indentations can be located some distance away from the rock wall. I’d love to know more about how these features originated.

I think I live in a fascinating and beautiful part of the world.

Narrow Sea inlet Water flooding into a narrow inlet.

Sea fishing Sea fishing on the rocks

Boulder field Moonscape: a boulder field

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