That’s all we’re allowed during the Covid19 lockdown for ‘necessary exercise.’ But I have spent years now exploring the townlands around us and I like nothing better than to ramble out with my camera looking out for whatever comes my way, like Rossbrin Castle, above. Robert has done something similar this week – each of us with our own take on what life is like here right now.
From the top: Seven-spot Ladybird; Peacock Butterfly; Mr Bull and his two cows observing social distancing
I’ve learned so much this way about the natural world. A lot of it has ended up as blog posts on Roaringwater Journal or as entries on my Wildflowers of West Cork Facebook Page.
From the top: Herb Robert, Greater Stitchwort and Ground-ivy
There is archaeology and history all around us too, from a wedge tomb to a tower house, from mining complexes to ring forts and standing stones.
From the top: a ruined farmstead bears witness to population decline; Mount Gabriel looms over a pastoral scene; the old gate once led into a mine
We miss our friends, The Chat in Budds, our Irish lessons and conversation group, the Book Club and Art House Cinema and Talks at the Vaults and all the other events that get us out into the community and keep us curious and learning. We miss our long drives, our Holy Well and Stone Circle hunting trips – and our lattes!
From the top: Tadpoles; Ivy-leaved Toadflax on an old stone wall
But these are small, first world, complaints and we do know how privileged we are to be well, to be able to buy groceries online, not to have small children to entertain and educate at home, and most of all to live in such incredible surroundings. It’s a good reminder not to take those privileges for granted.
I think I have barn envy
Meanwhile, we want to support everyone’s efforts to flatten the curve and we are in awe of the selfless dedication of so many people and desperately sympathetic to those who have lost income. The best way we know to do this is to be cooperative and follow the rules. And that’s what we are doing, mostly staying at home and when we go out keeping our walks to a 2km radius.
From the top: Contrasting textures – bark and barn; Distant view of Castle Island with the remaining castle wall and the abandoned farm houses
So herewith is a selection of what we’ve seen in the past few days as we walk several different 2km routes that present themselves from our front gate. Many of the wildflowers are tiny and only lots of practice enables me to spot them in the verges or the fields.
From the top: Dandelions and Celandine; Common Mouse-ear; Thrift and Scurvygrass
It seems like spring has been slow to come this year although when I look back at previous years I see much the same assemblage of flowers for late March and early April. But beyond a golden day or two, it hasn’t warmed up yet so there is no sense of spring suddenly ‘bustin’ out all over’. Nevertheless the hedgebanks are slowly coming to life and I see something new every day.
From the top: Wild Strawberry; Three-cornered Garlic (AKA Three-cornered Leek); Scarlet Pimpernel; Primrose
The rock faces at my favourite bog soak are always fascinating, although you have to lie flat with your face an inch from the surface to really grasp the miniature world that teems on its surface. I’m still determined to improve my knowledge of lichen and mosses, but I can’t pretend I’ve advanced much.
From the top: Devil’s Matchstick, a type of Cladonia lichen: I don’t know
How are you all doing out there? Leave a comment and let us know – we want all our dear readers to stay safe and well!