Exploring Out West

Explorer Beastie with Mountain

This weekend, Explorer Beastie took his first trip westwards, to Co. Roscommon.
Um, where?
Don’t worry, I didn’t know it existed myself until I met someone from there during my first week in college. Roscommon sits in the western midlands of Ireland, which means that it’s pretty far removed from any of the main tourist trails. It has no coastline, and is distant enough from Dublin that it was left relatively untroubled by the embarrassing “build just about anything just about anywhere” phase this country went through a few years back. It boasts the second lowest population density in Ireland, and 74% of the people live in rural areas (factoids courtesy of the 2011 Census report). It also happens to be where my boyfriend is from, and I consider myself pretty lucky to have an excuse to visit somewhere as beautiful as this!

Anyway, we got a brief spell of sunny weather on Sunday, so I made a beeline for the bog with Explorer Beastie, Boyfriend and Cooper the dog in tow. The main picture shows Explorer Beastie enjoying his first visit to a genuine Irish peat bog! It looks empty, but this bog has a lot going on. Local people still cut peat here on a small scale and use it to heat their homes, and in the late 1940’s a man discovered a hoard of Bronze Age gold jewellery while cutting turf! The pieces – a gold lunula (a crescent-shaped collar) and two gold discs – are now on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

Unfortunately, we didn’t come across any gold. But Explorer Beastie did find some vibrant neon-orange lichen:
Explorer Beastie with Lichen

In fact, the bog is surprisingly colourful at this time of year. We also found some deep crimson moss…
Beastie with Moss

…And some fresh new gorse growing up between the charred stumps left by a fire last year.
New Gorse For Old

We also found some cool bracket fungus on a fallen tree stump:
Explorer Beastie with Fungus

And there were opportunities to climb trees…
Beastie in a Tree

… Hack through the undergrowth…
Beastie in the Bracken

…And stop for a sandwich in a soft mossy hollow.
Sandwich Break

But let’s not forget that this is Ireland, and it wasn’t long before the weather took a turn for the worse!

We had to dash for home and spend the rest of the afternoon toasting our toes by the range. Life’s tough…
Have a great week!

11 thoughts on “Exploring Out West

  1. Wow Explorer Beastie lives up to his name, looks like he… oh & you had a great time, where will he visit next I wonder ?

  2. I’m so happy to discover your blog! The pictures of the bog are lovely; I’m interested in all plants so enjoyed seeing what grows there. Looks like the wee Beastie had a grand time, the look on his face is priceless. Also, thanks for following my Joyful Linens blog; that makes me very happy! And now we can share our very different parts of the world, though if I’m not mistaken the Scotch and Irish immigrants who came here loved the mountains of NC because they are so much like their homeland.

    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’m glad you enjoyed my post about exploring the boglands… I’m looking forward to reading more about life in North Carolina! My brother spent a year in Asheville as an exchange student, and he loved every minute of it.

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