In the west of Achill Island an old road winds its way between the sea and the mountains to Keem Bay. At one side the land falls away to the rushing Atlantic ocean and on the other rises Croaghaun mountain. The road ends at a beautiful beach which must be paradise when the weather is fine and warm. Today wild winds ripped through the bay, the day before the mists were so heavy we could hardly see the sea. But this is part of the experience of the Atlantic coast and these are the forces that have shaped the island, lest we forget.
I have always admired the relief of colour the pink and purple heathers bring to the rural Irish landscape. It is strange how so much green can seem barren at times. Up hill it rolls over the landscape and its fuzzy texture breaks the harsh lines of the green grasses against the blue and white skies.
Last summer I found this blue eyelet lace skirt and the navy and white floral skirt in Zara. I love how they look with a plain crewneck sweater and some cute shoes. I usually prefer plain tops and jumpers in neutral colours so these kind of skirts are great to give an easy and more dressed up option. They fold up really small which is great for packing for a weekend away and bring some easy diversity instead of having loads of different tops and jumpers and pants options.
We visited the Céide Fields, where the remains of an ancient stone-age settlement are preserved beneath the blanket bog. It is dated 5,500 thousand years b.p. and discoveries include the oldest preserved field systems known. For these ancient farmers, being in the west coast of Ireland was literally living on the edge of the world, far beyond the frontiers of the civilisations of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and Egypt.
After the Céide Fields were abandoned and the blanket bog covered over what was left of the settlement, Ireland remained a wild and distant place to the civilisations that developed around the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle East and Ancient Greece. Even the later Roman empire never attempted to invade Ireland. They called the island Hibernia, the land of winter. A geographer living in the time of Caesar describes the people of Hibernia as cannibals living a miserable existence because of the cold. In the Roman mind, anywhere it was not possible to grow olive trees and grapes for wine, was inhospitable.
This is the dramatic Doolough pass (black lake pass). A memorial cross reminds us that this place is the back drop of an awful tragedy that happened in the time of the great famine which you can read about here. It is a story of those who had the power to give humanitarian relief but didn’t. The real heroes are those who will always act with compassion towards their fellow human beings without reference to political borders and other discriminations.