Last Sunday, we went on a boat trip in West Cork. We were hoping to come up close and personal with a large pod of fin whales, but, despite excellent weather on the day, they were nowhere to be seen. Photos of these magnificent creatures will have to wait for another day.
The trip was remarkably uneventful. Not only did we not see fin whales, but we also failed to spot any sunfish, dolphins or minke whales either. Even the skipper couldn’t hide his frustration on the day, as the previous few days had been marvellous for spotting marine creatures.
We did manage to see seals, but this time of the year they’re not likely to go too far as the females are heavily pregnant. And no, we didn’t see any newborn seal pups either, in case you’re asking.
The upside is that I managed to take some nice photos. The coastline around Castletownshend is gloriously photogenic, even if its marine inhabitants were in hiding.
Today I took a visit to Garinish Island in West Cork. This is a beautiful garden paradise a short boat trip away from the village of Glengarriff. The gardens are a wonderful fusion of exotic plants and beautiful buildings.
At the core are the Italian Gardens, purpose built for the Gardens by Annan Bryce and Harold Peto. The Caha Mountains in the background provide a delightful backdrop.
On a hill overlooking the island is a Martello Tower, an old watchtower built to warn of French invasion during the Napoleonic Wars. The view from the top affords a view of the bay across to Eccles Hotel in Glengarriff.
Garinish is a haven for different plants and trees that would not easily survive in Northern Europe. The climate in West Cork is almost completely frost free, giving sub-tropical plants a fighting chance. Some plants, particularly many species of Rhododendrons and Myrtles, have thrived. I took a few macro shots to explore this further.
I also took a few shots that I converted to Instagram. Prominent is the Roman Temple from which a fine view of the Beara peninsula can be seen.
We passed by a group of Common Seals on the way back. They were basking in the sun, relaxing. I knew well how they felt.
Yesterday, we headed to the Galley Head area in West Cork, halfway between Clonakilty and Skibbereen. The day was uncharacteristically perfect. The low winter sun offering this battered coastline some light relief.
The winter storms had not yet abated and the waves around the Long Strand (Castlefreke) were enormous, crashing loudly onto the beach. I caught some nice shots during our walk.
We then headed to the Drombeg Stone Circle, close to Glandore. These Bronze Age Menhirs with their portal stones and altar is a reminder of mysterious times long gone. Close by is a wonderfully preserved “Fualacht Fia” – an ancient kitchen. Red-hot stones were added to the water, allowing the water to boil, thus cooking whatever food had been caught during the day.