More Leave No Trace Events

I’m delighted to announce the following dates and venues for more small scale Leave No Trace (LNT) Awareness training workshops.

Thursday, July 2 – Westport.

Thursday, July 9 – Athleague.

Tuesday, July 14 – Letterfrack.

Thursday, July 16 – Boyle.

Tuesday, July 21 – Gort.

Thursday, July 23 – Benwiskin.

All awareness training events will be held outdoors, with an element of indoors only if the weather isn’t so good. Even if the weather isn’t so good, there will still be outdoors time involved, so do come prepared.

Most of all, come prepared for some fun in the great Irish outdoors. You will learn about the Seven Principles of the LNT outdoors ethics programme and leave with your LNT Awareness Certificate.

For more info and to book your place at a venu close to you, call me on 086 – 8318748 , or email info [at] tourismpure [dot] com.


Some Places to Visit in Ireland’s West

If you’re living in or visiting Ireland’s West, you might like to consider some of these places for a nice walk or some fun out with the family :

1. Moore Hall, near Carnacon, south County Mayo.

Ruined “big house” plus surrounding forests – much of it planted conifers, but also quite a bit of native broadleaves. Nice walks around Lough Carra.

2. Lough Key Forest Park, near Boyle, north Co. Roscommon.

Okay, there’s the paying part, but there is also loads to do without parting with your cash. Kilometres of forest walks, most of it through native and non-native broadleaves, parts also through conifers. Lakeside walks. Feed the swans and ducks. Look at the passing cruisers, etc.

3. The Suck Valley Way, Athleague, south Co. Roscommon.

Head for the lovely Visitor Centre in a former church. Walk along the bank of the River Suck as far as Castlestrange and its La Tene Stone. If you’re up to it, continue to the quaint and pretty riverside village of Castlecoote.

4. Mountbellew Demesne, Mountbellew, north Co. Galway.

Very large and dense conifer plantation has good walks. See its old forge. If you’re lucky, you might spot some deer, or test your skills in finding their footprints.

5. Arigna Mining Experience, near Drumshanbo, mid Co. Leitrim.

Perhaps Ireland’s best paying tourist attraction (in my humble opinion). Visit the old coal mine, guided by the actual miners themselves. If I remember correctly, mining ceased circa 1990 and the guys themselves now bring visitors around. When they’ve retired in the future, I doubt if the experience will ever be the same, so get there soon.

6. Old Head Wood, beyond Westport, west Co. Mayo.

Forget the beach (as pleasant as it is). Walk beyond the beach and discover the amazing, though small, Old Head Wood. Walk through it at a slow pace and take in this tiny piece of old Atlantic Wood. Then exit the far side and walk along the cliff top fields, until you get a clear view of the great Atlantic Ocean and Clare Island in front of you. Spot the Cormorants, Seals, Dolphins, etc. Take note of the poor trees, bent over at 90 degrees eastwards from the fierce and unrelenting Atlantic winds.

Winter Sun over Connacht

I’ve been lucky lenough to be up and around and out in the beautiful Connacht countryside often enough recently to appreciate the winter sun over this western end of Europe.
I hope you enjoy these pictures – I know they’re not exactly professional, taken with a cheap Fuji camera, but they’re okay.
The Gaelic Chieftain, N4, Boyle.

The Gaelic Chieftain, N4, Boyle.

The first is of surely Ireland’s most magnificent roadside piece of art – The Gaelic Chieftain, by Maurice Harron – located just north of Boyle, one of the prettiest towns in Connacht. Standing proud above the stunning Lough Key below, the sculpture commemorates The Battle of Curlew Pass in 1599. I guess you could say he’s riding off into the sunset.

I’m not going to mention the rubbish that gets discarded here and that Roscommon County Council doesn’t collect often enough. 

Carrowkeel cairns, near Boyle.

Carrowkeel cairns, near Boyle.

The second is of one of my favourite spots in the province – perhaps my very favourite. The Carrowkeel cairns sit atop the Bricklieve Mountains of south Sligo. Often, when you visit megalithic sites, it takes more than a fertile imagination to comprehend what you’re looking at. Up here, you simply climb inside and you’re transported back.

Pity some people feel it necessary to leave their little candles behind them. I always carry them away anyway.

Ben Bulben, Co. Sligo.

Ben Bulben, Co. Sligo.

The third is sunrise over Ben Bulben, taken from slightly north of the mountain, at Grange. My positioning is not quite right to get the impression of the sun rolling up the mountain. Still, better to have tried and failed than not at all. You get the idea.

Back in October, I was walking along the top of Ben Bulben, from the Glencar Lake side out towards the sea end. The wind was mad.

River Shannon flood plains, near Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon.

River Shannon flood plains, near Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon.

The fourth, I took along the Shannon flood plains of east Roscommon. These flat lands invite the river to burst its banks every single winter and spill quite some distance from the river bed. I remember about eight years ago when the then N5 between Tarmonbarry and Strokestown was completely cut off by the flood waters, forcing people some 12 miles out of their way. The road has since been moved.

My father used to tell a great story of an English boat owner, who came to Banagher in Offaly to buy a river boat during the off-season. Cock sure of himself, he took possession of the boat straight away and only got a few miles before running aground, not one but two fields away from the river bed.