Country Clare / by Conor Cunningham

Gregan's Castle

I'm finally getting around to publishing a few pictures from my recent holiday in Ireland. The above picture is part of the gardens at Gregan's Castle; a fantastic spot to put your feet up for a while. The gardens are fantastic and the surrounding area is stunning. The food and the service at Gregan's are also terrific. Should you get a chance, definitely stay for a night or two at Gregans.

The above photo was taken in the late evening as the sun was setting. I think I probably over exposed the highlights just a bit which was a shame but overall it's not too bad. You can see Galway bay in the distance which is visible from the gardens in good weather.

Eva getting lost in the gardens

The gardens have a myriad of plants which I know nothing about. Eva is into gardens and she had quite the time.

Donkies!

There is also a pony and two donkies on the grounds. They were quite fond of Eva.

Bumble Bees

Spring was in full swing in the gardens and the bumble bees were abundant and busy pollinating the flowers. Difficult little things to photograph.

The pond at Gregans

Not the best picture going around these days, but there is a pond at Gregan's which appeared to have a great deal of diverse flora. Occassionally they'd be a couple of ducks have a wee swim, too.

The view from the top of Black Head. Photo by Shane Connolly.

Around the corner from the village of Ballyvaughan is Black Head. Stunning views of the Aran Islands. Local man Shane Connolly provides guided walks around the Burren, the local unique landscape which was once under water and consists largely of limestone. Shane knows more than I can remember about the area, but his guidance was fantastic and Eva had a ball learning about the unique local flowers which are found in the area. Shane's information can be found at http://homepage.eircom.net/~burrenhillwalks/

Above and below are two of local flowers. I'll have to wait until Eva gets home to find out what they are.

A place for the perfume lovers, the Burren Perfumery distills and makes their own perfumes. Again, Eva was quite at home here. I preferred the gardens where I chased after birds and bees and once my energy levels ran low, sat down with another fellow who said he really thinks they should provide pints of Guinness for the those of us not so excited about perfumes. I couldn't agree more.

Bird! At the Burren Perfumery.

In the Burren itself are many ancient sites from the Bronze age. Those interested in the period would have a hoot here.

An ancient burial chamber from around 3000 BC.

The burial chamber above is in a lovely spot, but can be filled with tourists. I had to use the 70-200mm lense to compress the background and avoid the tourists that were all around.

Fanore Beach

Fanore beach is just around the corner from Ballyvaughan and is, as I'm told a good spot for surfers. Surfer or not, Fanore and its beach is a stunning spot. Worth a visit if you're in the area.

Fanore Beach