landscapes from Valentia Island

Yesterday found us on Valentia Island.

Here are a few views from the day:

Chehsiveen from Valentia
lots of light and shadow as we look toward Cahersiveen from Valentia
Fogher cliff
way “bigger” than my photography is able to display.
Geokaun Mountain
Looking toward the Kells hills
play of water
near the lighthouse on Valentia Island
Phil’s lighthouse beach cairn



water and rock in conversation
the coastline of the Island near the Tetrapod trackway
Skelligs on the horizon
Skelligs in the mist of the horizon
another view

Four who found their way to Valentia yesterday:

Fogher Cliff lookout
Bruce and Roberta at Fogher Cliff
on the ferry
Phil and Patricia (as photographed by Bruce) on the ferry to Valentia
doing my level best
Phil (as photographed by Patricia) doing what some say is what he does the best










Published by philandpatricia

we live in Northport, MI

5 thoughts on “landscapes from Valentia Island

  1. It looks like you are getting the nice weather that we missed! I think there are enough clues in this piece (written in 1995 but still accurate) so you could actually find this spot!



    The rugged west of Ireland that I know is a place where life lies close to the earth. Reaching out towards the new world, the mountain backboned peninsular pioneers of Europe stretch into the North Atlantic. It is not a comfortable exploration of the wild waters. Around the ragged edges of land the rock, a mix of heat hardened igneous, softer sandstones, and the glossy purple slate that covered so many of Europe’s roofs, does its best to resist the waters ravages. In most part it succeeds, and this is not a coastline were one senses the slow but relentless inroads of water into land. To view these coasts now is to imagine them as they were when the Vikings first pushed their long boats from northern fiords onto Irish cobble beaches to plunder the pitiable wealth of early Christian monastic settlements clinging to the fringes of a post Roman Europe. So the land and the water coexist, much as they have for eons, in dynamic tension. What rules the land is the wind.
    For thousands of miles to north, south, and west the howling maelstrom winds sweep unfettered over open water before encountering the mountains of Kerry. Only from the east, from whence the winds rarely blow, do the hills and trees of continental Europe provide protection. The gales come from the sea. The gales come from the north, south, and west.
    There is a spot I like to sit where the road west on the Iverach, finding no ledge on which to perch between the bulk of Knocknadobar and the thundering surf finally succumbs. From the place one can look back up the road, up the bay, to the last abandoned house of the deserted fishing village of Roads. Tucked in a hollow, below the road, sheltered from the wind by an ungainly outcrop of land, the house is a testament to a hard life long since given up. The thatched timber roof is long fallen, but here and there in the gaps between the rock comprising the two-foot-thick walls are signs of life past and present. Here the mortar clings, still covered with traces of faint blue white wash. A battered metal fork rests on a window ledge, and a cracked liniment bottle protrudes from the earth. In the fireplace the crane still hangs, the iron pot that fed the family, gone. Clutching the crevices, the walls are encrusted with a rampant growth of vegetation. Moss, ferns, bracken, spiderworts grow in profusion, greening the old home, completing the process of its demise, the blending of the rock once erected into walls, with the earth.
    But these are sights one can see all over western Ireland. What always draws my attention as I sit in this lonely peaceful place is the sentinel tree – Holly, in fact. The tree grows from the top of the wall where the rafters once rested. Perhaps the seed germinated among the organic rubble of rotting wood and straw that had composed the roof. Now its roots, clutching the rocks of the wall in a grip of death, extend downward drawing sustenance from somewhere mystical inside the wall.
    But the tree is more than a testament to nature’s tenacity. It is also a testament to a time when people knew the elements against which they struggled.
    For even in the tree’s infancy, when it was perhaps two feet tall, it must have become clear why an Irish fisherman had sited his house as he did. As that young holly grew and reached up above the walls so carefully nestled behind a protective lie of the land, it encountered the wind, hard and fast from the west, southwest. Incessantly blowing around and over the bulk of the mountain, streaming along the seem formed by water and land, forced up over the green sward, the wind found the growing tree. Now the tree is shaped as the roof once must have been and provides shelter for the humble room below the walls. The top most leaves must be both 20 feet above and 20 feet to the northeast of the trunk and wall. The tree is not bent like a hobblebush or birch under the weight of snow; it has simply grown sideways, wedge shaped, against the wind. The windward side, smooth, windswept, rising at a forty-degree angle, mirroring the vanished roof.
    The rugged west of Ireland that I know is a place where life lies close to the earth. Those that rise above it, even men, conform to the wind’s wishes. Lie still my sweet, close to the ground in a hollow of heather. Let the sentinel holly watch over you and the night sky be your blanket. Let the winds of worry blow over you. Rise not into the maelstrom. Time passes, and all things, like the holly, will take on a form that fits the winds that blow across the land.

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