Cheese sandwiches in the fairy fields

Coast1  A walk down to the
fairy fields at the end of the Cahermacrusheen boreen where we have a grand
picnic of cheese sandwiches and Tayto crisps and a flask of tea. The sea is
still and the Aran Isles look very close. Most of the land around North Doolin is
parched and the grass dry and brownish as if this was August rather than early
April. But here, on the way to the rocks at the edge of the Burren, the turf is
thick and wet like black gold and little patches of intense green burst out
from beneath the stones.

The kids do a cow
attracting dance that achieves its objective, expect these are bullocks not
cows. On the way back we see a thorn tree decorated with ribbons, materials,
toys, holy water and candles. Next to this is the dry stone wall part of which is
made up of massive horizontal stones, which I have a feeling had once been the lost
Cahermacrusheen dolmen.

Forgotten Small Towns of the Midlands

Driving across Ireland from Dublin to Co. Clare at high speed yesterday I thought, as we flashed by yet another turn-off to a small town, how the Irish driving experience has changed for the worse. No longer is it a slowish procession through interesting main streets with bars, hardware shops and town halls. No longer does one get stuck behind a tractor and start looking at the landscape and buildings and hedgerow flowers.  Where once a driver would talk about the changing scenery and the stories of his journey, now people boast how quickly they did the drive. In some ways it’s a manifestation of our need for instant gratification, wanting to get to a destination as quickly as possible. The midlands then become just an annoying interlude from Tourist Zone A to Tourist Zone B.

Eventually we turned off at Loughrea and sat and ate cheese and ham sandwiches in an old churchyard while the kids played and suddenly I knew where I was once more. Then we continued on to Croughwell on the old road and time stopped speeding past so quickly. I lost the temptation to be permanently overtaking and we became part of a lovely slow convoy behind a lorry, pootling along at a more authentic 50 miles an hour.