Driving through the Valley is a unique experience. It is embedded in a mountainous landscape of unspoilt nature – Mweelrea Mountain and Sheeffry Hills. There are two lakes on the east-side, where the Wild Atlantic Way winds its way through.
A yearly walk is held along this route in memory of the Doolough dead and to highlight the starvation of the world’s poor, still today.
A stone memorial cross can be found on the northern edge of the valley, dedicated to the victims of the “Doolough Tragedy” marking one of the most tragic periods in Irish history. During the Great Famine in 1849, hundreds of people made their way from Louisburgh to Delphi Lodge. Threatened by starvation, their suffering was ignored and they were turned away. Many died from malnutrition on the return journey to Louisburgh in Doolough Valley.
“How can men feel honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings?”
This beautiful avenue of beech trees with their intertwining branches were planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. The family planted an avenue of over 150 beech trees along the entrance to their Georgian estate. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached their home, Gracehill House.
Today this unique, tranquil and spellbinding tunnel of ancient beech trees stretches along the Bregagh Road, intertwining and entangling to create a spectacular fusion of light and shadow.
The Dark Hedges are the most photographed location in Northern Ireland. So much so, that even the popular Game of Thrones filmed a scene at this enchanting road.
This has clearly put the Dark Hedges on the map.
I thought you might like to see a clip of the top five Game of Throneslocations in Northern Ireland:
Depending on the time of year that you visit, there is no doubt that you will capture compelling images with your camera. The combination of shadows between morning and evening light, the seasons, snow, mist or haze – it’s a photographers heaven!
It is particularly eerie as the evening draws to a close and the light fades.
Originally, there were about 150 trees, but time has taken its toll along with storm damage and we were told that tour buses were causing difficulty too. Sadly, only about 90 of the trees remain today.
An old legend tells us of a “Grey Lady” that silently glides along the avenue. She then quietly vanishes into the ether. But when Halloween arrives, she re-emerges accompanied on her walk by tormented souls of those who were buried beside her!
With the help of Heritage Lottery Funding The Dark Hedges Preservation Trust project has four aims – to conserve and enhance The Dark Hedges, utilise the hedges as a learning tool and improve and develop interpretation around the hedges. The Dark Hedges Preservation Trust is working in partnership with the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust to deliver the project.
Let’s hope the Dark Hedges survive well into the future and if you are in Northern Ireland, take the time to check them out – well worth a visit!
Here are some other paintings from my trip to the magnificent Causeway Coast & Glens, Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Glendalough, Co. Wicklow is one of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations.
It is a popular visitor attraction and has always been a favourite among artists to interpret.
“Glendalough will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul!”
Glendalough (gets its name from the Irish language Gleann Dá Loch, “Valley of the Two Lakes”) It is noted for its magnificent scenery, rich history, archaeology, flora and fauna, abundant wildlife and mining history.
Glendalough is also one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Most of the buildings that survive today date from the 10th through 12th centuries.
There are many walking trails of varying difficulty around Glendalough. I have added some photographs which I took from my phone while on a recent visit with my family. We took the “high road” (one of the difficult routes) and the mountain climb ensured a great workout! Thankfully, we were well rewarded with magnificent views over the valley when we got to the top.
I hope you like my painting and enjoyed reading this post.
The Pigeon House, also referred to as The Poolbeg Generating Station is situated on the River Liffey in Ringsend Dublin. The iconic chimneys are so-called, because of their caretaker John Pidgeon. The story began with the shipping difficulties encountered in navigating Dublin bay around the time of the late 1700’s. Construction work began to make the channel deeper and The Great South Wall, the longest of its kind in Europe was constructed.
A more permanent fort built shortly afterwards, remained in operation until 1897, when the building was sold to Dublin Corporation. They wished to build a power station to supply energy to the fast-growing city. The power station, initially coal-fired, began operation in 1903.
It was finally decommissioned in 1976. Its massive chimneys became a famous Dublin landmark and have become a favorite with many artistic interpretations.
I came across the Greek word “Meraki” and its meaning caught my attention. For me, all I could think of was that it had to apply to a painting. This is the nearest English translation:
“Meraki” to do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself into your work
meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective) of Greek origin
And so, this is my Meraki painting! It has been sitting on my easel for quite a while now – nameless, so I am happy to have found a title to compliment it. These are the kind of scenes I like to paint because they are the places my mind often visits and lingers for a while.
A recent trip from Galway city to Clifden and on to Cleggan left me feeling much inspired.
It was a cold and wet day but the constant changing light danced around the rugged landscape, shifting its mood and tone as it contrasted with the Twelve Bens mountain range to the north. Sheep grazed in the surrounding bog-lands that were illuminated by shades of gold as time stood still.
This painting reflects my memory of the trip.
While I am speaking about the glories of Ireland and its rich countryside, may I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day