Sketching Ireland #17

Cliffs and an Off World Experience

Lately, I have been posting detailed instructions on my route. This stems from my love of maps. In my family, during our cross country days, I was more or less the navigator. Give me a reliable map, I rarely get lost. Anyway, though I appreciate detailed road instructions, it occurred to me that you the readers may find it a little tedious. So, I will endeavor to keep it short. However, Sketching Ireland is also a travel blog and I hope it would be useful for any of you who want to go on an Irish road trip. Meanwhile, click on this Google Map link and follow my route.

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Now, our next leg of our tour are to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren National Park. We left Dingle taking the N86, first heading East to the town of Tralee. But just before Tralee, in the fishing village of Blennerville, as we crossed a long bridge, we found a neat windmill. I opted to save this sketching subject for later projects. From Tralee, we got on the N69 and headed north. This drive was very long to the next leg and unfortunately, most of it was somewhat tedious. Since, I’m on this road virtually, I can cheat (haha) and jump from point to point. For those of you who’ll actually drive on it, I suggest you make a number of stops. One stop could be into the town of Listowel on the N69. Chow down then visit the Lartigue Museum where you can take a ride on a 19th century style steam engined monorail. Also, if you’re fortunate, you can enjoy watching a 19th century horse race. After Listowel, I went another 10 miles north on the N69 where I ran into a natural road block at Tarbert, a 2 mile wide estuary and the closest bridge is about 20 or so miles east at Limerick. Thank goodness for ferries.

We crossed the estuary where we got on the N67 and went north. This drive was not as boring since we hugged the coast most of the way. From where we crossed the estuary, it was about 30 miles to the Cliffs of Moher. About 20 miles in, I came upon a place called the Spanish Point. What I read was that back in 1588, several surviving ships of the Spanish Armada (that failed to invade England during Queen Elizabeth’s reign) made landfall here. They found a friendly shore and many Spaniards stayed. Now, 10 miles on we hit the coastal village of Lahinch and went on the R478 that took us straight to the Cliffs of Moher.

Here are some comments. “The Cliffs of Moher absolutely take your breath away. Their sheer size and length are hard to comprehend unless you’re actually there in person.”

“Scenic cliffs stretching 700 feet over the rugged Atlantic coast.”

“Rain or sunshine you will not want to miss walking the Cliffs of Moher. It is a great walk from end to end. The views are incredible (hope your not afraid of heights) and with every step, you’ll see something new to take a picture of.”

For my sketch subjects, I first drew a young girl sitting on the edge of the cliff. Of course, the visitor center there discourage anyone from getting close to the very edge. I also sketched an artistic sculpture that represents the cliff’s many attractions. Even the birds enjoyed it. I collected more photos for much later drawing projects.

After enjoying the cliffs, we got back on the R478 going east. The R478 eventually turned into the R476 which took us into the Burren National Park.

The Burren National Park is a place of great natural beauty. There are various marked trails in the Park that take you through many fascinating and beautiful habitats, such as calcareous grasslands, woodlands and limestone pavement.

The Burren, which comes from the Irish word “An Bhoireann” meaning a place of stone, is the largest expanse of Limestone Pavement anywhere in the world. It is written that the Burren with its innate sense of spiritual peace has an extraordinary array of flora and wildlife, megalithic tombs and monuments that are even older than Egypt’s pyramids. This is a region which was largely sculpted over the last two million years by God and his glaciers, through the exposure and submergence of its landscape to ice, ocean and the plate movements of the earth.

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In the center of the park, on a very high mount, is an odd spiral formation that many have described as being alien. So, just for fun, I sketched out this out-worldly scene but also included the space-suited form of Matt Damon from the 2015 science fiction hit film, The Martian.

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For my next sketch subject, I found north of the park, the Burren Perfumery which is a family owned business hidden away in the heart of the Burren hills. They are a small, west of Ireland-based company making cosmetics and perfumes inspired by the landscape around them. Outside their quaint shop is a man-shaped topiary laying in an old rusted bath tub. I had to draw it.

In my next post, we go into Galway which is just north of the park.

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