Along the West coast of Ireland in 1588 many Spanish Naval ships were wrecked, the Armada was the largest naval invasion fleet ever known at this time, 130 ships and 29,450 men, Philip II of Spain decided to try and overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and restore England to Catholicism. Whilst in the English channel trying to escort a Spanish army from Flanders the Armada sailed in a tight crescent shape to ensure protection from attackers, Fires ships sent at night thwarted their plans and caused panic, the winds changed and the order was given to head North and along the northeast coast of Scotland and down the west coast of Ireland, here from Antrim to Kerry during violent storms many ships became detached from the fleet and floundered, 27 ships and up to 9,000 troops or sailors.
Orders from the England Lord Justice of Ireland based in Dublin were given to hang or shoot any prisoners captured, this was carried out by English troops and Irish Chieftains.
With that in mind we are heading to one of such points today, Dave stopped at a garage to fill up with fresh water and checked on the directions to the Spanish Armada wrecking viewpoint at Streedagh Strand, he was gone ages and when he came back he knew who owned the local café, the pub and the pervious owners of said pub! The garage attendant both chatty and helpful had drawn him a map too but decided just to be sure that we would get there he proceeded to explain where to go all over again, he definitely had the gift of the gab! Dave said he could have listened to his soft rolling accent all day.
Turning off the main road and following the little map from chatty man, over several cattle grids, waiting patiently for the animals occupying the road and the surrounding soft mossy pastures, turning down a path which looked as though it was going to lead to a small bungalow in the distance we doubted the little hand drawn map until we saw signs of life and a few cars parked near a beach, there were many folks about and again the winds were gusty.
Studying the History Placard on the beach we learned that 3 Galleons floundered here with the loss of 1,200 lives, overshadowing Streedagh Strand (beach) we see once again the Monolithic flat dark brooding top of Benbulben,
After blowing away our cobwebs we head back to Pogo noting the families arriving despite the winds, a small baby being carried papoose like on its fathers’ chest, little legs dangling in the wind but pressed up warm against daddy, grandma holding on tight to a toddler and mum carrying a large bag, maybe it contained a simple lunch and a restorative warm drink? an old man with crooked legs and watery eyed smile for every passer-by.
This afternoon we make our way to Drumcliffe, County Sligo, to visit the grave of W.B. Yates, the little car park was unsurprisingly busy with tourists all wanting a photo of the famous poets final resting place, his father had been a minister at this small church of St Columbas.
Dave got a photo of a large celtic cross, said to be 11th Century and 3.8 metres high and made of sandstone, it was in the Cemetery of an ancient Abbey opposite the church, most cemeteries in Ireland have these, normally on a smaller scale and I find them most beautiful.
Running nearby is the greenway trail, a 326 km cycle trail that runs through all Counties, every time we get near to the trail it’s blowing a gale! Not much cycling done yet!
The remnants from storm Ali is rearing its head again and we decide to head inland, although we are following the WAW (Wild Atlantic Way) the route is very beautiful but extremely exposed. Our final stop of the day will be Glencar Lough ( lake) with dark clouds looming it was a moody scene as we picked our way down very steep and narrow lanes, tree branches swaying and anticipating one to break and fall we were anxious to park up, the Waterfalls at Glencar was a perfect overnight place, surrounded by the Dartry, Keelogyboy and Crockauns mountains and I did my risk assessment!
Dave says I see danger everywhere, I was happy that there were no trees within falling distance, although a strong gust was heading down the lake, the waters had little surf waves reminiscent of the sea rather than a lake, up on the Mountainside we could see a waterfall being blown upwards, thinking at first it was a fire until it dawned on us, neither fancied getting out of Pogo for a photo opportunity but we wish we had as it was reported in the news the next day. Dave did muster enough bravery to go to the cake shop though! He’s a sucker for a tart!
It was a fairly blustery night and we slept on and off but next morning we were rewarded to sunshine and showers, so we took in Glencar waterfall and were treated to a lovely rainbow as the weather couldn’t decide whether to rain or shine.
Back in the warmth of Pogo and the suns out and Dave takes the opportunity for some sunbathing.
Tonight, it’s a challenge of Yahtzee and I’m on a losing streak now, need to claw back a game or two.
Miles walked = 5
Yahtzee score to date: Dave 7 – Cathy 2, not happy! we love this game of chance, it’s the luck of the throw.
GPS Streedagh beach free parking, N54.40376,W008.55896
GPS Drumscliff, N54.32577,W008.49289
GPS Glencar Lough, free parking, tea shop, public toilets, N54.33858,W008.36876