And then came the Sun

Derryinver, Connemara by Renee Plantureux

Yes! We’ve had our second dry day in a row. In a row! Great cause for celebration and excitement after the last few weeks of non stop rain. Our poor hens have been trudging around in the swamp that used to be our garden looking very bedraggled and forlorn. I can detect a spring in their step to day which is catching..

Yesterday I left the breakfast dishes in the sink I was so keen to get outside and enjoy the sun. I went to visit a friend in Moyard, a small townland nearby and I stopped on the Bog road ( above ) to take some pictures en route. It’s near the spot where I took the blurry rain shots in a recent post, just a little further along the road. Here’s some more photos – just look at that blue sky below!



Blue skies over the Bog Road



I remember taking some pictures not far from here last January and the sky was a similar bright blue colour. It’s striking when you see it reflected in the water pools as you can see in these next images.


Blue reflections on the bog




Blue Pool in the bog




I love the blackness of these turf stacks in the next shots, I suppose due to the fact that they are sodden with water.


Black turf stack




Just look at this next one, it’s more like black iron or lava than turf..


Close up of turf stack

Bogland – Seamus Heaney

I came across this photograph with Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘Bogland’ on the Connemara Heritage and History site. It is such a beautiful image and it mirrors the words of this poem perfectly.

Seamus Heaney is of course our very own Nobel laureate and arguably one of the most celebrated and popular poets in the world today. This poem was written in 1969 and is regarded as a milestone in Heaney’s career because it was here he first realised ‘an image for the unconscious part of Ireland through a natural part of the landscape where history reposed and was revealed’ * I love this idea of the bog as a metaphor for our psyche, our subconscious and our innermost secrets. It also brings to mind a tree with it’s outer crust and hidden rings underneath, circling time and out of sight until the surface is broken.

Heaney alludes to the ancient bog bodies in much of his early poetry, particularly the viking bodies found in Denmark in the 1950’s.  One of these is Tollund man, a male body which has been carbon dated to 230 BC. This man received a violent death like many of the other bog bodies and Heaney has used this in his poems as a political analogy to the unravelling violence in Northern Ireland. Grauballe man was found two years after Tollund man, also in Denmark. Heaney wrote a poem in his honour which begins;


As if he had been poured

in tar, he lies

on a pillow of turf

 and seems to weep

the black river of himself.


taken from The Grauballe Man


Such beautiful, tragic and human imagery. It is thick with blackness, a darkness and a beauty that feels uniquely Irish.

The poem ‘Bogland’ has a different perspective. It starts with a comparison to the vast prairies of America. Later, there is an image of ourselves ‘striking inwards and downwards’ – self searching rather than the explorative, outward search of the early American pioneers. He concludes that ‘the wet centre is bottomless’. Here too an image of blackness, like space, a romantic void of disappearing sludge that is rooted in earth and has the preservative qualities of the womb but which falls away to some vast infinite place.






We have no prairies

To slice a big sun at evening –

Everywhere the eye concedes to

Encroaching horizon,


Is wooed into the cyclops’ eye

Of a tarn. Our unfenced country

Is bog that keeps crusting

Between the sights of the sun.


They’ve taken the skeleton

Of the Great Irish Elk

Out of the peat, set it up

An astounding crate of air.


Better sunk under

More than a hundred years

Was recovered salty and white.

The ground itself is kind, black butter


Melting and opening underfoot,

Missing its last definition

By millions of years,

They’ll never dig coal here,


Only the waterlogged trunks

Of great firs, soft as pulp.

Our pioneers keep striking

Inwards and downwards,


Every layer they strip

Seems camped on before.

The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.

The wet centre is bottomless.


Seamus Heaney



* taken from Landscape or Mindscape? Seamus Heaney’s Bogs by Diane Meredith, The University of California, Davis.

Cover image taken from Connemara Heritage and History

Bog – Oughterard

I took some photographs of this Bog just outside Oughterard on a recent trip to Galway. This section is well managed with tidy stacks of turf drying out on the higher ground above the cut bog.


Photo 1 of bog, Oughterard



I love the colours here – that rich brown against the bright greens and pale blues of the sky.  I especially like the reflections in the water. I will enjoy using these as colour and composition starting points for some new work.



Photo 2 of bog, Oughterard



While I was there, I noticed some bog cotton in the marshy wet ground. This time it is the many headed variety ( I took some pictures of the single headed bog cotton outside Clifden recently ). I couldn’t get very close as I didn’t have my wellies with me (!) but I managed to take this picture below.
Photo of Bog Cotton with Multiple heads