Connemara is largely deprived of trees aside from the Coillte planted forests. The landscape is just too harsh and inhospitable in most areas for many varieties. The beautiful Ballinahinch estate is an exception and it boasts 450 acres of woodlands, gardens, lakes and rivers. We go there regularly for walks and to soak up the beauty and magic of the woodland. There are many routes to take but from Ballinahinch castle we usually opt for the riverside path, pictured below.


Riverside path at Ballinahinch





The path moves away from the water further on and we are surrounded by trees, evergreen and deciduous and the ever present rhododendron bushes (below)


Trees at Ballinahinch





When we gaze downwards we discover some fungi. Once we start looking for them, we discover several different varieties and it becomes a game. I take pictures while the girls spot new ones..







Mushroom at Ballinahinch





This next one has been nibbled. I love its deep red colour and I think about some nocturnal creature creeping out from its lair under cover of darkness for a little snack..


Red mushroom at Ballinahinch





The forest path closes in on the next part of our walk and it becomes a tunnel of trees (below)


Woodland path at Ballinahinch





Finally, the path opens up and looking to the right, we have a beautiful view of Ben Lettery through the trees. This is one of the ‘Twelve Bens’ mountain range, synonymous with Connemara.


Photograph of Ben Lettery from Ballinahinch




It is possible to get lost in another world in Ballinahinch wood because it is so unlike anything you might usually associate with Connemara – rock, heath, heathers and barren land and yet this place is right on our doorstep. Well worth a trip if you’re in town.

Woodland in paint

I took some photographs in the old graveyard in Clifden on Friday which I had a look at over the week end. I wanted to use them for a painting, but not too literally. I decided to focus on the trees and woodland floor and omit the gravestones and the old church ruin. Perhaps I will include them in another image but this time I wanted to focus on the upward reach of the trees, from the richness of the earth and the woodland floor right up in to the light and the sky.


Woodland Photo



I chose this photograph, not because it is a good photo in its own right, but because of the arrangement of the trees and because it could be a woodland anywhere and not necessarily part of a graveyard in the middle of town. Here’s the first sketch below. I used acrylic paint, charcoal and a little oil pastel.


Woodland painting 1



The bluebells are suggested with some blue paint in the lower part of the piece.



Woodland painting 2

I turned the page around for this one, to emphasize the length of these spindly trees.