Thursday, September 2, 2010

River Cong, Lough Corrib

River Cong

The gentle River Cong flows through the village of the same name, past Ashford Castle and into Lough Corrib, the largest lake in Ireland. It is full of water plants that are speckled with light passing through the trees.

We went hawking this morning. The public are welcome at Ireland's School of Falconry on the castle grounds. Talk about a different experience. We walked through the woods wearing heavy leather gloves on our left hands with twin brothers, Uisce and Seanachai. The trainer showed us how to carry, release and call them. It was breathtaking to watch them taper and spread their wings to pass through the trees, swoop down to a few centimeters off the ground to build air pressure under their wings and then pull up, like an airplane lowering its flaps and raising the nose, for a perfect landing our our hands. Click on my Flickr site for more hawking pictures.

Afterward, we walked through the ruins of Cong Abbey, built in the early 1100s. In the afternoon we took a boat ride on the lake to Inchagoill Island (Island of the Foreigners) where St. Patrick & Co. were sent by the local Druids to get them out of their hair. With few visitors and government protection, the ruins of the 5th Century St. Patrick's Church remain.

Hawking 2

Cong Abbey 1

St. Patricks Church, Inchagoill Island, Lough Corrib

Celtic Cross


brattcat said...

Fabulous, Bob. I've been watching a series on the life of birds and you describe the hawk's landing beautifully!

Virginia said...

That must have been a breathtaking experience. Lovely photos today B. I love how you framed C in that one!

Molly said...

Go On! Make me homesick......Beautiful pictures!

Martin said...

Love the falcon and the abbey!

Paula said...

Wonderful images Bob. I would have had a field day in a place like that. And how exciting to catch a hawk, Bob. You and Carolyn must have had a memorable day.