Friday, February 22, 2013

Forty shades of blue / Old Head, Co. Mayo

Admiring the view, in my 1950s mouton jacket that I picked up at a vintage fair in Sligo before Christmas!

A couple of weeks ago I was down in Westport over the weekend for a friend's birthday. I hadn't wandered around the town itself (voted best place to live in Ireland in 2012) since I was in my mid-teens and was obliged to climb the reek at Croagh Patrick with my parents on pilgrimage Sunday. Since that observance has faded from my life, Westport remained in my mind as a place where I spent an uncomfortable few hours stumbling upwards and downwards on a rocky mountain face with thousands of others, and ate at a hotel carvery with my family afterward. I always felt a curious mix of guilt and resentment, guilt because as a family we didn't eat out a lot, but I hated carvery food, and have developed a life long aversion to this Irish tradition ever since.

My friend Lara told me of the beauty of Old Head, and true to her word, took me there for a drive on Sunday morning. It's about a half hour drive outside Westport town and there are some quirky houses to be seen on the way! One of the joys of living in Ireland, you can have Sunday rituals where you go for walks in the countryside, to shake off the sleep.

It was a cloudy day so the peak of Croagh Patrick was obscured (see second picture). What I found most breathtaking at Old Head however, was the many different shades of blue I could make out, between the sky, horizon and the sea. There were shades of blue I don't think I've ever seen before, even on afternoons in Italy gazing across the water. It was a still, tranquil landscape, I found it very peaceful there.

We took a walk along the headland. The wood there reaches right down to the water and I think it is one of the only remaining pre-medieval forests in Ireland.

Couldn't mention a party without a party picture!

A restaurant where the patrons can openly complain about the food then?

Sunday afternoon trad session in Matt Molloys

I didn't take any pictures in the town itself, preferring to wander round and peep in boutique windows. I'm hoping to get back some weekend when the weather's warmer. They have some lovely pubs and restaurants, and beautiful boutiques. I have also heard of a café that apparently sells an incredible cup of hot chocolate, and that's always a serious lure for me!

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