Port Rush, Northern Ireland

It was surprising to discover whist in Ireland just how interconnected ones mood is with the weather. You can be arrogant enough to think you are above such influence, but after weeks of overcast, drizzly, cold weather – it does eventually start to wear thin. This was really brought home to me when I found myself skipping through the forest one day simply because the sun was shining.  In the dull weather you find yourself censoring what you take photos of, you can be looking at something pretty impressive but know that no photo in overcast weather would ever do it justice, so you simply don’t bother. On the worst days, it was often not so cold or wet but simply so foggy that there was no point in even going out as you wouldn’t see anything at all. Fortunately we had enough days that weren’t foggy to experience the beauty of the landscape in Ireland. Within the first couple days it was easy to see why Ireland is the home of the green Leprechaun and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The colour of the green through the landscape is vibrant and lush, just the colour of those funny little guys, and there is so much rain that rainbows are a constant in the sky, well when the rain lets up enough to let the sun shine through.



We started our time in Ireland with a week in the North, revisiting sites we had seen 11 years ago, wanting to share them with the children. We spent a day at the Giants Causeway and Craig photographed me and the children in the exact location Craig had photographed me previously. It provided an opportunity for reflection on the passing of time, and from which frame of reference you are considering it. For me as an individual it has been 11 years of constant changes and despite not looking very different from the exterior (photo taken from far enough away that the markers of age are indiscernible), I feel like a very different person for the many lessons I have learnt as a mother, and simply with more life experience. I have a much greater appreciation for just how little I understand of life and yet, for the rocks I was photographed in front of, the time that has passed should have been inconsequential in the span of their existence, so it was interesting to see subtle evidence of change within the landscape. Mostly as a result of people, and I wonder what the consequences are of our presence in many of the places we have visited, adding to the numbers of visitors past, verses the value of the tourist dollar to local communities. I was reading an article about the manatees in Florida and it presented an interesting conundrum - public profile of threatened species creating interest and people want to visit and see them, thus increasing the threat levels but provide funding to help, etc etc… I doubt we would ever visit them, but our presence impacts on every tourist attraction and local community we choose to visit. Ethical tourism, food for thought.


While staying in the north our house was beside a horse riding school and, being the over indulgent parents that we are, the older 3 had the opportunity to have lessons. They had such a good time they begged to have another ride the next day, so while waiting for their afternoon lesson before we headed south we took a drive to Derry. I was keen to see the Bogside Murals and have an opportunity to introduce the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland to the children. Unsurprisingly it was a rainy and cold day but the murals resonated with the children in a way other memorials haven’t. We heard on the radio that afternoon as we headed for southern Ireland that in Derry that day there had been a bomb threat, and then several weeks later there was several nail bombs discovered on the road into town. So I’ve spent some time thinking about what it is that makes the vast majority of Ireland safe, while little pockets exist where there is such anger and injustice felt that peace is inconceivable. A little look into Irish history has provided some explanation, but I still struggle to understand such anger and hostility in a country of relative wealth and prosperity.


Always things to mull over after a trip to Ireland.