Day 28b: Denizens of Nature (BBW5 Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai: Gougane Barra-Ballyvourney)

We found our way forward, contemplative.

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At this point I had to wonder about choosing to color the little yellow waymarking men the same exact color as gorse, the lovely thorn-plant from hell whose splinters of suffering are still lingering in the flesh of my hand days after I first impaled myself on them

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Low lying water and blue skies continued to periodically join us, sometimes both at once

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I am not sure that fencing the stream from on top is the way to go here (alternate caption: erosion wins again)

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I turned my camera diagonal to fit all of the pretty into the frame

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How loooowww can you gooooo (at least Carl kept his feet and some residual tatters of his dignity. I did not even try. Also there was then an even lower branch right after this… let’s just say I am glad my pants are of a quick drying fabric)

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Instead of a stile, today you get a crappy board-step. This is less helpful if you have short legs, for the record
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This is the Platonic ideal of an Irish field right here
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A mysterious mound we spent a while next to attempting to orient ourselves on our maps
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Into the woods we go agaaaain
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And after the woods……….. you guessed it more sheep! Also very offended with us. I must note that I’ve begun thinking of Irish sheep as if they have some kind of hive mind, so I just assumed these ones were pissed at us on behalf of the giant flock we drove off earlier. When I revealed this thought process to Carl, it lead to a really wonderful/terrible series of bad puns that culminated in: “The Wool-lective: You will be a-a-a-assimilated”)
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So inviting!
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Another roadside beauty

So then we encountered this lady standing in the road.
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Hello

Looks… I mean, not particularly ominous, right? She was quite calm, no big deal…

Then we heard the rustling. And we looked up into the trees alongside of the road.
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See that dark shape in about the middle? That’s another cow. Above us.

“Are those… tree cows?” I asked Carl, bewildered.

He shook his head, no more aware of arboreal bovines than I was, but unable to deny the evidence of our eyes.

The rustling grew louder and I realized that there were more up there. Watching us.
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“We seeee moooo”

“I think we’re being flanked,” I remarked to Carl, only half joking. We continued forward, hoping they would not all descend at once and trample us with their climbing-hooves.

As we approached, the cow on the road eventually grew wary and bounded – yes, bounded – up into the trees.
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Was not aware that bounded was a verb applicable to cows but there goes her tail right there

Thus reminded that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our preconceived notions of domestic animals, we proceeded on, watching our backs to ensure we were not followed.

The road stretched on and on – but finally we reached a second landmark, where a couple of old gents informed us that we were not far from our destination. So despite our very weary feet, we took one last detour, up to the shrine of St. Gobnait, patroness of bees.

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Really, I am all for having the bees on our side in a general sense, so it seemed good to pay our respects
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Old church (6th century!) and new church
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Burials inside the church
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Back from the gate – apparently nine stags appeared to someone here, including a white one, and so they are part of the holy mythos of the place

This place was another stop of the O’Sullivan party – apparently they came to pray to St. Gobnait for her guidance and blessing for their journey ahead. We did not linger as long as I might have liked, and we passed by her holy well entirely. Our feet were quite tired from around 25km of walking, and as there’s a whole pilgrimage prayer routine that I did not do, I didn’t feel quite right ducking up to snap pictures of her well without even the energy to offer some form of reasonable respect. Nevertheless, I am glad we were able to at least pay her a visit.

That done, we stumbled our way into Ballyvourney.

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