The day began foggy, almost cool, as I set out from Glenbrohane.
It did not take long for me to arrive in the first village of the day, Ballylanders. A statue of Mary stood at the town’s main intersection, her gaze indicating a likely target for investigation.
I wandered up to have a look; the crowds from Sunday mass emerged and milled past me as I walked. At the building, I could find no signs or placards indicating what it might have been, save the one above that door that clued me in (if I hadn’t already guessed based on the structure) that it must have been some manner of church.
I spent some time looking around, though.
I’d finally finished my obsessive photographing of this church and gotten back on track only to encounter this sign just a short distance outside Ballylanders:
So off road I went again. This next stop continued the practice of combining an old churchsite with a graveyard, which we’ve seen a number of times before.
You’ll notice the skies in these photos are showing a bit more blue as we go on. The earlier fog had lifted, and the sun shone down. As I set out again, walking the next section along a series of sleepy country roads, I could almost feel the season shifting around me, spring beginning to shade towards summer.
The air warmed, thickened.
The rising heat coaxed smells out of the other flowers, out of the grasses and leaves, into the air around me. I breathed in the scent as it brushed against my skin, humid and drowsy. My steps slowed even more than usual, and I drifted along as if in a dream.
May was nearly over, and I could feel the palpable nearness of June, sunlight pressing against a curtain, lighting it up from behind, eager drips of white-gold lancing through lacework edges.
Water sounded cool and inviting; I longed to go splashing in, but I was not alone (or mostly alone) in the middle of the mountains this time. I kept on, eventually reaching Galbally, where I picked up a sandwich before continuing on to enjoy a lazy picnic lunch in front of the Moor Abbey.
This one was founded by the Fransiscans in the 13th century, and saw a great deal of both use and turmoil – raids, fires, and attempted bombings among them. Some friars were martyred here as well – reputedly and miraculously spilling no blood upon being beheaded.
As I explored the abbey, a young man walked past the open door, shirtless, and howled in at me. Haunted indeed.
Shortly thereafter I would go down to walk along the river when he and his friends had been bathing – yet another of the signs of summer… (continued in next post)