It was raining again this morning as we were leaving our B&B. Of course we expect rain in Ireland and my Trails Club hiking group hikes every Wednesday no matter what the weather is in Portland. Yet, we don’t usually send out to cross the mountain pass in the rain.
Here is our lovely B&B.
We we started up the road with views of the hills in the distance.
You can see the things were a bit covered in clouds. We walked along this road for about 3km.
We crossed the bridge over the Foilmore River (Abhain Thír na Cille) again.
You probably can read this sign. They are all mostly in Gaelic.
I still love taking photos of stone buildings even when they are only storage buildings.
Soon we turned off the main road and started up a bi-road.
I came across tis sign.
Great views if you want to house in the hills of Ireland.
Even though it was raining, I love the views today. It is just pretty difficult to take photos and keep the camera dry.
Soon we started a more serious climb but it was not very difficult. You can see Mary ahead of me on the hill. She is the small dot on the road. You can’t see her red pack cover because she is wearing a poncho today.
The streams coming in from the sides were beautiful.
How clever of them to give us an alternative to crossing the stile especially when we would’ve ended up in a pile of mud.
It was a bit tricky standing up onto the board and then climbing over.
There were 3 to cross like this one today. You can see that they still use those nail type things to keep us from slipping. I had a good laugh when I caught up to Mary and she told me that she had merely open the gate each time instead of climbing over.
Sometimes the trail got a bit wet and we had to be a bit more careful.
Sometimes a bit rocky.
We have become pretty much experts at walking up rocky paths.
Finally we had reached the top and come to the small chapel .
This is Mám Éan (often anglicized as Maumeen; meaning ‘The Pass of the Birds’). It is a little pilgrimage spot where mass is held three times every year. It is a tiny chapel, and mass altar, and stations of the cross scattered around the rocky, boggy site.
Somehow I missed seeing the holy well that was just below the chapel. It was called Tobar Phádraig (Patrick’s Well). There are indications that this location was originally used for the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa and only later incorporated into the Christian tradition. This is quite common in Ireland where there are hundreds of holy Wells that the sick used to worship since pagan times. Tobar Phádraig is reputed to have the power to cure sick cattle and the pass was once used to drive cows and sheep over the mountains.
We were really lucky that today was not a downpour day and that it hadn’t been raining for days before this. Our hostess, Maureen, at last night’s B&B told us the story of the day her mother, who was 78 years old and very religious, and her friend climbed up to the chapel with her friend. It had been raining so hard that on her way back down The little streams we had crossed coming up between quite deep. They had to wait across the water and they actually fell into it. Her Mom tells the story with gusto about how she just came up laughing.
Here is the alter where people have left things and lit candles.
It’s too bad they have to cover the stained glass windows to protect them. There were three of these.
The rocky crevices around the church were absolutely stunning.
I love the chalice in the window at the top of the chapel.
Of course, I had to leave a stone on the cairn as we left the chapel.
After we left the chapel we were half way to our B&B. The path down became a bit tricky, but it had stopped raining and we are experts by now. Here are a few shots looking back at the path after I negotiated it.
We are getting to be experts at this.
We came down off the pass and walked along a minor road. For the next few kilometers we followed an old coach road along the broad, flat valley Oh Gleninagh (from Glean Eidhneach – the Ivy Glen). It was flanked by two great mountain , The Twelve Bens on our left and The Moumturks which we just crossed.
Lehanagh Lough also came into view on our left. Here are a couple of photos, but it was still cloudy
This little lamb was trying to find its way back to the other side of the fence. It was so cute.t was so cute. We just stood still for a while so as not to frighten it more.
We reached the Lough Inagh Ranch B&B, put away our packs, and headed straight out to eat. It was about 3:30. On our way the clouds were practically cleared off and we had nice views of the mountain.
The lake you see in the foreground is Lough Inagh and is owned by the Inagh Hotel where we had dinner.
I love the tree that was in front of the Hotel.
And another view From the front of the hotel.
My seafood chowder and salad with fresh goat cheese was wonderful in addition to the three scoops of ice-cream in caramel sauce.
I love writing these posts as I relax in the living rooms of the B&Bs. I know I will so appreciate having this diary when I get home so it is a labor of love.