A STAG IN THE GARDEN .. RAIN FOREST .. AND SPIDERS’ WEBS
The red stag stared at me from the bottom of our garden. He didn’t move until I inched a little closer. Then he stepped over our four foot high pre-famine ditch, as if it wasn’t there, and ambled away through the fern-covered field in front. A familiar sight for anybody living more than three miles from Killarney town. That was last Saturday evening.
The wild and wet did not look inviting last Sunday. I had done very little walking during the week and needed to get out. Sarah wanted to be with cousin Nessa. But my eternally willing companions – our dog Billie and Colm’s Comeoutcha and Pooka – walked with me down the road and into the Blue Pool/Cloghereen Woods nature trails.
I was sheltered from wind and rain by the trees. In the wild it is always worth exploring a track worn by others. Through ferns and under high conifers. When I got back to the marked route I went down on to the banks of the Blue Pool. The water is a greeny blue probably coloured by copper deposits.
It wasn’t hard to imagine that the route was through rain forest. I have never walked in rain forest but the television pictures suggest it is just like this. The rich, moist growth is even more emphatic in last Sunday’s photos.
The more central Blue Pool is on level, surfaced park road. This was developed some years ago by the Killarney Soroptomists Club as the first nature trail in Ireland for the visually impaired. Walkers are guided by the rope that runs by the side of the trail. The emphasis is on the partially sighted experiencing scents and touch.
By the side of the Blue Pool there is a huge network of tunnels made by badgers. The sett has been dormant for a number of years. It has either been interfered with or has new residents. I must check at dusk some evening soon. Badgers are nocturnal so during daylight hours they are sleeping.
A little further on a seat marks the spot where Sean Eviston passed away. He came here regularly with his dogs.
The Blue Pool water is crystal clear. I presume it is completely clean, but the rich growth of weed might suggest otherwise – but perhaps that is my lack of botanical knowledge.
Wherever necessary the trails have simple bridges made of planks covered by wire, so walkers won’t slip.
Early this morning (Tuesday July 12) a walk to the foot of the mountain emphasised that I must get back to getting out every morning. There is no better start to the day. Along the way purple bell heather and sparkling spiders web with the host sitting at the entrance to his safe-haven tunnel ready to pounce. Now, at 2.30, it is raining heavily. Another good reason to have walked in the early morning!
– Frank Lewis
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