– Cian walks to Faill a’ Crann after five hour half iron man

In the endless hours of sunshine last Friday blackberries should have been picked. Now the hope is the persistent rain over Friday night/Saturday morning didn’t take them all. At the very least the full flavour will not have been helped. The next hours of sunshine won’t be diverted by the recurring need to strim and weed.

Hopefully this week there will be a window to pick blackberries for a mouth watering pie – I can taste it already – and we might make a few pots of the king of jams – blackberry and apple.


These are the last days of the rich 2016 crop of red/orange rowan berries. The last chance get enough to fulfill a special dream. Make just one pot of rowan jelly. The word is that it enhances cold meats.


A big red stag thrashed a young silver birch a week ago last Saturday as I watched from the kitchen window. This pre-rut activity is to strip off the soft tissue covering their antlers. I got a photograph but it isn’t great.


Then later in the day I found our ginkgo or maidenhair tree had been decimated by a red stag. The tree to mark the launch of Alice Taylor’s book Country Life. Only one very sad looking branch survived. The bark of the young tree had been stripped to the ground. Our only tree of special significance.

Ginkgo in August 2015 (from a different angle)

Kathleen told me several weeks ago that she had already heard the very distinctive triple, extended whistle-like, rut roar of the sika stag.


Mangerton’s purple cloak was highlighted by the red hue of the pre sunrise light a few days ago. Sunrise is at 7 this week in Killarney and sunset is at 8.10.


The purple bell and ling heathers are at their best these days on the forest road through conifer woods just short of Faill a’ Crann on Mangerton.

After completing the Kenmare half iron man (1.9km swim; 83 km cycle, 21km run) in four hours & forty minutes Siubhan’s 19 year old nephew Cian came with us on the two hour trek to the viewing point at Faill a’ Crann. There are very definite advantages in being young!

Now in September there are so many signs of Autumn. Though the leaves from my window are still all green. The pinks and purples of Autumn flowers are vigorous. The grass in the lawn is still growing too quickly.

It is good to be alive.

– Frank Lewis

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