A ROUTE FOR A CHIEFTAIN, STEPPED FOR A QUEEN

– now in magical Autumn colour

The beech trees overhead were mesmerising in infinite shades of luminous yellows and browns.  I walked up and down, backwards and forwards.  I lay on the ground to get the full effect.  Eventually I had to drag myself away.

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Last Sunday that headland south of Library Point on Ross Island was magical.  In May this whole place is covered in white flowering wild garlic.

Leaving the estate road to Library Point I walked along the track on the northern side of Hyde’s Bay.  Across the bay the rocky outcrop of Governor’s Rock.

The several sets of crumbling stone steps indicate that at an earlier time this was a popular route developed sensitively with some considerable care.  Perhaps for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861.

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Great erratic boulders, left behind in the ice age, evidence of a much older era, that also gouged out the basin that is now filled by lake water.

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Along the wooded way oak and yew, ash and sycamore.  A pictorial representation of moving from Summer to Autumn contrasting the evergreen leaves of the arbutus with the endless Autumn colours of the deciduous leaves.

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At the western end the captivating beech grove extends from the lake as far as the demesne road.

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On several of the more majestic beech trees initials are distinctively carved.  On at least two trees ‘JG’.  On one added ‘1940’ and on another ’31 1 ’40’.  Another tree very decoratively remembers ‘MTM’.  I wonder if the ‘J’ and ‘M’ with a bulging heart carved in between went on to live the promise.  Carving on trees happened in years gone by but is now frowned on.

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Further along the wooded track, high over the broad expanse of Lough Leane richly red-berried holly with its prickly dark green leaves, side-by side with Autumn dark browns to luminous gold … an indication of moving from Autumn to Winter.  Or, perhaps more appealingly, moving from Autumn to Christmas.

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At the furthest headland, having checked that O’Donoghue’s Library had all of its volumes, wondering how O’Donoghue managed on his prison, saluted the spirit of the monks on Innisfallen, imagined Mickey Mouse on his tiny island.  After all of that I preferred to retrace my steps than returning on the demesne road through the alder and sally of the swamp woodland.

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Looking out from Gallan Eile there is still plenty of Autumn colour in evidence.  Even after the storm of the past days and the cold evidenced by the snow-capped peaks.
– Frank Lewis

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