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glendalough monastery ireland

Glendalough Monastery in Ireland

Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Glendalough means ‘Valley of two lakes’. It’s a glacial valley which is renowned for an Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by the monk, St Kevin.

The 30 metre tower is built of mica-slate interspersed with granite and with an entrance 3.5 metres from the base, which would have helped in its security from marauders. Round towers were landmarks for approaching visitors, and built as bell towers, but also served as places of refuge in times of attack.

what is the rock of cashel

Heavens Gate

Co. Tipperary, Ireland

View from the ancient Rock of Cashel, which was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster (an Irish province) for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion.

In 1101, the King of Munster donated his fortress on the Rock to the Catholic Church. The picturesque complex has an extraordinary character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of medieval architecture and Celtic art to be found anywhere in Europe. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.

pictures of irish cottages

Irish Cottage at Twilight

Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland

Old stone cottages are a rare sight in Ireland nowadays. Most have been demolished or fallen into disrepair. This wonderful example is located on Mannin Bay near Ballyconneely in the south western part of the Connemara region in the West of Ireland.

On this glorious summer evening the farmers were out making hay in the old traditional way, building haycocks by hand with pitchforks!

kylemore abbey ireland

Kylemore Abbey

Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland

Kylemore Castle was built as a private home for the family of a wealthy doctor from London whose family was involved in the manufacturing of textiles in Manchester, England. He moved to Ireland when he and his wife Margaret bought the land around the Abbey. He became a politician, becoming a Member of Parliament for County Galway from 1871 to 1885.

Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I.

lake with island of trees

Derryclare Lough, Connemara

Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland

Derryclare Lough is nestled in between the beautiful Twelve Bens mountain range of Connemara. In the middle of the Lough is a small island with numerous Pine Trees standing tall against the picturesque backdrop of the gentle sloping mountains.

about the cliffs of moher

Cliffs of Moher

Co. Clare, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region. They rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head, and, eight kilometres to the north, reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O’Brien’s Tower, which is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs. From the cliffs, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, and Twelve Pins mountain range to the north in Connemara, County Galway.

the burren

The Burren in the West of Ireland

The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland

In Irish, the Burren means “great rock“. It’s a region in County Clare on the West coast of the country, dominated by karst landscape and measures an area of around 250 square kilometres.

Having an unusually temperate climate which allows for a longer growing season and an unusual environment, the region supports a rich and diverse plant life which includes arctic, alpine and Mediterranean plants all growing side-by-side. The most famous is the gorgeous deep blue Spring Gentian which flowers around May time.

 

flora burren

Burren Flora

The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland

The Burren is an area of outstanding natural beauty on the West coast of Ireland. It is dominated by an extraordinary karst landscape and covers an area of about 250 square kilometres. The gentle, rolling hills are composed of limestone pavements, which are made up of criss-cross cracks known as “grikes”, leaving the isolated rocks which are called “clints”.

The region supports arctic, Mediterranean and alpine plants alongside each other due to the most unusual environment, and about three quarters of Ireland’s flower species are found in The Burren.

water buffalo pictures

Water Buffalo at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The water buffalo were crossing the river adjacent to the magnificent and ornate South Entrance of Angkor Thom.

pictures of pheasants

Pheasant in Flight

Speed of flight – South of England

Pheasants often break cover from a corn field, or vineyard in this instance at high speed. Feeding on ground cover, they have to rise through the crop and flee in haste. Expecting to hear the sound of gunshot as the shooting season starts, this bird put on a fly-past performance that was hard to follow!

Male birds are highly decorated with bright colours and have a longer tail than the females. They typically eat seeds and a few insects.

pictures of eagles in flight

Call of the Wild

North Carolina, U.S.

While paddling in a canoe on a peaceful stretch of swamp water in North Carolina, this bald eagle flew gracefully overhead to check out the visitors.

Paddling deep into the swamp, it wasn’t long before we located the eerie in a tall dead tree and were pleased to find two well grown chicks still at the site.

Flaming Pinks

Preening Flamingos

Preening Pretty Pink Flamingos

Flamingo comes from the Spanish word flamengo meaning, “flame-coloured”. These two birds were busying themselves in some late afternoon preening of feathers.

Flamingos normally stand on one leg while the other on is tucked underneath their body. This may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, as they are known to spend much of their time wading in cold water.

Dual Concentration

Dual Concentration – Macaws

Sylvan Heights Bird Park, North Carolina

The blue and yellow macaw is a large South American parrot, also referred to as macaws. The groups inhabit woodland and afforested areas of South America. However, they are under severe threat from poaching due to their close bonding to humans and are also widely traded in local markets.

Through the Keyhole

At First Sight – Macaw

Sylvan Heights Bird Park, North Carolina

Red-and-green macaws inhabit the forests and woodlands of northern and central South America. Sadly in recent years, as with other macaws, there has been a large decline in numbers due to illegal trading and loss of habitat.