Ireland day 0023. Thursday 21 October 2021- Fishy

Ireland day 0023. Thursday 21 October 2021- Fishy
Today’s summary Morning Teams videoconference with The Natural History Museum in London, then drove 45 mins north east to the coast at Clogherhead.  Wonderful clifftop walk and fascinating geology
Today’s weather Sunny and bright all day.   Only a very brief shower late afternoon.   Light wind, cooler than recently.   About 11C
IMG_5311 IMG_5310
Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location
(Click button below for a GPX of today’s walk)

By the way.   If any of you were wondering what was happening on the PPS saga (and I am sure many readers were), the simple answer is, basically, nothing.   No response from the Department since we submitted our applications two weeks ago yet so absolutely no idea what’s happening.  That means we can’t sort our health insurance, driving licences, vaccine passports and the rest, but hey, what can you do except wait?   It’s a bit frustrating but a good insight into the bureaucratic challenges that anyone anywhere faces when moving to a new country.   My simple rule of thumb is that tasks normally take ten to a hundred times longer to complete than you might reasonably expect, so you just have to plan accordingly.

Today’s morning rant over, and moving on to more positive matters, the first task today was to join a videoconference with former colleagues from the London Natural History Museum, to discuss the recent Dasgupta review on the economics of biodiversity.  A stimulating and mind expanding session.

Coming back to earth a little, but retaining something of a natural history feel, we decided to spend the rest of the day on another coastal excursion.   Our disappointments on the inland walking front have to a certain extent been offset by the discovery that the Meath and Louth beaches are extensive, brilliant, and mostly open to walkers.   A hike up and down one of these vast stripes of shoreline, either at low or high tide, is a great way of filling you lungs with fresh air, and you spirit with hope.   After recent explorations from Termonfeckin (just had to say it again) and Donabate, we headed a bit further north to the last bit of proper beach before the border, at Clogherhead.

Clogher Head is a rocky headland situated nearby the village of – yes you guessed it – Clogherhead (notice the subtle difference).   There’s a lovely clifftop walk over the Head to the tiny fishing harbour at Port Oriel.   Our plans almost immediately ran into difficulties though because the direct road to Clogher was closed, so we had to take an elaborate diversion (thank goodness for Google Maps) to get there.  Then when we did arrive, the car park was closed so we had to leave the car outside a supermarket and fast food outlet while we went for our walk.   Though we did try to win some credibility with the shop owners by buying bags of chips (delicious) which we ate in the car, in best bank holiday fashion, while watching the roadworks outside.

Traffic challenges aside, to any would-be geologist of course the rocky outcrop is exciting because it is one of the last visible remains of the famous Iapetus Suture, marking the collision point of the ancient Laurentia and Avalonia continents when the Pangaea supercontinent was formed 400 million years ago.   The significance of this is that rocks on either side of the Suture and separated today by only a few km were once located on opposite sides of the earth.   This is one of the many features that contributes to the unusual geological diversity of the island of Ireland.

And bringing us back to (slightly) more modern times, the “pavement slabs” used to decorate the Newgrange and other passage graves 5000 years ago almost certainly came from this headland.   Getting them over the lengthy trek from Clogher to Newgrange in a society with no wheeled transport must have been no mean feat.

We pressed on to Port Oriel which was lovely, if a bit smelly.   The harbour was full of brightly coloured small fishing boats and even fuller of seals – at one point we counted twelve – sniffing around for discarded offcuts from the fishing boats.   We came across one particularly gruesome case of monkfish remains, which were presumably awaiting disposal or – possibly more likely in the 21st century – conversion into an elaborate recipe by the latest on-trend Instagram masterchef.

Returning from the fishing port, we had a late second lunch on the headland, watching an air/sea rescue helicopter executing an elaborate but obscure aerial manoeuvre over Port Oriel.   Then we finished with a walk down the beach, hoping to get as far as Termonfeckin and link up with Tuesday’s walk, but it started to get dark and the tide turned, so we beat a hasty retreat before becoming benighted and stranded.

Tomorrow we hope to get the keys for our new apartment in Malahide so there is a keen buzz of anticipation in this outpost of the Dawson household tonight.   Watch this space to see how it goes!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

IMG_5213 IMG_5222
The day started as every good day’s walking should – with a bag of chips Fortified with carbs, we headed north over the headland to Port Oriel
IMG_5228 IMG_5255
Today it was my turn to try limbo dancing through one of those weird Irish gates Unlike in the UK, the EU is generally very popular in Ireland, but clearly not universally so.  But neither it seems is the UK
IMG_5274 IMG_5292
I reckon a significant proportion of the Irish Sea catch actually disappears here Heading back south to the vast expanse of Clogherhead beach.   One of many similar strands we have visited in this small corner of Ireland
The charming little harbour at Port Oriel, a short clifftop walk north over the rocky Clogher Head promontory from the village which is confusingly but subtly differently called Clogherhead
You can read earlier and later days’ blogs below

Previous day’s blog
Next day’s blog
Ireland home page