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Ireland day 0036. Wednesday 03 November 2021- Lithostrotion

Ireland day 0036. Wednesday 03 November 2021- Lithostrotion
Today’s summary Walked from the flat to the far southern end of the Portmarnock peninsula via the lithostrotion fossils and the Velvet Strand beach.   Couldn’t get right round and back up the western side because of the golf course
Today’s weather Dry all day with long sunny intervals.   Cool north westerly wind; appx 11C
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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 to download a gpx of our walk today):
Velvet Strand
Commentary

We both woke up this morning feeling tired.   For some reason, neither of us slept particularly well last night, and several cups of tea were needed just to drag us out of bed and into a more vertical position, ready-ish to face the day.

Over breakfast, I looked back on the five weeks that we have been here, and I realised that probably one of the reasons we were feeling off-colour was simply because we have been quite busy.   We haven’t really had a day “off” since we arrived.   I know that might sound a bit self-indulgent, given that most of what we have been doing has been interesting and fun, and none of it has involved going to the office to work.   So we are in a luxurious position compared to many.   Having said all that, we have worked hard to sort our paperwork (still no PPS’s yet, by the way), get somewhere to live, sight-see, make new friends, and generally to try and create a good impression in a foreign country.

So we vowed to take it a bit easier for the next day or two, and not to rush about quite so much.   Immediately after we reached that decision, though, I had to rush off to do another videocall with a friend (very enjoyable, by the way), then we made lunches and set off directly from the flat (no driving today) for what I planned to be a short morning walk down the coast to Portmarnock and back.   Actually things turned out a bit differently because we dawdled on the way to inspect the fine 300 million year old lithostrotion fossil corals (pictured at the bottom of this blog) embedded in the carboniferous mudstones on the shoreline near the High Rock swimming area.   So we were much slower than planned and it was already early afternoon by the time we actually arrived at Portmarnock beach.

By that time, the pony-and-trap “sulky” racing was in full flow on the beach, so we stopped for a bit longer to watch that too.   Then, as the tide was out and the sun was shining, and after a bit of map-consultation, we thought it might be possible to walk right to the end of the beach – the “Velvet Strand” and round the “nose” and back up the western side, to arrive back in Portmarnock on the far side of the peninsula.   I even google-earthed it and it all looked practical enough, so we set off.

The beach it seemed was endless, and when we finally got to the end, only a few tantalising metres across the river from Howth, it was well past lunchtime.  So sandwiches were hastily consumed in the lee of a sand dune, and we headed back up the western side, expecting it to be a short-cut home.   Unfortunately, it wasn’t like that.   The beach soon ran out and turned into a glutinous swamp of mud that looked like it was just sitting there waiting to swallow you whole.   And beyond the malevolent mud, the shore was adorned with “Private – Keep out” notices, advertising the presence of a golf club which clearly didn’t welcome visiting non-members.

So we had no option but to turn on our heels and retrace our steps back up the east coast, though this time in to the teeth of a brisk wind, with temperatures rapidly falling as the sun went down.

We didn’t hang about but it was still almost completely dark when we eventually made it back to the flat, having very much enjoyed our excursion but slightly rueful about how quickly our good intentions of the morning had gone out the window.

Perhaps tomorrow we really will have a proper day off.   I hear James Bond is showing at the local cinema, so maybe we will book in to the matinee performance and try not to fall asleep in the back row.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

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This was taken just 5 minutes walk from our flat.   Feel lucky indeed to be here OK then I won’t.
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“Sulky” racers on the beach at Portmarnock.   It’s type of horse-and-trap racing which has recent been made illegal on Ireland’s road (on account of the risk to horses and riders) but is still legal on some sites like the beach at Portmarnock.   They had just finished when we arrived Lovely spot for lunch – right at the end of the Portmarnock Peninsula.   In the sun, out of the wind, and nobody about.   Mind you it was a 7km / 4mi walk to get there.
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We tried to walk right round the peninsula but were blocked at the western side by the golf club and marshes full of uninviting looking mud There was a magnificent storm in the Irish Sea out to the east.   It presumably dumped floods of water on the isle of Man, but we fortuitously remained dry and in the sun all day
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Lovely lithostrtion.   300 million years old and doesn’t look a day over 65 million
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