Ireland day 0330. Wednesday 24 August 2022- Spontaneous

Ireland day 0330. Wednesday 24 August 2022- Spontaneous
Today’s summary Val had a day off so leisurely morning then lunch on the beach and spontaneous walk down the coast to Portmarnock.   Back over Paddy’s Hill.   Very enjoyable not to be under any time pressure
Today’s weather Dry and bright but mostly lightly overcast.  Very slight westerly wind.   About 20C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Portmarnock spontaneous walk

We deliberately hadn’t got any activities planned for today.   We have been quite busy lately, and Val has been working a lot, so we wanted a day to decompress and just take things as they came.

So we started off the day decadently, with breakfast in bed.  It was grilled tomatoes on toast and it was quite nice, even though I say so myself.   But a bit difficult to eat without getting crumbs everywhere.   After enough cups of tea to refloat the Titanic, we got up, did some washing, and Val went out on a run round the demesne while I made the lunches.

Once she was back and recovered from her exertions, we pulled our things together – which today for once didn’t include waterproofs as the outlook is dry for the next few days – and set off into town.   We didn’t have a fixed view on where our wanderings should take us, other than a need to pick up a few things in the shops as we passed through, and then a general intention to have lunch somewhere on the beach.

We soon dispensed with the shopping and headed off down to the sea.   The tide was well out, so we dropped down from the promenade and walked along the fore-shore most of the way to the dunes by the estuary outflow.   Despite it being midweek, the area was quite busy with swimmers and young families making the most of the good weather and the endless sand-castle making opportunities.  I’m not sure when the schools go back but evidently quite a few haven’t done so yet.

We took our time over lunch then decided to press on down the shore, past the Low Rock and High Rock swimming areas, to what I call “Lithostrotion” beach on account of the numerous fossilised corals preserved in the rocks down there.   Today, we were on the look out for brachiopods – a marine animal a bit like a modern bivalve, but actually not related to them at all.   We found numerous very good examples – you can see one in the photos below.  Sadly (well not sadly, really), the whole beach is protected and collecting its 350 million year old Carboniferous fossils isn’t allowed.   Today, whereas bivalves are common, brachiopods are regarded as “living fossils” and only live in a few areas of deep ocean, and are rarely seen in their native habitats.

Once we had done our palaeontology bit, we completed the coast walk on the promenade down to Portmarnock and had a good look at the “Eccentric Orbit” structure, pictured below.  And I bought a history book in the local Spar shop, which was a lucky and unexpected find.   After a quick cup of coffee on the beach, we retreated to Malahide via Paddy’s Hill above Robswall, and admired the surprising, distant panorama of the Cooley Hills, far to the north, which opened up in front of us once we got to the top.

As a reward for our exertions we also picked up a bottle of red from the Spar shop so I think it’s time to log out and go and enjoy a glass now.   Here’s to the next stage in our adventures! Cheers!


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Here’s a handy money-saving tip.   If you pay for your shopping in cash at one of the self-service checkouts, make sure the “change rounding” works in your favour.   Today it didn’t, and we lost 2¢.   Not a lot but it does all add up. This is what happens to the jellyfish that get washed up on the beach.   The dry out to almost nothing.   Jellyfish crisps, anyone?
A beautifully preserved brachiopod fossil, in cross section, on Lithostrotion beach, between Malahide and Portmarnock Detail of the Southern Cross’ flight from Ireland to Newfoundland, with the starting point (Velvet Strand, Portmarnock) and finishing point (Harbour Grace, Newfoundland) indicated.   See the photo at the bottom for more information
In the Spar shop, of all places, by the Velvet Strand this afternoon, I picked up an excellent and fascinating book on the history of Portmanock by local author Garry Ahern.   I’m very much looking forward to reading it.   It’s a nicely presented publication. Blurry in the distance, the Cooleys from the top of Paddy’s Hill.   They are about 70km / 45mi away – it was evidently an exceptionally clear day.   Interestingly, Anglesey, in Wales, is a similar distance away but is never visible from this spot.   I guess the hills must be a bit lower and hidden by the earth’s curvature.   Or perhaps sea haze perpetually obscures the view.
Val by the “Eccentric Orbit” sculpture in Portmarnock by the Velvet Strand beach.   It was installed in 1999 and celebrates Charles Kingford Smith’s flight from Portmarnock beach to Harbour Grace in Newfoundland in 1930 as one of the concluding stages in his pioneering flight round the world in the “Southern Cross”.   The axis points directly to the north star
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 10013 m
Max elevation: 50 m
Min elevation: 0 m
Total climbing: 142 m
Total descent: -142 m
Total time: 04:35:58
Download file: Made It Up As We Went Along compressed corrected.gpx

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