Monthly Archives: January 2013

White house, white capped waves, white cow, white horse, white airport

Despite the whitish title of today’s blog, there were plenty of other stunning colours on show during our walk today along the coast past the old cemetery (1200AD), back along past the new cemetery and then around past the airport back to our place. Here are a few glimpses. Will add some more pics of our walk tomorrow.

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Tá sé agaofar (tar shay a gweefa) – IT’S WINDY!

A few days ago, our neighbour Páraic, told us how to say “it’s windy” in Irish: tá sé gaofar (it’s windy). It sure is!!!!!

Since Friday, it’s been very windy and the seas are extremely high. Yesterday, the horizon looked like a line of peaked mountains but they were waves, not mountains. Gigantic waves were crashing against all the shores, both on the island and the mainland, and there were also huge waves forming and smashing against each other out to sea.

We’ve been told that, until about Wednesday, there will be no ferries or boats coming to the island. The plane comes in and out when the wind dies down a bit and the helicopter is available, thankfully, for medical emergencies.

It’s strange to feel a bit cut off but thank goodness for mobile phones and the internet.

We also learned the words for snow stones - clocha sneachta -since they were blowing around the place a few days ago. Here’s a handful of what they look like. Although they’re not as big as Aussie hailstones, they do make an impact when they fly into your face at high speed! Looks like snow when they collect around the edges of the houses.

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Yesterday afternoon, amongst the madness of the wind and rain, we decided to take a bike ride down to the coast to check out the choppy shoreline. From there, we saw a helicopter land and take off, taking one of the older residents from the island back to a hospital on the mainland. Good to know it’s there if needed.

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From where we were down near the coast, we also got a stunning view of the storm that was about to hit. It came in quickly. All Jack and I could do was to yell at each other “save yourself” as we cycled as hard as we could to get back to the house. The pic below gives you an idea of how close we arewhere we are in relation to the coast and the airport. It’s not a great photo but I’ve circled the helicopter and put a rectangle around out house. The main village is higher up the hill from our place.

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Walk to the coast looking towards Inishmore

We haven’t yet been to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, but we could see it well from the coast today where we went for our midday walk.

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The bikes are making it much easier to get around. Slowly getting used to the gears. Love having a basket to carry goodies back from the (one) shop on the island.

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Thanks, Carolyn, for the Kathmandu scarf and hoodie – both came in very handy today

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Of course, there are always woolly animals to say hello to on the way.

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Another beautiful barge sunrise

Who would think that a big, hulking piece of metal floating around in the Atlantic sea could look so beautiful.

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I love the way that the traditional boats of the Aran Islands (the currachs) are just patiently lying in wait to be used near the barge port, while the busy barge comes and goes out of this old port three times a week.

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It was all happening at the port this morning but the serenity resumed a few minutes after the trusty barge went on its way.

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Sea dog

There are so many great dogs on this island and they have such distinct personalities. Quite a few of them go to work with their owners, even the very old dogs. Many a red tractor drives past our house during the day, with a faithful dog running along behind with a huge smile and a happy step. There is a feeling of freedom and independence about the dogs.

This morning at the barge port, there were a couple of dogs playing with the sea. They were completely soaked, had no care at all that the sea spray was drenching them every now and again. They were having a ball. They had decided to come down to the shore in the morning at sunrise, then they decided to stay for a while and then decided when to trot home. No leads, no fences but plenty of freedom and fun, and maybe just a little bit of madness.

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Click here: Video of dog playing with the sea

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The barge arrives

This barge arrives on Inis Meáin three times a week in Winter – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It travels across from Galway, leaving at 4am in the morning and arriving on the island just before sunrise, about 8.30am. It’s clearly the lifeblood of this island in many ways – delivering cars, groceries, building materials, furniture and sometimes animals. Passengers arrive on the ferry which leaves from the island twice a day from the port on the other side of the island.

Click on the link below to see a 16 second video of the barge

Inishmaan Supply Barge

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Crunchy, frosty, icy Tuesday morning

This  morning we walked down to the port just before the sun rose to meet the barge that brought our bicycles, our groceries and Jack’s new office chair to the island. Although frosts don’t seem to be common on Inis Meáin, because of the protection of the sea, there was a lot of frost and ice around this morning. It was chilly at 0.5 °C but there was no wind, thankfully. The frost on our roof and in the paddocks next to our house looked like snow.

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The animals’ water troughs were iced over and quite a few paddocks and rock walls had a dusty covering of white frost.

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Even the roads and the currachs (traditional Aran Island boats) didn’t escape the frost today.

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