Saturday, July 13, 2013

Portumna Forest Park and a (possible) bovine sculpture

Wednesday evening last in Portumna Castle Harbour I was wearing my usual boating clothes - polo neck, woolly cardy, fleece, longjohns under jeans. Thursday was warmer, but still fine for us to leave the dogs in the boat and go for a cycle round Portumna Forest Park. We found ourselves on trails we'd never seen before - bikes, not dog walking, makes the difference. I was beginning to regret wearing shorts and sandals as we negotiated ever-narrowing pathways with roots, rocks and briars - it's that time of year when briars go searching for new rooting grounds, sending out their spikes at two foot an hour.

Not everything is as you might expect in the Forest. This, for example, mooning beside a waterside trail.  Listening device, bovine sculpture, some class of folly, beacon of hope?

And disorientating views of the lake. We'd been going for a while and come out on the opposite side of the park to Castle Harbour. Where was this?

Then there was a humpy mound, and giant wall-looking rocks poking through the reeds.

It was only on our way back that we found the sign cunningly hidden in a trail marker that we realised what all this was: Bonaveen Harbour, hidden among the reeds and sallies. The estate sawmill used to be here. The mound was where sawdust had been dumped over many years - all grown over now, but definitely not looking natural. The big rocks were part of the estate wall, built out into the lake. Barges tied up to the quay here waiting for the rough planks from the forest to be loaded onto them and taken to Limerick where they became someone's kitchen table or chest of drawers (actually I'm guessing here, but the sign does specify furniture).

Needs a spot of dredging I think. The quay wall is in there somewhere.

The view out was of Cloondavaun Bay. You don't notice these little places when your mind is on your cruising route.

Actually this is all a tease. The really important thing (for me) happened before the cycle ride.

That's going to have a post all of its own. If my flaky internet connection will let me do it before next week.

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