Lughnadhsa

LIn the hall, the scribes quietly put pencil to paper.

The North West is one of those dark places in our landscape. The moor on Thur Mountain has to be traversed to get to Manor, as the crow flies from the Black Pig’s Dyke at a ford west of Upper Lough Mac Nean. The walkers, to this haven, have picked the day before the grouse shoot opens. Frochans are barely ripe, with a green powdery bloom on the berries. Sika Deer in the woods of Corracloona know these mountain trails well. The first part of this walk follows a burbling stream, up through hazel and beech with mushrooms, then into the eyrie Sitka Spruce. A fire had claimed some young trees, years before, and the desolation of charred Spruce made for a relatively easy traverse.

At the bridge, there is another bothar heading up Thur Mountain. We are aiming to the right, making sure we hit the pass for Manor. The weather is improving today, and the midges are not part of our irritations. Walking into the heather, Oisin picks some buds of Bog Myrtle and makes a lozenge from them. He will taste this, until he lunches on cais, a Queen Maeve’s hard version. The story goes that in battle Maeve was hit on the head with a hard cheese, was concussed and died. Not an easy way to go …

Howard Fox, 11 August 2019

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