Apr 2010 – April Showers

On Easter Sunday there certainly were April showers, but between the showers the sun shone and we decided to pack a picnic and head off to Clonakilty, first to Lisselan Gardens for an Easter egg hunt and then on to Inchydoney beach, where horse and traps were being put through their paces on the beach – perfect!

The drive back to Baltimore following the setting sun is always special. There’s something about travelling west as the sun sets. The clouds always dissipate and as the car almost keeps pace with the setting sun, time seems to stand still. The shortest route home from Skibbereen is via Lough Hyne (Loch Ine) and as the road bends and zig-zags the great hill of Knockomagh wood looms ahead of us dark and menacing. Then as we turn the corner into the light, before us is Lough Hyne (Loch Ine), peaceful and serene as always, sheltered by the surroundings hills like a great amphitheatre. Then up the zigzag on the other side of the hill to Ballymacrown – Home Sweet Home!

The poem by Michael Fitzjames O’Brian (1828 – 1862) beautifully puts in to words the atmosphere of Lough Hyne (Ine), describing the ruined Cloghan Castle on Castle Island in the middle of the Lough, once a strong hold of the O’Driscoll Clan, where according to the childrens’ Irish folk tale King Labhra Loinseach, who had asses ears, once lived.

Lough Hyne

I know a lake where the cool waves break,
And softly fall on the silver sand;
And no steps intrude on that solitude,
And no voice, save mine, disturbs the strand.
And a mountain bold, like a giant of old,
Turned to stone by some magic spell,
Uprears in might his misty height,
And his craggy sides are wooded well.
In the midst doth smile a little isle,
And its verdure shames the emerald’s green;
On its grassy side, in ruined pride,
A castle of old is darkling seen.
On its lofty crest the wild birds nest,
In its halls the sheep good shelter find;
And the ivy shades where a hundred blades
Were hung when the owner in sleep reclined.
That chieftain of old, could he now behold
His lordly tower a shepherd’s pen,
His corpse, long dead, from its narrow bed
With shame and anger would rise again.
‘Tis sweet to gaze when the suns bright rays
Are cooling themselves in the trembling wave,
But ‘tis sweeter far when the evening star
Shines like a tear at friendships grave.
There the hollow shells, through their wreathed cells,
Make music on the lonely shore,
As the summer breeze, through the distant trees,
Murmurs in fragrant breathings o’er.
If it were my lot in that fairy spot
To live forever and dream twere mine,
Courts might woo and kings pursue,
Ere I would leave thee, loved Lough Ine.
Michael Fitzjames O’Brian (descendent of Fineen the Rover) 1828 – 1862.
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