Lists about this place
Write an entry Entries about this place
Ballyvaughan, one-time capital city of the Burren and venue for the long happy blur of my childhood holidays, is nestled between two hunched hills, Moneen and Cappanawalla. They are karst grey with limestone terracing, stippled with pools of light, growing black as the light fades. My Mum’s cottage looks up at Cappanawalla, so that is the one we climbed on Thursday.
We left Ballyvaughan by Monks pub and walked along the seafront in the direction of Black Head. Past the bird hide, pump, slipway, hazel wood. Then we took the Burren Way for a little bit, turning back on ourselves, fearing only the wrath of rottweilers and rusted radiators. The Way runs all the 26 miles to Lahinch, though I’ve never done it all in one.
Then we got bold. Scrambled over a gate, skipped through a field, frolicked from clint to clint. Well, not quite frolicked: I wasn’t dressed for it, and the briar-scratches on my legs were half-pleasant.The wind did half-pleasant Marilyn Monroe things with my skirt. I explained to John, too, that throughout my childhood I’d been gravely warned to beware the grikes – the gaps between the flat limestone clints – and I carried that childhood sense of gravity up the hill with me. I know that the worst case scenario is a twisted ankle, but I can’t help suspecting that the grikes are deeper than they look, dark and bottomless, and inhabited by grues.
It was a proper clamber, and we discovered later that there was a track we could have used, but we were glad we didn’t. John went first and I put my feet where his had been. We found orchids and, I think, cinquefoil, cowslip, rockrose and bloody crane’s bill. We met butterflies with translucent red wings and black furred bodies, one of which I now want to get tattooed on my ankle instead of a moth. John picked up delicately coloured snail shells and came back a little bit each time to show me the tiny treasure in his palm. We rested on grass and looked out over Galway Bay before taking on each nearly-there crest. I pointed out Bishop’s Quarter where the sun always shines, and the Rine where you can pick up cowrie shells, to be sold to Mum at the rate of 5p each.
And then the top was – something else. But I won’t try to tell: spoil the reward for when you clamber Cappanawalla.over 7 years ago
Ask a question Travel questionsNobody has asked a question yet. Be the first!
People who have been here
See all 80 people