It is true… Ireland is very green. I believe these photographs are from around 1996 when I made a quick visit back home mostly to see my parents who at that time weren’t in especially good health. I can remember spending a considerable time in the hospital visiting with my dad, but when the skies cleared unexpectedly one day I stepped out for some fresh air and spent the afternoon exploring the area around the Mourne Mountains (Beanna Boirche, meaning “Boirche’s hills”). In the view above I am just starting to climb into the mountains, and am looking back across what were incredibly lush, green fields leading toward the Irish Sea.
Newcastle and the Mournes were only about half an hour from where I grew up, and I can vividly remember the many Sunday afternoon drives we would take there as a family. Back in the late 1960’s – that’s right, the 60’s – our family spent a wonderful week one summer in a Newcastle bed and breakfast – still one of my fondest childhood memories. On the road going south out of town that hugs along the shore, my dad would always remark how beautiful the scenery was. He would invariably mention “where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea” written by Percy French to celebrate the area.
As mountains go, the Mournes of County Down really aren’t that tall (the highest mountain is Slieve Donard at 2,785 ft), but what they lack in stature they more than make up for in beauty as they truly do impressively sweep down to the sea. This is just one more little pocket of Irish splendor that Sam and I will likely spend some time exploring when we go home in March.