I set my alarm this morning in good time to go to Aldi and hopefully buy some new wellies. Because I work so much with thorns, they often go through my wellingtons and then they leak! I am then reduced to wearing them with 2 polythene bags over my feet inside the boots. Fed the cats and Buster, robbed Jim's wallet, grabbed camera and off we went.
There was a bit of a scramble for the boots, so I'm glad I left when I did. The larger sizes always seem to go first, but I managed to sort out 2 pairs of size 7, also assisting a gentleman who had his orders from his wife to get 2 pairs of size 6 and another lady and I found her a pair of black spotted size 7s. So we were all happy! What do you think?
Are they not a picture of subtlety?
I then bought Buster some knuckle bones and called at the vets for a chat and to pick up one of those extendable leads. The nurse produced a huge dog book and said they had been hunting through it trying to pin down Buster's exact breed. How cute is that? They just love him! There are loads of different hunting dogs, Danish, German, all sorts. We were really none the wiser however. Maybe he is a cross breed.
Armed with my new lead (a fetching red), I took Buster to Coole Park. I have mentioned this place several times before and posted pictures but of course today my camera worked over time. The morning was gloriously sunny apart from a quick shower on the way, which produced this lovely rainbow shot:
As I drove into Gort this half rainbow developed into a full blown arch. It was beautiful.
The light seemed just right today, with long shadows from the low, Wintry sun. The new lead worked a treat, allowing Buster freedom to run around yet under my control. I did let him off for a while but was aware that a coach party of school children were in the woods somewhere.
We started with our usual walk down to the lake and the water level had actually dropped since our last visit, but it was still pretty high:
The steps are just under the water. You can see how the trees are up to their ankles and in some cases, their waists in water.
We followed the '7 Woods Trail' which took us along parallel with the lake, then up these steps:
Doesn't Buster look splendid with his black and silver harness on? The leaves looked gorgeous underfoot too.
A little further along we came across this lonely humble bench so I snapped it for DJK
It was pretty dark at this juncture so I had to use flash.
Coole Park was owned by the Gregory family and after the death of her husband, Lady Gregory lived there for many years and was an enthusiastic patron of the arts. Many well know theatrical figures and writers of the day visited Coole House where they carved their initials on the well know autograph tree, including George Bernard Shaw and W.B. Yeats:
This is the autograph tree, sadly it has to be fenced at the bottom to prevent additional modern initials being added. Look at that wonderful blue sky.
Coole House is no longer there, unfortunately, but there is a photograph of how it used to look:
You can see where the house stood and the wonderful steps leading up to it:
All that remains of one of the rooms, bits of quarry tiles
There are some truly amazing trees in the grounds, many of them incredibly old. Here is a selection:
This was a central tree with a circle of smaller ones around it
This tree had amazing bark, rather like an elephant's hide
The beautifully coloured spongy bark of the giant redwood tree
Lady Gregory used to walk around her acreage a lot and her favourite spot was under a huge tree on a stone bench she had made, where she could write and look out over the lake. The forestry trees have taken over the space now so you can no longer see the lake from the seat, but here it is:
What a magnificent tree
As Buster and I walked further along the path, the canopy of trees grew less dense and the sunlight began to filter through the trees:
You can just see a lonely walker in the centre
I took a lot of shots as we walked along here but I think this was the most successful. There is the shadow of a signpost on the right
This path led us to the more formal part of the park. Just inside the gate are the graves of Lady Gregory's pets:
A welcoming bench with its fascinating shadow, just waiting for someone to sit and read in the sunshine
This line of trees cast long shadows on the winter green lawn
You come out of the formal garden through this red gate (DK, enchanted glimpses)?
Coming into the park from the other direction
What secrets are hidden behind this doorway? I love the urn on the top of the pillar.
As I stood admiring the view from the site of the house, I could just make out my orange Doblo car in the car park. Clock on the photo to see. It's right in the centre.
I took many more photos here and on the way home. The weather turned and they sky was magnificent, with rolling clouds, black falling rain in the distance and even some hail. Maybe I'll save those for tomorrow.
I love Coole Park, it has lots of walks, wonderful trees, a super cafe in the Summer, the lake and a museum about the Gregory family. Back home and Buster collapsed in a chair in the conservatory, while Jim and I went outside to attack more willow trees. It was bitterly cold though and started to rain so we didn't stay too long.
Our phone gave up the ghost today! Jim reported the fault on line on this computer before that, too, gave up it's struggle to keep going. A very nice chap from eircom called and tested our bit of line and set off to find the fault some way away. He rang us about half an hour later having fixed it. What splendid service.
Jim managed to coax this computer into life again so fingers crossed it'll hobble on until my 'new' one is fixed.