It’s amazing how fine weather can lift people’s spirits. How often, for instance, have you heard the dreaded ‘r’ word this summer? People are putting their cares aside — temporarily at least — and the heavy atmosphere that has clouded the country for so long seems to have lifted.
Ireland looks a picture, at present, and ideal growing conditions have resulted in a profusion in wild flowers, with the fuschia blooming in places like West Cork and Kerry.
Visits in recent days to places like Valentia and the Beara Peninsula showed up the magical beauty of the countryside. Castletownbere was throbbing with visitors, while villages like Lauragh, Ardgroom, Allihies and Eyeries all looked a picture and had plenty of tourists in evidence.
The soft sand beach at Allihies could have been in Spain, with people of all ages splashing about and soaking up the sun. On the next trip we’ll do the Copper Mines Trail.
Maura Lyons, of Leave No Trace Ireland, a charity promoting responsible outdoor recreation in Ireland, is encouraging everyone to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and to minimise any negative environmental impacts we may cause by planning our trips a little better and adhering to a few simple messages.
‘’You’ll have a more enjoyable experience if you do a bit of research beforehand. Choose a location with facilities to suit your group. Bring plenty of fluids and foods that are easy to prepare. If you’re thinking of doing an outdoor activity like walking, canoeing or swimming, plan this in advance and make sure you have the necessary skills and equipment,’’ she says.
Dogs should also be kept under control to avoid problems for other recreational users or local farmers. It only makes sense not to take dogs onto farmland or mountain areas, especially where sheep or cattle are grazing.
Car parking can also be a real issue. Ms Lyons urges people not block gateways as farmers may need access to their fields.
We saw more cyclists than ever in West Cork and they seems to be everywhere on roads that are not safe for cycling, so motorists need to take extra care. Uncut and overgrown hedges cause additional problems on narrow roads. And it’s also an active time for farming and a little patience with tractors, trailers and other machinery on the roads is sometimes called for. Enjoy.