If the world were to end at lunchtime today, what would you do, where would you go? That’s what a friend of mine asked me once, and I immediately answered: I’d go up to the Dublin Mountains, lie down in the heather and look up at the passing clouds. And listen to the song of the skylark.
I can’t explain why this place is so special to me but it’s a place where I go to think, a place where I feel ‘at home’. If you drive up from Rathfarnham, past the Hellfire Club, past the viewing point over Dublin city and continue on over the mountains towards Glencree, you come to a white road on your right that heads off across the bog towards Kippure Mountain. This is the area we called “the Featherbed”. I never knew why.
The mountains look different at different times of the year. In August when the heather is in bloom, it is a sea of purple and maroon, like in the painting above by my friend John O’Grady. In July, well I like to go up in July because that’s the time to see the Bog Cotton. But I went up there recently and I could hardly believe my eyes! As you can see from my photo below, there’s more Bog Cotton there this year than ever before. It’s like snow in summer.
Maybe it’s because of the weather – we’ve had 3 weeks of continuous sunshine here in Dublin with temperatures around 25 degrees every day. Maybe it’s because of climate change. Well, there’s no doubt that the climate is changing but I just wonder if perhaps once, long ago, we had a similar year and that’s where “the Featherbed” got its name. They used to use the cotton for stuffing pillows, didn’t they?
There’s more information about boglands on the Irish Peatland Conservation Council’s website : http://www.ipcc.ie/
and more paintings by John O’Grady to be seen at: http://www.johnogradypaintings.com/