Lough Coolin Famine Village, County Galway

Did you run or were you driven
From the beds you made of stone
The lake up in the clouds
The valley you called home
And did you dream then of its shores
The hawthorn’s springtime snow
The heather swaying gently
On the edges of the sky
— Claire Loader

Lough Coolin - we came upon her shores as the evening stretched the sky a thin shade of blue, as pairs of young birds played upon the rocks, flitted above the heather. Tucked into the back heights of Mount Gable in Clonbur, it was a strange feeling to be up so high, enclosed by commanding hills with peaks even higher. Rumour has it famine never reached the valley, rather merely the disdain of poverty, the carriage track of the Guinness family veering too close to a settlement not fit for viewing. But my, now what a view - the stones of the little cottages so perfectly placed, the water of the lake a striking cobalt blue. Standing amidst the remains, it’s hard not to wonder who it was that had lived there, who it was that had been driven from it, for whatever reason. And yet despite the soft sadness that sits upon the walls, there is a sense of magic too, the lonely hawthorn trees on the hills almost sparkling in their springtime snow.

You can find the location of this haunting site and the many other places I’ve visited here. Come explore with me…

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