Maps and Being There

We spent the week on the shores of Lough Corrib near Cong, Ireland. Lough Corrib has an estimated 1200 islands and extends up through the Conemara mountains, and down to Galway on the western coast. Renowned for good fishing and its varied wildlife, it’s the second-largest lake in Ireland. The birdsong at dawn is a varied symphony.

What it looked like on a map drawn in 1600 can be seen here.

Source: Oughterard Heritage
Source: Oughterard Heritage

Where we stayed was all green pastures, lush forests and breathtaking views. The other end of the lake still has breathtaking views, but of a different sort: Wide, windswept bog and crests of mountains that rise up from the plains like sudden ocean swells.

What it looked like on a more detailed map from 1846 can be seen here.

Loch Coirib with Irish place names. Source: Everything Angling
Loch Coirib with Irish place names.
Source: Everything Angling

Still, knowing where a place is on a map and knowing it has historical and environmental significance aren’t the same as knowing what it’s like to be there.

What it looked like through the lens of my phone camera while on a run can be seen below.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

Stone walls divide the countryside, sometimes enclosing herds of sheep, sometimes cattle, and sometimes, the stone walls enclose what used to be a meadow, but is now a thicket that hides a long-abandoned farmhouse. The walls themselves tumbled so long ago that they seem a part of the forest.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

This is why most of my ‘runs’ around this area turned into sprints, peppered with walks and pauses.