Blogging at 22:15 on Monday 31st August from intended overnighting spot N 52.61671°, W 07.64511° / http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:52.61671%2C-07.64511
We were awoken at about 23:15 last night bathed in blue and white light. At first we had some concerns we were about to be abducted and probed by aliens. As we came fully to, though, we realised the threat was entirely secular in the form of the Garda; and might therefore only extend to a simple probing.
Someone had apparently spotted us and, concerned we may be committing 'rural crimes', had called us in. The two officers realised within about 10 seconds that we were not the committing rural crimes type and after a bit of back-and-forthing were on their way. I apologised that we'd caused someone some concern and stressed we always did our best to keep a low profile. I had to concede that one of the officers had a point when he laughingly reminded us we didn't help that particular cause by being in a giant truck painted like a zebra.
Come morning we bumbled to a place where I literally had to lay a ghost to rest: the building that used to be Ballydavid Wood Youth Hostel. About 28 years ago a friend and I stayed there one night on a cycle tour and, in summary, I had a totally and utterly inexplicable episode of sheer terror, where, having been woken from my sleep, was utterly convinced something malevolent was inches from my face. The 'visitation' went on for about half an hour. I'm not prone to such episodes and believe entirely in rational explanations but there's no denying that incident was deeply disturbing.
The building is now a private residence and was being worked on by a tradesman. I chatted to him for a while about the youth hostel days but refrained from disclosing the full and frank explanation for my visit. The pic is of the building and I'm quite sure the shard of spectral light is purely coincidental: as was a dead tree in the adjoining wood falling down entirely spontaneously as I passed by on my way back to the truck. This really did happen.
Post 28-year-duration exorcism (I hope), we headed for a spot towards the head of the River Suir managed by the Cabragh Wetlands Trust. It's a pretty unusual nature reserve in as much as it supports a real mosaic of wetland habitat types in what is essentially an otherwise pretty dry wider area.
In fairness, this is not the best time of year in such habitats for bird sightings but there were quite a few dragonfly species around. I need to confirm ID but saw common darter, brown hawker and what might have been a migrant hawker - more research required. Whilst I was pottering round with the bins Emma couldn't help herself, donned her running gear and went off to continue what now seems like an unbroken 75-year streak of daily self-flagellation.
Leaving the wetlands we headed for some decent-looking map features in a quest for a simple 'transient' overnight spot. The spot we first settled was a track to a local nature reserve / public amenity area and, though it was pleasant enough for tea and a bit of casual nature watching, was staying a little too busy a little too late for our liking so we baled to the coordinates we're now at. It's a little unconventional for us but should be OK. All we need from it is for it to be really boring.
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