Craggy Island, designed by Mishi (Mishi Masala), sits on a Homestead region as a “peaceful and picturesque island off the coast of Ireland”. It’s a place people are encouraged to visit for the views, to unwind and / or for the craic (gossip / new, presumably of the local variety!). It’s also a place Shaun Shakespeare pointed me towards by way of a landmark he dropped into my lap, so I donned my hiking boots and headed off to take a look.
Almost completely encircled by the green hills of an off-region surround, Craggy Island is a genuine delight, offering as it does not so much a sense of being out on a little island somewhere, but perhaps a place within the rural regions of Eire; From some angles, I felt is if I might be in Galway, perhaps Connemara, not far from the coast there. But then on swinging my camera around to look in another direction, the view brought to mind County Kerry, perhaps not far from Derryfanga – a feeling heightened by the simple expedient of positioning my camera so the intervening Linden Water between region and the peaks of the surround was masked from my view.
Undulating gently, this is a setting that is easy on the eye and a quiet delight to explore (the sussuration of waves duly noted!), the scattered buildings sprinkled across the moor-like landscape encouraging the feet to wander.
The landing point sits just a handful of paces from a thatched roofed pub – a place that has attracted the attention of one famous visitor! It is a natural place to wander towards, given the track the meanders towards it from the landing point, but turn the other way upon landing, and the stubby spire and slate roof of the local church might equally attract your attention as they peek over the lip of a small rise in the land, the smoke rising from the chimney of a house beyond it also encouraging feet to head in that direction.
But really, where you chose to roam makes no difference: you’re going to come across something worthy of your attention whichever direction in which you strike out.
To the north and east sits a farm that appears to be focused on rearing sheep and pigs – although a recently ploughed field close to hand suggests a modest crop of some short might also be cultivated. Away to the south and west, the crofter’s cottage with smoke rising from its chimney appears to be focal point for cattle and goat rearing. Or perhaps they are both part of the same farm.
Between them, the land rises and falls in gentle slopes and folds, places to sit nestled here and there, a small loch puddling the land, its calm surface home to a small mist. Horses wander more freely than cattle or sheep – which appear to keep close to the respective farm buildings, whilst a Romany caravan offers a particular retreat for those wishing to escape. Throughout, little tracks start here and there, wind along the grass for a while and then vanish, as if teasing those that follow them.
Needless to say, opportunities for photography abound throughout the setting, and if you have a wearable horse, this is a place that also offers the opportunity for taking a ride over its moorlands or along the low-lying areas of the coastline.
Watched over by the vigilant eye of a lighthouse and set under a hazy, late afternoon sky, the charm of Craggy island certainly lives up to the promise of céad míle fáilte.
- Craggy Island (Mathair, rated Moderate)