A Place Near Heaven – a year in West Cork – by Damien Enright
West Cork is heaven for the amateur naturalist. The air is clean, the sea unpolluted, every spring-time hedge is a lexicon of wildflowers, every rock a confection of lichens. Summers are full of mackerel and butterflies, village festivals and horse races on the sands. Autumn brings berries and mushrooms, wild redwings and fieldfares from Scandinavia, and flocks of 5,000 golden plover spiralling over our local bay. In November the arrival of the sprat shoals signals a wild life spectacular, with seals and gannets and every kind of diving duck. At Christmas, once every few years, there may be the magic of snow. I have written about all these things and the pleasure of living with them. With no background in botany or biology but a life-long love of nature, I have learned about them as I went, full of wonder and constantly surprised.
“Suer it is yett a most bewtifull and sweete Country as any under Heaven, seamed throughout with many Godlie rivers, replenished with all sortes of fishe most aboundantlie…”
Prizewinning article in Dutch glossy travel magazine Columbus, written by Louise ten Have, pictured here (m) receiving her award.