Re­venge not the only thing savoured on trip

Stockport Times West - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD sean.wood @talk21.com

I WAS on a top se­cret mis­sion to Kin­vara in County Gal­way last week, se­cret in the sense that my friends over there had no idea that nine of us were land­ing, and that in­cluded my mate Mooney who turned up at a fes­ti­val I was singing at in the Lakes in the sum­mer.

But re­venge was won­der­ful and savoured with a smile as he blubbed into the palms of his hands.

One sur­prise out of the way, time for a quick spin to the Bur­ren next door in County Clare, to take ad­van­tage of the blue skies and T-shirt weather.

A charm of goldfinches flit­tered about the black­thorn bushes, as we left Kin­vara, fol­lowed in or­der by a head of curlew, a par­cel of lin­nets and a mur­der of hooded crows.

You can’t beat a col­lec­tive noun to an­noy your friends; it’s almost as bad as me know­ing a song about almost ev­ery town in Ire­land and in­sist­ing on singing them ev­ery time we pass through or see a road sign.

First stop would soon put a smile on my long-suf­fer­ing bud­dies’ faces though, the renowned Lin­nanes Seafood Pub for lunch, with the pre­req­ui­site At­lantic view, half a dozen oys­ters, soda bread and but­ter, and of course, a pint of Guin­ness.

One of my most mem­o­rable trips to this place, once again with 10 of us, in­volved the young wait­ress com­ing to ask us if we were ready to or­der... “Yes please”, I said, “Can we have the first page?”

For a sec­ond she was un­sure, but after see­ing the size of us rufty-tufty rugby play­ers, she col­lected the menus and went off to the kitchen and then there ar­rived, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, lob­ster, oys­ters, clams, crab claws, smoked sal­mon, scal­lops and much more, a feast to be sure.

Lin­nanes is also per­fect for the bird­watcher, sit­ting as it does on the edge of a fierce tide race, which hourly tosses up all sorts of food for myr­iad birds, both on the shore and in the foam.

On this day, a gag­gle of brent geese, a fling of sand­pipers, a sedge of herons, a dop­ing of shel­drakes and, this is a good one, a gulp of cor­morants.

Within 10 min­utes of the pub you hit the top of the Bur­ren, an amaz­ing es­carp­ment of lime­stone, carved into a unique World Her­itage Site of hid­den wild­flower gul­lies and grykes, se­cret gar­dens of or­chids and gen­tians, hazel forests to hide a Hob­bit in, and an­cient dol­mens, the work of master craftsman from be­fore the Pharaohs.

As we curled back down the Corkscrew Moun­tain, we were just in time to catch sight of a flick of moun­tain hares.

‘It’s a spe­cial place in­deed’

Sean Wood savoured a pint or two on his re­cent visit to Kin­vara, in County Gal­way, Ire­land

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