25 January 2014
Waking up to the trees and swans
on the banks of the River Moy
I awoke this morning with a view across the broad estuary of the River Moy to the Beleek Woods through the full length, ceiling-to-floor window in my room in the Ice House Hotel on the Quay in Ballina.
The woods include a variety if conifer trees such as Norway Spruce, Scots Pine, Silver Fir, as well as Beech, Oak and Ash. Despite last night’s storm, the river is alive with swans and herons, and a seal is bobbing up and down in the water.
The 30 rooms have no numbers – instead they have names like Vermillion, Saffron, Monterey and Leaf – and I have been staying in Salmon on the top floor. After this week’s four-part drama on RTÉ, I wonder whether they are going to change the name of Amber, which is also on the top floor?
This part of Ballina on the eastern side of the Moy Estuary, including the Quay, was a part of Co Sligo until it was transferred to Co Mayo by legislation in Westminster in 1898.
With a population of 10,361 (2011), Ballina is second largest town in Co Mayo after Castlebar. The town dates back to 1375 and the foundation of an Augustinian friary, but Ballina only became a town in 1723.
Just before sunset yesterday, two of us walked along the banks of the river as far as the old fishing area at the Quay. The sun was setting behind the trees in Beleek Wood as we walked back to Ice House, where we had dinner looking out onto the river.
This morning, it is raining heavily and there is a strong wind. Where I shall go this morning? To see the cathedral in Killala or for a walk on the beach at Enniscrone?