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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Days 16-18

As I am planning on bringing my bike to Kilfenora on Thursday, I looked up how long it would take to cycle there from Carron. On doing so, I discovered that it was home to a mini-supermarket. As the distance to the Kilfenora is less than that to Ballyvaughan, as well as the journey being flatter overall, on Sunday I tested out doing the weekly shop there. The cycle was comparatively pleasant, introducing me to an even more expansive side of the Burren. As there are less hills around this area, the landscape stretches out as far as the eye can see. The lack of wind and rain enabled me to take in this surrounding scenery, something that one doesn't often have the luxury of doing along the coastal route to Ballyvaughan.

On Monday I walked to Poulaphuca in attempt to find the shelters that were used by the builders while they were constructing the local famine road. The day was dull, overcast, and it would have been the perfect weather for photographing bar the light drizzle that continued for most of the morning. Upon arriving at Poulaphuca I made my way along a windy track up the side of a hill, one that had the look of being rarely used. Although steep, it wasn't long before I had reached the summit.

I had been instructed to follow the track until I came across the shelters, presumably nearby to the famine road. However, the only construction I encountered that bared any resemblance to a shelter was a wedge tomb. I decided to traverse through some fields to get slightly closer to the famine road, hoping that I would spot a shelter along the way. As I passed from field to field, I saw the famine road from a height for the first time. Ever since my first encounter with it, I had been doubtful whether or not it had been the famine road that the locals had been talking about. Previously I had only observed it from below, or when I was actually walking along the road itself. From this initial perspective it almost had the appearance of being a natural phenomenon, and not man-made at all. However, from the slightly higher viewpoint there was no doubt that it was indeed the famine road of Poulaphuca.

What makes this road unique to the other famine roads that I have photographed is that it has remained completely untouched since its original construction. Many roads built during the famine have been upgraded and improved over the years, to the extent that it is almost impossible to recognise them as being built during the famine. However, this road provided no practical purpose at the time of construction as it was built into the side of a hill, starting and ending in the middle of nowhere. Because of this, the road has remained untouched since the famine years, its foundation stones yet to be paved over.

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