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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Day 34

During my visit to the Burren Programme centre in Carron last week, I had been told of a ditch that was built as part of the Public Works Scheme during the famine years. This ditch originated at Castle Lough, a lake that was only a couple of kilometres from the famine road that passed alongside Mullach Mór. Part of the ditch was not yet completely overgrown, and there appeared to be a clearing next to the road that ran alongside it (as shown on the satellite map below). As it was due to be clear and sunny throughout the day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to do a recce of the area.

Due to the extent of the undergrowth, it was near impossible to access the ditch directly from the road. Because of this I had to enter a field further along, locking my bike to a rusted gate before making my way across to the clearing. At first I didn't find too much, with a large pile of roughly cut rocks being the only evidence of the construction that had taken place around 170 years ago. After checking my exact location, I realised that I was still slightly north of the clearing in question. I made my way through some thorny bushes and was greeted by an impressive sight when I reached the other side. The ditch was clearly visible through the foliage, as was an enormous embankment that had been built from the rocks that I had passed by on my way. At a guess, it stood at well over 12-feet tall in parts. A countless number of rocks were piled alongside the ditch, sitting on top of the embankment that towered above it. It appeared that work on the ditch may have stopped abruptly, leaving the leftover rocks to merge into the landscape surrounding it. I couldn't go much further than the clearing itself due to how overgrown the area had now become.

Afterwards I made my way down towards Mullach Mór again, hoping to find a good view of the famine road from above. As I mentioned previously, there are multiple walking trails that pass through the Burren National Park, some of which travel over Mullach Mór itself. I made my way up one of these trails and it wasn't long before I reached the sort of viewpoint that I had been looking for. I took some images just in case, but the sunny weather that persisted throughout the day was far from ideal. However this recce was more than beneficial, as I can now spend more of my time photographing these constructions and less time getting to know the area and finding suitable viewpoints.

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