Hurrah! River runs are back! Although it`s still very cold and, with a fine Siberian easterly whipping all us poor Paddies to pieces, it`s dry and bright. Time to get back to one of my favourite routes: the riverbank.
I brought my camera along. There is always the chance of seeing something interesting, or just plain beautiful along by the river.
Although not the best photograph in the whole wide world, the sight of this horse chestnut bud thrilled me. I love the stickiness and size of these buds. I love the elegant way they`re upheld by the branches and how quickly they will unfurl into a multitude of light green palmate leaves. Their lanterns of white blossoms will add to their glory in May. And into those schoolboy delights in October~conkers. The horse chestnut never fails to delight.
These pillboxes are made of concrete and so, as ugly as all hell. But interestingly, they once formed part of Ireland`s defence system during the 1940s. Ireland, see, was neutral during World War 2. So, while the rest of ye might have been up to your necks in blitzes and battles, we had, what became known as The Emergency. Ah, yes, our classic tendency to understate everything. The Emergency, of course, lasted six years.As for the pill boxes, well, from what I`ve heard, a soldier would be stationed in each one. That little slit on the top of the box, afforded the watchful soldier a view of the river, lest an enemy of the nation swim or boat upstream and thus, infiltrate our fair land.
I was still running, of course, at that point. Only pausing to take pictures, for the benefit of you, dear reader. That, of course, had the added benefit of giving me a break at very regular intervals. And an incentive to cast my eye about the place. And so I spotted this….
This house was built for the family that resided in the Big House, two miles downriver. It was their summer residence. I figure, from the brickwork and from what remnants of style remain, that it was built in the later part of the 19th century. If you`re so inclined, look it up. It`s Glenmore House, Oldbridge. Drogheda. There`s quite a bit about it here. Which probably contradicts all I think I know about it. Oh, well….
Have to say, I`m a big fan of ruins. Took a peek inside and snapped this….
… and this…
I can`t help but imagine what life was like for the former residents of these houses, and their retinue of staff.
But, dreaming done, I had to make my way back down river, and quickly. The sun was sinking fast. And anyway, I needed to focus on actually running
I took off like a bullet. Past the steps. and the pillboxes, and the buds and the river.OK, a slow bullet. But much quicker than my photorun two miles.
By the time I`d returned to my car I`d run four miles in all. Garmin says my last two miles hit below 9.30 minutes per mile. Ok, not Speedy Gonzales. More Lazy Red Hen. But I`ll take it anyway. My speed is on the up.
And so is my mood: river runs are back!