Winter Wanders and Weather Lore
Ards Forest Park is situated in Northern Donegal, accessed via the main road from Creeslough to Dunfanaghy, and with Ards Fiary on its eastern most edge, it contains many stunning walks and would take several days to explore properly. My favourite walk winds along the shore, starting at the carpark it continues along the edge of the Black Strand where the tide roars in twice a day, along sand dunes and wooden walkways to an series of tiny bays and views across to Downings before sweeping high up onto the headland and dropping once more to a beautiful secluded cove where you can take a dip in usually tranquil waters before wandering back through the forest to where you left your car... Last month I took a walk in this completely empty forest park as Storm Fionn swept in. Below are some images and a little weather lore.
A Change in the Moon brings a change in the weather - Around the New and Full Moon's expect the weather to change. Full Moon's bring big tides, and New Moon's tend to bring rain. To see a blue halo around the moon in any phase predicts rain, whilst to see the old moon in the new moon's arms (a faint outline of a full moon and the illuminated crescent) forewarns frost.
Slip a pearl into his pocket, draw a swallow on his foot, hide his boots, fill his bath water with salt, add black pepper to his food, grind peony root and add it to the wash, wrap strands of his hair around oak branches, buy him shirts of sky blue... It won't matter; if she wants him there's no stopping her, and you can't argue with the sea...
Superstitions to protect a man from drowning.
Once it was believed that certain women could control the weather; they could tie up the wind in knots as a failsafe for sailors before they went to sea, should the ship find itself in the doldrums untying the knot would fill the sails. Should such a woman whistle with her back to the wind she could whip up a storm, however she could also calm it by facing it and whispering a few soothing words. Should she want the seas to rage a long thread of her hair wrapped around a pebble and tossed into the deep could cause a tumult, whilst her bare feet could soothe it. But as all seafarers know, the sea is the wildest woman of all and it's futile to argue with her...
Standing Stone Standing guard over the Black Strand as the tide and dusk rushed in.