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Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Mysteries Of Hollybrook House Woodlands

A new location for us, was Hollybrook House. I have been curious about here for years. George and Violet have been encouraging us to go here for several weeks. Well Sunday 4th October was they date, and I wondered if they would be here to open the gate.

Well they were, and here early, with Violet's sister Vera.

Very few of us turned up for this unique Bards In The Woods event. I thought we may have several new people, especially other people curious about here ... but it was not to be.

After an expected long woodland driveway, which, apparently, was the old trades people entrance, we arrived at the Hollybrook House of many stories.

It is very different to the vibrant hotel that can be seen on the film below from 1938.

In the film, that I have embedded below, you will see a family on holiday sitting and enjoying leisure on these steps around the pillars ...

The sisters, Violet and Vera, started to share a couple of stories about here. At this point, I understood this as being a bit of their local knowledge.

In the embedded film, you will notice how this scene is of manicured lawns and an open view of Lough Arrow. Those trees have been planted and grown after the film was made.

Behind us, was the courtyard, stables and staff buildings, all known as the Bawn, and we did explore this area later

I was expecting to go down what was the lawn to the lough, but Violet, Vera and George had ideas of following this overgrown track ... to a surprise.

They picked big juicy blackberries on the way ...

The weather now was sunny and a bit warmer than we expected

Coleston, behind me, was equally in awe of this different landscape.

A lot of trees felled here and there was no knowledge about future plans, though it is suspected this will soon become a monoculture forest farm.

There are some classic trees here such as this spindling Oak ...

Some of the Oaks here have small spindling Holly trees in front of them and wrapped around them. The story of the Oak King vs the Holly King is quite abundant around here :-)

and the holly trees have berries ...

and then we get to the Lough Arrow shore, accompanies by stories of how this was once the best trout fishing in Europe, and that is why Hollybrook House as a hotel was very successful.

A couple of swans seem to be excited to see us, and paddled towards us, with no fear of Pixie the Springer Spaniel being with us and watching them.

Looks like the Beach leaves were floating in to see us too :-)

and here we arrive at the Fisherman's Diamond, as it is called, an octagonal shaped cozy building.

While I was dreamily lurking by the water and taking pics, George got a fire going inside ..

Time for our first picnic session, by this cozy fire.

A cool wind was starting up so this was very welcome at this point.

While we were here, the motivation for being here was revealed beautifully. Violet and Vera are from around here and as children this is where they played. They were now full of wonderful stories of their times here. This was the bardic focus of this time, and not poems. Beautiful!

When we finished, we did take notice of this sign ...

So we left the peninsula with this cozy hut ...

and commenced a woodland trail, where some hardwood trees had been felled too

A beautiful native woodland trail beside the lough. As Coleston remarked, this is truly a Forest Bathing spot.

and the beauty and mystery continues ...

Lots of fungi, this is the time of year for it ...

Well, its not all native, as there are several sweet chestnut trees here too.

But there are some mature king Oaks too.

After awhile in this woodland magic, time to rest and ponder awhile ...

I love this pic that includes George and Pixie the dog :-)

A classic pic of Pixie here ...

Here is the jetty below Hollybrook House, shown in the film.

After a rest time we walked up where the lawns once were

to the house well.

Looking at the house from the well

The well gate, and here we heard more stories from Violet and Vera who daringly played here as children too.

So now we explore the Bawn area ...

Into the courtyard.

Pidgeon and dove cotes ...

We explore the various empty stables and sheds.

A stash of cut Ash here.

Modernish French window but in here, a renovation job that was suddenly stopped.

There are various mysterious entrances to this area.

From this back wall, above, we found an open entrance.

For some reason I only took one pic inside here. The building was very long though. A lot of modernising work had been done and it looked like a perfect retreat for small studios or galleries. Each one had its own open fire like this one ...

Out of the back of this building and more surprises ...

Another pretty mysterious raos heading away from here.

An incredibly large walled garden. Violet and Vera were abundant with their stories of times here, especially among the apple trees.

In other places there were gems of very mature trees. I believe this is of a very old fir, maybe DouglasFir, or some kind of Pine. Very wide trunk.

This was the last picture I took today, a well known plant but for now forget what it is.

We returned to the front of Hollybrook House, put blankets over the steps so the nettles would not sting us, and had a second picnic for awhile. For now, camera were put away to allow time to reflect on this place, where we had been and where we were then ... before going home.

Here is the film ...