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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Our First Visit To Beezie's Island

It is Sunday afternoon, 16th August, 2015, and 14 of us are off to Beezie's Island for Bards In The Woods meet up there. So the first 7 start to climb into the boat ...


Jan exchanges introductions with Poem Boy and Dangerous Doris (Mike and Anne), before boarding the boat ...


First crew ready to sail away ...


but not before lifejacket instruction ...


And they are away, while those of us left ashore weep in jealousy :-)


While boarding, the rain was starting to get heavy. We were a bit dissapointed as all around us was blue sky. Skipper Eddie tried re-assuring everyone that it was a shower passing over and pointed to the abundance of blue sky all around ...


Donijka, Talliah and her cousin are contemplating leaving their tree shelter as the rain was indeed stopping and the sun coming out ... 


The girls took to seeing the swan and ducks up close ...


About 30 minutes later, skipper Eddie had returned with his boat to pick up the rest of us. Karen Litton turned up too with a lot of fresh picnic goodies ...


Donijka adjusting her life jacket and glad to get going ...


Barry Litton reading the instructions for his camera ...


Skipper Eddie seems to think all is well :-) ....


Lovely view of Ben Bulben as we leave the Garavogue River into Lough Gill ...


Another Garavogue estuary view ...


Approaching Beezie's Island in the distance, and the sky is looking very gloomy.


As we approach the island closer, the sky looking even more doomy with us getting close to rain ...


Yes, we are into a rainy space now ...


Up umbrella for Barry ...


Donijka does not have an umbrella ... and she is keeping on her sunglasses, just in case ... 



Kayakers also heading to Beezie's Island for shelter from the rain ...


Getting close to the jetty of Beezie's Island now ...


First close up view ... 



Another close up view further along the island coast ...

Another view, we pull in here ...


Sile greets us at the jetty, and is a bit fed up with the rain. She considers returning to the mainland, but we persuade her to stay a bit longer ...


Eddie the boat skipper kindly loaned us a tent to put our picnic under so we would stay dry, and he helped us to erect it. He also loaned us several ponchos that we layed out as places to sit for our picnic ...


The kayakers are now ashore and in Beezie's cottage to shelter. Hmmm, there is no roof and they have wet suits on ??? 



Here we have the memory of Beezie Gallagher. Today, this island is on maps as being Cottage Island but most people call this Beezie's Island in reverence and respect for the truly remarkable woman, Beezie Gallagher. It used to be called Gallagher's Island asd the island had been the residency of Beezie's parent, grandparents and ancestors.

Beezie was born in the 1860s and reared on this island. Her early years were spent as a housemaid to the Wynne family, who  lived in Hazelwood House.

When Beezie retired she returned to her family island that she dearly loved nad miseed. During her retirement years, Beezie turned to nature for her companionship, though many people did visit by boat to be treated to her scones and tea.

The birds, squirrels, domestic animals and even the rodents grew to trust and love Beezie. Visitors told of swans sitting in her kitchen and eating from her hand. Another visitor's story tells of her banning someone from the island who dared to throw a stone at a rat.

Beezie was also very famous from rowing from her island and up the Garavogue River into Sligo Town to collect her pension money and do her weekly shopping, then row back to her island after.

There was a time Beezie became very ill, pneumonia I believe, and had to go from hospital. Staff and friends tried to coax her to retire in a nursing homw ... but she escaped from the nursing and somehow found her way back to her island home.


Beezie resumed rowing to Sligo town every Wednesday as usual, but it appears that it this time a new jetty was built from the Dooney Rock woods so she did not have so far to row. I assume other transport was provided to help her into Sligo town and back.

In 1951, Wednesday pension and shopping day was on Chritmas Eve and the weather was cold, bitter and heavy snow. Several people tried to encourage her to share Christmas Eve and Day with them in the town, but she refused.

Concerned about her being ok, some friends volunteered to visit her and cut firewood for her on St. Stephen's Day. Alas, when they arrived they found Beezie's home had burned down and Beezie herself burned to death. Something had gone wrong as she fueled her fire more to overcome the bitter bold.

With her a culture seems to have gone extinct, one when life was much slower, nature was much closer and hospitality was what people lived for.

The sun is coming out a bit now. It was not raining and the views are beautiful ...


Barry reads us, 'Lake Isle Of Innisfree' by W.B. Yeats as it is said W.B. Yeats wrote the poem here or for here as he was a frequent visitor of Beezie's. It is said he was somewhat envious of her life but also though Beezie's or Gallagher's island was not romantic enough for the title, hence calling it Innisfree after the remote island at the other end of Lough Gill.

It may be that W.B. Yeats called his poem after Innisfree top detour curious people to Innisfree and not be a nuisance to Beezie.  

After Barry indoctrinated us to the island it was tuck into picnic time !!!






Barry and Tina stayed in their chairs for this time :-)


And the sun truly came out at this time :-) 




After eating we shared more poetry with contributions from Poem Boy and Dangerous Dorris, Talliah and her cousin, Jan and myself. The others prefered to just be audience this time. Videos of some of these poems will be here soon ...

Then time to explore the island. Ben Bulben looks good from here too ...


Now what is behind these trees? Good to be sunny as we explore :-) 


Into a bit of woodland here. Lots of Yews on this island ...


Several wild flowers in the vast grassy areas ...




Thsi mysterious ancient stone building that none of us could work out its ancient purpose for ...


Met up with Donijka and Bridget coming around the opposite way to us. We had a photo taking duel. 


Very pretty woodland paths here ...


And some may say Fae or Fairy entrances :-) 


At the East end of the island a kayaker looking for a place to camp overnight. 


We explain to her that this paert of the island is perfect for camping as there are several fireplaces here and lots of fallen twigs and branches for fuel ...


Its 5:30 pm and Eddie returns with the boat to start taking us back to the mainland


I did not want to be on the first boat, but I had discovered, before getting the second boat here, that my car battery was flat so this was something that had to be sorted right away.

So we leave Beezie's Island. I would would have loved to stay much longer, but midges were also starting to bite harshly.

Another snap to say goodbye with ...


We turen the corner to drift away from the island ...


That's it, moving further away ...


Then this lovely reflective scene as we leave Lough Gill back into the Garavogue River ...


Some people had a very happy afternoon. I love this pic of Donijka ...


So now, I am on the mainland, most of the others have gone home and the boat has gone back to Beezie's Island where the four Littons and Coleston are packing up the tent, ponchos and other accessories ...  I am waiting for the roadside service man to get my car engine going again, too. ,,,


While waiting, learned that ducks stand on one leg too :-)  Did they learn this from the gulls?


Eddie and the second crew are arriving back ...


Eddie about to jump on the jetty to moor up ...

He helps Coleston and the Littons ashore ...


We say our farewells to Eddie, and we say farewells to the Littons too. How I never got a pic of Eddie Litton this afternoon is a mystery ???

Just then the roadside service man appeared to get the car going, which he did in about 10 seconds ... so we were on our way home very soon.

I believe I prefer Lake Isle Of Innisfree to Beezies, but would love to be back on Beezie's again sometime next summer. I feel I really did not see and experience enough there. Its a much bigger island than what we may expect.