I was on the road earlier to the Inagh Valley a couple of weeks ago. I was in no rush, and not just because the roads were covered with ice and recently fallen hail. I was also on the lookout for places to pull in and take the odd picture or two, and there is no point in rushing to do that. In the end, it wouldn’t have mattered how much of a hurry I was in, because I found myself stuck behind a tractor and trailer, trundling at about 30kph towards Maam Cross. The vehicle was carrying hay for the market that takes place on Saturdays at the eponymous cross roads. Though the roads and countryside were otherwise deserted, I was surprised, when I passed through Maam Cross around 7am, to see several trailers of hay being unloaded and even a mobile chipper van being set up – all under the stars of pre-dawn Saturday morning. Last summer was good for farmers – some were able to harvest three crops of silage from their lands, and the task of ’saving’ hay was made easier by long stretches of dry, sunny days. Thus, the hay on sale this winter is of the best type – hay that was saved without rain.
The picture above was taken near Maam Cross – at the entrance of the Derroura mountain bike track, at around 6.45am. Apart from a little cloud over the city of Galway (illuminated by streetlights – hence the orange colour), the sky was otherwise clear. As is typical for early on Saturday morning, there was a constant stream of jets flying overhead heading towards European airports after overnight Atlantic flights (the white streak in the middle of the picture is that of jet lights taken during a long exposure photo). As for the potholes visible in the bottom the picture, the road isn’t really that bad – most of the puddles are on the gravel area on the side of the road.