From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Frank Cawley
Castlecarra Lough Carra April 2006
By Frank Cawley
6, May 2006 - 02:23

The highbrow name for this cove is the Castlecarra basin. To me its the place where you can wade out gently through the sand until you find enough water to make the final plunge. The water here is crystal clear, which is surprising when you consider the intensive agriculture that takes place close to the lakeshore. The air on the other hand is thick with the dreaded midges. I only saw two swallows there in April, I hope more of them come soon because the flies in Castlecarra are fierce enough to drive a convict from a brothel.

These are some pictures I took of Lough Carra during the middle of April 2006.  For some strange reason the weather seems to always be good around Easter.  Castlecarra itself is in my opinion one of the best places in the world to go for a swim.  There is a soft green sand bottom.  The water is an ideal depth, so you don’t lose your life to the cold when you dive in.  There are plenty of caverns and underground limestone coves, great sport for the keen diver, but ball-breakingly cold for the novice junior whose only equipment and protection from the cold, is a pair of St Bernard jocks and an old pair of goggles that were swiped from the lost and found section of the Castlebar piscine.  I know men that were brave enough to chance a dip in early April almost a decade ago, and they say it wasn’t that bad.

This is the full view of what must once have been a magnificent castle. The castle was original built in the 13th Century by one of the first of our English friends to make their home in the West of Ireland. Adam Staunton, an Anglo Norman from Warwickshire was allowed build this castle by De Burgo the then Chief of Connaught. It stands on the Eastern shore of Lough Carra on a small peninsula that juts out into the lake. Its very well protected from all sides, so Im guessing Adam De Staundun was probably not a regular drinking pints with the locals in Carnacon. The Stauntons and indeed the DeBurgos aka the Bourkes still live in abundance in the surrounding lands. Some of the Bourkes went on to conquer the field of software testing primarily in the telecommunications sector, and the Stauntons took over the sports and leisure retail trade, ensuring that all citizens would be entitled to a decent pair of togs for a swim in the local waters.

This picture in black and white should give you an idea of how clean and clear the water is. Lough Carra itself is a limestone lake, and you can see the limestone rocks broken into cracks beneath Lucy the dogs feet, making some interesting refractions and reflections of light in the real picture.

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