On our recent trip to Ireland we visited a beautiful tranquil place in West Cork called Gougane Barra. We were greeted by sprawling mountains that towered over a breathtaking lake with a solitary chapel. The chapel or as it is formally called, St. Finbarr’s Oratory, was reflected in the calm waters of the majestic lake. An old Irish tale tells the story of how St. Finbarr was led by an angel from the source of the River Lee in the mountains of Gougane Barra to the river’s mouth in Cork City where he built his monastery, St. Finbarr’s cathedral.
Gougane Barra is also home to Ireland’s first National Park which is hidden back beyond the lake. Enchanting forest trees line the entrance to the park and there are a variety of trails that lead visitors to amazing views.
The forest is also home to some of Ireland’s local wildlife including badgers, foxes, and more. Birders can also spot robins, wrens, and array of others birds. You may even spot a heron!
One of the nice things about the trails is that you have a choice of either hiking or driving. We decided to drive along one of the scenic routes as the forest is quite large and we had our children with us. After visiting the forest we headed back to the lake.
It was so picturesque and peaceful that I took time to sit and enjoy the view. I grew up in Ireland but had never visited Gougane Barra. I wondered why I had never been to this beautiful place before now? Then I thought about it and realized that I am at a stage of my life now where I can appreciate a place like Gougane Barra. I believe that God puts you in the right place at the right time. This was just the right time… and I took a moment to enjoy it!