Murlough Nature Reserve

m31 @m31May 2019 · 4 min read

To continue with my I need to fucking unplug theme, we are visiting Murlough Nature Reserve, Ireland’s first nature reserve. When I think of nature reserves, my idea of them is almost no humans in close proximity and untouched, preserved nature. When I arrived in Murlough though, I was surprised to see endless rivers of people flowing through the wooden pathways, children, and dogs on leash. The day was particularly warm and sunny. Perhaps, the location not so far away from Newcastle city and Dundrum bay had something to do with so many people having the same idea of heading to the reserve.

So what’s so special here? Murlough is approximately 6,000 years old dune heath land system. The dunes were formed by storms that kept pushing the sand to the shore. Now... Can you imagine the force of the Irish sea and the wind that was able to create something like this? Nature forces can be quite brutal. We keep forgetting. In my lifetime I’ve witnessed only one storm, yet it has made a lasting impression on me and deep respect when it comes to the power of nature. I see it here as well.

The dunes are mostly covered with heath, grass, lichen, and hints of bright yellow gorse here and there. The more rare plants were hiding from me this time. Maybe my eyes needed more training before I came here or it was simply too early in the springtime. Each season has something different to offer. Timing is essential if you are expecting to see certain things.

Can someone help me to recognize this plant? It is not gorse for sure. It was a different tone of yellow, red stems and the leaves reminded me of a mistletoe? Only rare plant I spotted actually.

While I was wandering around the dunes I kept wondering where is all the wildlife? Obviously, before coming to Murlough, or anywhere for that matter, I love doing my research before. What is there to see? As I entered the reserve I was surprised to see a flock of ordinary cows and a goat. For natural grass control, I am sure. Not just plants were hiding from me, but creatures as well until I noticed strange little holes in the dune. Rabbit holes? That is where they are hiding. From all the floating human crowds, dogs and smoke of barbecue coming from the beach. Humans cause a lot of stress to animals which were here first. I was one of them and felt a bit ashamed.

Proof of a rabbit. Nature’s irony. Most beautiful flowers grow in shit!

Well, I did see one other creature other than a few ants. A butterfly! I exclaimed in excitement and grabbed for my camera to capture this rare sighting. Of course... it sat down on a piece of cow’s shit! My hands were shaking so hard, I apologize for the quality of this image. I was not able to stop giggling for a good while ^^’ Nature? What are you trying to tell me here?

End of May I am planning to hike Slieve Donard, highest mountain in Northern Ireland. Before coming to Murlough I wanted to practice my skills of landscape (I still suck aaa!) and painted this tiny watercolor of Donard using a reference that I realized later was taken from the reserve. So I took it with me for a bit of watercolor inception.  

Hope you enjoyed! I certainly did. Getting out there in the vastness instead of four walls is good for the mind.

Sources: Murlough Nature Reserve; The Murlough Nature Trail

Song of the day: AURORA - Soft Universe


Share this post

Written by


What a nice ride!

Places like these have the power to connect us with what's best in life.

m31 @m31May 2019

It was good for me to be out there. Whenever I notice myself having the hardest time, it is because I am in my thoughts too much and going out in the nature, looking around, looking further down the horizon is soothing. Perfect way to gain some clarity.


Reading how this was created by storms and wind force reminds of Doggerland. Have you heard about it?

It is a now submerged area beneath the sea. The location is between the UK, Denmark and Netherlands. Hard to imagine the UK was once connected to Europe by land.

Apparently the three Storegga Slides (underwater landslides) have caused a huge tsunami and sea levels rose up. This happened near Norway and it started the demise of Doggerland.

It happened back in the Mesolithic period, around 10 000 years ago, it's said that Doggerland remained an island until 5000 B.C. when it finally sunk below.

Many mammoth and lion remains have been found from the area, as well as human tools, weapons and other items. Its believed that it was highly populated with hunter-gatherer tribes, huge amounts of people. Some fled over to what is now Germany, but many died from the tsunami.

I didn't expected a watercolor painting at the end haha :D sweet!


It's beautiful. I love being 'out and about' and love seeing others the same way.

It truly is lovely country.

m31 @m31May 2019

It is indeed. At the moment it is as if someone spilled green color everywhere. Green explosion. Trees, grass, just everything! I love it. Nature is alive again and I feel more like home? Originally I am from Latvia. I am used to green and forests. Very calming.


Mei~ So beautiful! .... Somehow you captured a very Irish beauty with your photos, the rugged hills and the heath lands, and the colours of these landscapes and its plants and flowers * ___ * Oh wow, I don't think I would really ever see these places in real, but somehow I can experience them vicariously through your posts :D

I laughed when beautiful things seem to keep associating themselves with... ah, smelly things XD the flowers and the butterfly XD Hahahahah~ You are great with these little subtle commentaries, Mei :D

And that small watercolour piece looks so good ! * __ * I'm also learning (failing) watercolours so I understand the trepidation completely, but you should keep at it <3 I think you have a keen sense of understanding colour balance and that nuance that watercolours can create :)

Awesome post <3 A great way for me to start my Monday morning!

m31 @m31May 2019

Aaa! Thank you so much Spidey! ^^ Your support is much appreciated!

I've been waiting for nicer weather since last October. Winter here was quite harsh with scary winds howling against the mountains. It has something to do with the Atlantic ocean I think.

I am glad it made you laugh ahaha! I was chuckling the whole time writing and remembering this.

Since I began working full time again, it has been a bit of challenge to find energy or time, or both, but I am looking forward to end of this summer, because then I will have all the time in the world to paint morning til evening. For a while anyway.

Sometimes I am not sure if I am making progress or the opposite. Sometimes lack of inspiration or energy affects me quite a bit too.

Thank you so much again! <3


Oh yeah, I have heard that winters in the northern hemisphere countries can be really terrible! I hope your spring and summer will be awesome this year :D

Working full time does bulldoze the days, doesnt it? I feel tired every day myself, just sitting at the office from morning to night, it is the grind, the terrible, terrible grind :(

I hope you will have a great time at the end of summer to breathe a bit ! Having time just to wind down and be creative is a great and wonderful thing :D Even if it only lasts a little while...

I can totally relate about art improvement feelings, sometimes I feel like what's the point of it all because I won't get any better . __ . And yes, specially when inspiration and energy are lacking... aah ! But you should keep at it, Mei! As I said, I perceive that you have something inside you that most artists might not, that relationship with understanding the nuances of forms and colours...!

I'll nag you in a few weeks if I dont see anything creative??? Or if you hate that, let me know and I wont do it XD

m31 @m31May 2019

So sorry to hear about the office thing. I did that before for 3 years and it was so draining. Can only imagine. Hugs

Aww, thank you for saying that! Sometimes I just feel like I have absolutely no clue what I am doing, but I do anyways ahaha.

I actually would not mind some nagging about it at all. If you wish, you can do some good nagging! Aaa! ^^


That looks like my sort of place...Nature and few, (no) people! Looks like nice weather too, although was probably cool I’d imagine. I found this to be a very serene post, and pleasing too. 😊

m31 @m31May 2019

Down at the beach were quite many people and they were noisy too, but the dunes somehow kept the noise down as I wandered deeper into the reserve. Strange little world. Would want to go back there later, I am sure it would look a lot different from what I saw this time.

Thank you for reading and stopping by Galen!


Well, it looks like a nice spot and if it’s quiet despite people being there than that’s a win! Thanks for sharing.


Haha, well... I'm guessing that butterfly was thinking "If I sit here, maybe I won't get my photo taken." From what I can tell, Ireland doesn't seem to have a lot of wildlife, although I bet the bird varieties are pretty amazing. Plenty of sheep, too!

Nice photos.


very nice and great photography @m31


Hi there. Thanks for the upvote and I followed you, please follow me too so we can be friends here in Steemit community and keep in touch with each other. Thanks!


Congratulations! Your high-quality travel content was selected by @travelfeed curator @for91days and earned you a partial upvote. We love your hard work and hope to encourage you to continue to publish strong travel-related content.
Thank you for being part of the TravelFeed community!


Learn more about our travel project by clicking on the banner above and join our community on Discord.