David Robbins: Our rain-soaked search for a rural home from home
There are few things as depressing as a journey into the forgotten middle parts of Ireland on a dark, wet January morning.
The landscape is painted in a palette of greys and mud browns. Water puddles in the fields. Trees bend before the wind like old crones.
The part of north-east Clare that leads up into east Galway is not looking its best. The ground is poor, and much of it is planted with bedraggled forestry.