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'This small corner of the world continues to inspire me' - Ecologist and writer Pádraic Fogarty’s hopes and fears for Connemara

Writer and ecologist Pádraic Fogarty finds solace and hope along the bóithríns and shores of Connemara

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A patchwork of fields overlooks the sea at Ros a Mhíl

A patchwork of fields overlooks the sea at Ros a Mhíl

Pockets of Connemara retain their natural character

Pockets of Connemara retain their natural character

Pádraic Fogarty switched careers after a trip to Galway. Photo: Frank McGrath

Pádraic Fogarty switched careers after a trip to Galway. Photo: Frank McGrath

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A patchwork of fields overlooks the sea at Ros a Mhíl

It's over 20 years since I stood up to my knees in the sea off Furbo, Co Galway and stared at the tiny silvery fish weaving their way over the sandy bottom. The water was so clear that day it looked like it wasn't even there. The small shoal of fish swam around my legs and the summer sun cast their shadows on the dusky sea floor.

I've always had a love of nature but my interest has not always matched my knowledge. At that time I worked for a pharmaceutical company, my dream of being a zoologist had not progressed beyond secondary school, and the passions of my early 20s did not venture much further than partying and travelling the world. As I watched the fish I had no clue what they were called but I was seized by curiosity: what else was swimming around out there in the crystal depths?


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