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Ireland collecting trip, looking for advice from locals.

Posted by Jason Evans  
Jason Evans March 02, 2012 01:11AM
Hi, I am planning a holiday in Ireland, in June. I would like to collect minerals when I am there but I am limited where i can go as i cant drive so I have to rely on public transport. I have sent a few emails to people who I have noticed have a special interested in Irish minerals and they have helped me as much as they can but i still need more advice.
My plan is to fly into Dublin, I will probably do the touristy thing in the city for a few hours, i definitely want to visit the Guinness brewery and Jameson's distillery! then I plan to get a DART train to Kiliney, on the beach there I have seen that I could find Andalusite and a few others, plus some rock that's been deposited by glacier from an island called Ailsa craig of Scotland, it contains blue minerals which i think is Reibeckite.. although I am a little put of by the mention its popular with naturalists, that's not something i really want to see. I just hope they keep themselves covered up near me, wouldnt want them to get injured by any stray chips of rock that could be flying around if I'm hammering away at some boulder!
I have also spotted a few other localities i could look at, Ballycorus mine and blue light quarry, the only mineral listed there is Foitite and i have no idea on how common it is to find it so i might give that one a miss. Then I plan to head west to Galway and this is where it gets tricky for me as most of the localities are quite remote and not very well served by public transport, theres a place called Ardargh quarry which has a fairly decent list of minerals, thats an easy walk from a place called Maam cross which is served by a bus from Galway to Clifden. I have sent the owner of the quarry a email asking for permision to collect there but have not had a reply yet, although I only sent it this morning.
If i get a no, then i have a plan of getting a bus to Loughrea from Galway, then possibly a taxi to Tynagh although that will be quite expensive! i cant see any services running to Tynagh so the taxi may be my only option, but i need to know if its going to be worth it, it says its a micromounter paradise on the mindat description, I'm not a micromounter but i collect thumbnails, is it still a place worth looking for thumbnail specimens, and are they likely to give me permission to collect there? Time depending i would like to have a look for gold eitther at Kilgeever abbey which i should be able to get a bus somewhere near there from Westport, there is also Croagh patrick nearby as well. finnaly i had thought about heading to Keem on Achil island to look for Amethyst, Amethyst has always been one of my favorite minerals, its really the mineral that first got me into mineral collecting in the first place because i really liked the colour, so i would love to find some but I am not so sure that i can do that as i cannot find any bus that runs there from Westport and that is to far for a taxi, plus i have a feeling all the Amethyst has probably been collected now anyway.
So if anyone has any info on the localities i have mentioned, if they happen to know any bus services that stop nearby or even if its worth looking at those locations I would be very happy for any info you can give.

Alfredo Petrov March 02, 2012 02:09AM
Jason, would renting a bicycle be a good alternative to expensive taxis? If it's feasible, you'd save money, be able to quickly stop anywhere that looks interesting, and probably get a better reception from ordinary locals than a "rich" tourist arriving by taxi would. (Just brainstorming here - I've never ridden a bicycle in Ireland myself, so I might be all wet. wait... you will be all wet :-)
Stephanie Martin March 02, 2012 07:05AM
Jason, if you haven't already contacted him, try sending a pm to Trevor Boyd. He would at least know the zeolite locations.

stephanie :-)
Jason Evans March 02, 2012 11:36AM
Alfredo, the cycle thing has been mentioned before and its a good idea. I enjoy cycling and i know i can do at least 40 miles in a day (20 miles there and back) trouble is where i live the terrain is relatively flat, i think Ireland might be a different story and I am no Lance armstrong! even the few hills i encounter on my rides really take it out of me, so the hills/mountains in Ireland would kill me. I am also not sure where i can hire bikes from but if i can find a place that hires them thats just a few miles away from where I would like to look then its an idea worth keeping in mind.
Thanks Stephanie for your suggestion, i think however there are no zeolites near where I will be going.
I was quite depressed reading through all the localities near where I am going, most of the info on them is not encouraging, like they've been bulldozed over, they are over grown, no longer accessible, or just over collected so nothing left to find.
But the Tynagh mine does look a bit more positive, even though it says the best areas are covered over now, it does say its still a micromounters paradise, although i dont know when that was written, maybe thats not the case now. As long as i can find stuff that i can see with my 10x loupe I'll be happy. I think some of the reports that say its dissapointing for specimens might really be saying if you want showy specimens dont bother, thats not the case for me, ide be happy finding some tiny grains or crystals, just to be able to say i collected it myself would make me very happy indeed! I am fed up with having to pick up lumps of calcite of the path in the local woods just to satisfy my mineral collecting desires. I have also taken to picking up lumps of railway ballast from the kiddies mini railway near me i keep finding this rock with green and pink minerals in and it interests me! (i think its a mix of epidote, possibly hornblende and pink feldspar)
Colleen Thomson March 03, 2012 09:06PM
Jason - you need to speak to Stephen Moreton or Barry.
actually, I might be seeing Stephen tomorrow, so if I get time I could ask him to email you. he would ceratinly know where you could collect and what is still accessable. The last I heard Tynagh was even hard work producing micros as the pit is now filled in. please also be aware (as mentioned on FB) that the locals don't take kindly to people hammering the outcrops on Croagh Patrick - it is patrolled by Rangers and the Garda (police)
thjat said, the people are usually very warm and welcoming. :-)
good luck with your irish adventure!

cheers, Colleen
Jason Evans March 03, 2012 10:47PM
Thanks Colleen, I have been in contact with Stephen and Barry, they were very helpful but not really able to give me any specific info on the localities i was thinking of checking, although i did find out that the gold occurence at the carpark of Kilgeever abbey is rife with ticks so i'll be on the look out for those! on a more positive not I have managed to secure permision from the owner of Adragh quarry to look for minerals. That's not good news about Tynagh, still it gives me more time to look for gold! (not that im only interested in finding gold) but it would be nice if i found some!
I have a feeling that I'm not going to find many minerals but Ireland is a lovely country and I've always wanted to go there so I will still enjoy my holiday just enjoying the scenery. My plans are still not finalized yet and i have a back up plan if i think the mineral collecting wont be to successful, that is to have less time in Ireland and instead use the money i save to go to Cornwall where i think my chances of finding minerals will be far greater.
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