Bog Heather in the Mist ©John O’Grady

8″ x 16″ x 1.75″ oil on deep edge canvas, ready to hang
Not for Sale (NFS)

It’s the time of year when bog heather covers the Wicklow mountains in a swathe of colour.

I travelled through these mountains most weeks, each season bringing out its own fabulous display, the bog’s rich deep browns mingled with the blond bog grasses swaying in the wind among the pink purple heather plants.

Once, I took a group of people to go and look at the heather on Sally Gap.

The day started off perfectly.

A bright blue sky accompanied us as we drove up the mountains but as we reached the broad open expanse of bogland, the mist closed in and the rain started lashing down.

An eerie atmosphere enclosed the van with headlights on full beam, I was driving at about 30 miles an hour on a winding small road that doesn’t allow two cars to pass.

I carried on for many miles like this. Then suddenly, the light found a way through a chink in the clouds and little by little, the clouds parted.

It was still raining but now, the sunshine was illuminating the distant hills and bringing hope for a better day.

One of my passengers, an insistent character, told me he had come to take photographs of the heather and asked me when was I going to stop.

I said it was still raining and he replied, ‘not much now’.

So I stopped and as if on cue, the rain almost did too.

I leaned across, opened the sliding door and the photographer started getting ready to immortalise the veils of mist and rain falling against the beautiful sunlit backdrop.

He sat on the edge of his seat and leaned out of the van positioning himself for the shot.

As he lifted the camera, a gust of wind along with a torrential horizontal rain blew straight in on top of the poor unfortunate.

Such are the trials and tribulations of a day out in the Wicklow mountains.

This painting is a memory of this experience with the elements.

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