The Mysterious Cuckoo and Spring in Ireland

The Mysterious Cuckoo

The first time I heard the mysterious cuckoo it was May. I was exploring the scenic route between Finney, County Mayo and Clonbur, County Galway near Lough Mask. I was intrigued because my partner, Bill, loves cuckoo clocks and several hung in our home in New Jersey. But this was the first time I'd ever heard an actual cuckoo's call.

The Cuckoo Summers in Ireland

The cuckoo arrives in Ireland from its winter home in Africa during the late spring and typically departs the Emerald Isle in August. Although, I’ve been told by some of our neighbors in County Mayo that the best months to hear the cuckoo is between April and June.

Not Everyone Hears the Cuckoo

I have heard the cuckoo many times since that first discovery, many, many years ago, along Lough Mask. If I happened to be in Ireland during the spring season, I’d purposely listen for the bird's call whenever I walked along Barney Road in French Hill, Castlebar. If I were lucky enough to hear the call, I got a great sense of joy…not everyone hears the cuckoo.

Very Few Ever See the Cuckoo

And, very few, have ever seen the reclusive cuckoo. The cuckoo usually looks for open country side and stands of trees where the cuach (Gaelic for cuckoo), can remain secluded just below the tops of the trees until it is time to roam the globe again.

Early morning image of several sheep in a field on Barney Road, French Hill, Castlebar, County Mayo.
Sheep in a neighbor's field on Barney Road, County Mayo. (Consolation prize for not getting to see a cuckoo).

Mysterious, isn't it?

Have you heard the cuckoo? And, if so, where were you when you heard these first sounds of spring in Ireland?

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