Wednesday, December 2, 2009

THE MAGIC AND SADNESS OF HEAVENLY CONNEMARA

View from the cottage - Diamond Hill and Twelve Pins

Wrote most of this blog two weeks ago, upon my return from Connemara. Finally getting to publish today, because pics take so long to upload etc. You've heard my lamentations before...so won't bore. Spent a few days in Chester with my friend, Diane, who I'm glad to say is recovering well following her breast reconstruction surgery...and its looking good!

Ross Point Cottage

Landed back in Tipperary yesterday for my drama classes at 4pm, feeling more refreshed and relaxed than I have felt after two weeks away in the sensual sunshine of Greece. Arrived at Ross Point Cottage, Connemara last Thursday night in the darkness, following a detour through Loughrea and three painfully slow sets of traffic lights heading into Clifden, where there is serious widening of the road going on. Heated up stew and lit a peat fire (oh the smell, if you could only bottle it...the peat of the west has a pungency all of its own!) The bed was not that comfortable and had forgotten my pillow... but did I sleep! I didn't put on my alarm once. Motto 'I get up when I wake up'... most unusual for me ...normally in a huge panic to squeeze as much as possible into one day.


'Stoned'

Anyway, waking up that first morning was like waking up on Christmas morning to a blanket of virgin snow. Indescribably beautiful...breathtaking...water everywhere. The cottage is on a farm at the end of a dirt track road bordered by yellow gorse (surprisingly in bloom...obviously a time for kissing...an old saying!) with its own private beach.


'A Time for Kissing'

The silence was stunning! I had never ever heard such silence. I wondered if I yelled to someone living across the inlet, would they hear me? I sang a line from an aria very loudly and heard it echoing to my right...I think it hit Diamond Hill and then headed towards Moyard and beyond. Who knows where an echo ends...anymore than the end of a rainbow.


'Don't you dare!'

Surprisingly, the weather for the few days, was surprisingly clement. Friday was a little cold and wet...so hats, scarves, wellies and gloves required, but Saturday was kissed with glorious sunshine and light. Bikes came out and beaches were combed.


Primary colours

Sunday was Innisboffin Island day...weather looked dodgy. Armed with bikes and 'last minute thought- flask and sandwiches'. Ferry arrived at 12 and wasn't returning until 4pm. It was cold, raining and desolate! There were houses... no bodies. Where was everyone? Cycled all over the island... sun came out...discovered a beach that resembled a tropical one from a Seychelles holiday brochure. Climbed down to it...ate...drank... played.


Tony - Chris Bonnington look-a-like?

Saw a man on a bicycle, 5 or 6 pollock hanging from his handlebars. I chatted to him. Told me he used spratt as bait; that he had caught enough to keep him and his sheepdog, who ran alongside the bike, for a week. He was extremely pleasant with a healthy sea-crisped face. Arriving back at the ferry, wheeling bikes, humans appeared like a waterfall from nowhere onto the quayside. Suddenly back in the land of the living! Upon arrival in Cleggan, these young people, students, I'm surmising, called into the only shop to grab lucozades and crisps for their mini-bus trip back to Galway. By this time it was growing dark and they were facing a two hour journey...poor things. I hadn't felt the cold all day, even on the ferry, but Cleggan was something else! Twenty minutes later I was sitting beside a turf fire eating hot chilli!


'Reflecting'
Unaware that Letterfrack was so close... it came as a complete surprise, around a bend, whilst looking for a shop that sold cigarettes and milk. It felt strange... weird...couldn't wait to get out of there. Didn't have any preconditioned thoughts about the place, even though the name had been so heavily associated with the recent Ryan Report. It took me some time to work out what I was picking up on. It wasn't as if I even spoke to any of the locals there. The whole place seems to be in mourning... mourning for the cries of help that the mountains and the ocean heard, but which humans chose NOT to hear! The Atlantic ocean of the Western seaboard has taken many fishermens' lives, sometimes annihilating whole families. This was something else however...this was man doing evil unto child, as opposed to man dying in his attempts to survive alongside but sometimes against the laws of nature. The fact that the rape and pillage of innocence was hidden and categorically denied for so long has compounded this tragedy beyond description. The Pope's condemnation comes a little too late and doesn't go far enough I'm afraid. Vatican representative, Federico Lombardy's failure to join in the call for the resignation of the five bishops from Dublin is yet another slap in the face for the victims. The victims, destined to remain children dressed in adult bodies, have never been told 'why' those dreadful atrocities happened to them.
Connemara is exquisitely beautiful and my very favourite part of Ireland. I hate to see this great wonder of the world laden with such a silent, but deafening sadness. That its divergent landscape will whistle and sing again soon will happen, most likely, when genuine retribution has been made for the greatest sin of them all... the abuse of vulnerable, innocent children!
All Cries Will Be Answered
Is that a ewe or a madman on the hill?
One rending cry leaves me wondering
As wind plays soft rushes of exhalation
And streams pulse splashy exhortation

I open...to compelling calls of black faced sheep
Who beckon tight curled lambs with budding horns
Their wind tossed heads raised from verdant turf
They summon their charges close with cries forlorn

No eagles nest on Letter Hill
Tiny swifts no longer watch the fearful sky
But flick on the wind in midgeing flight
Warmed by early summer sun.

A presence here in every exhalation
As sound and silence carry me to new exaltation
Down the valley, down the valley, sweeps the wind still
And all cries will be answered, even the madman's on the hill.

(Written by Lyle McElderry about Connemara.)

One of the trees outside cottage 'moon-kissed'

Same tree... 'twilighted'
Didn't get to see any dolphins in the ocean, but got to see three in the sky.



Thank you Connemara for having me to stay!



Same trees - 'sunlit', myself and five swans- a-swimming!

1 comment:

Christopher Kelly said...

Brilliant photo Maureen!