“A lot of things catch the eye – fewer catch the heart”


I wrote this heading last Wednesday and had a general idea about what I was trying to express based on my experiences traveling to many places all over the world and the memory of them will stay with me forever. My own experience of this beautiful island is that; it catches my heart and fills my soul in a deeply personal way. I have met people all over the world and in the most unusual places and circumstances. Their lives have been so positively influenced and their sense of place in the world forever enhanced by the island.

Recently I had to go to the mainland to the funeral of my son’s Nana, who could only be described as a wonderful women of great fortitude, strength compassion and love. While it was very sad to say goodbye, there were two other events that as much part of my treasured memory as any sight I ever saw. Firstly, most parent’s and indeed children who part will know the feeling of being back together around a table – if there is such a thing as heaven on earth, for me, it has to be sitting with my 3 fine sons, witnessing the excellent young men they have grown up to be and watching them as they meet and deal with life’s challenges – every beat of my heart is for those three boy’s

Secondly, I know I should be, but I am never prepared for the sense of joy, freedom and happiness I feel as the ferry pulls out of the harbor at Ros a Mhil. I sat there last evening on the boat with my eyes closed, conscious of the engines speeding up as we went past the Cannon Rock listening to the Irish Language being spoken by neighbors on their way home from – school book buying trips, sports outings and six week prawn fishing trips. While I was on the mainland I wasn’t aware of the little muscles around my eyes and in my neck, but I could really feel them loosen up as the boat steamed south south west for home.

Without a phone call text or email I was met at the pier by my wonderful friend Mairtin. At his suggestion we decided to travel back West for a spin to where the sun would shortly set. As with a lot of old and valued friendships, there is a unique shorthand to them and very often, little needs to be said but a lot is understood. As we came down the hill towards Kilmurvey it was the three colours out in front of me that forced me to stop the jeep. Living out here I have developed the habit of stopping and soaking in these sights and moments. These colors in the post rain shower evening sun were; green dancing and swaying Maram grass, brilliant glistening white sands, the clear seductive turquoise sea.

Further back west with the shore in Bun Gabhla as our destination we came down past the most carefully built, varied and intricate stone walls in Ireland – the setting sun was throwing light back onto the limestone pavements which took on the most illuminous gray ever seen , with the light , the shadows , the setting sun , the two islands of An Oilean da Bhranog and An t-Oilean Aerach in front of us. If that experience didn’t fill my soul and touch my heart – nothing will.

Previous and indeed, future blogs will go into more detail about the physical beauty of my beloved island. The imagery of these two memories both caught my heart and have found a permanent spot in my memory;

More from my beloved Island soon.

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