I decided to embrace the rhythm of the island and sleep with the curtains open. The sunrise either crept in stealthily or else I was just nicely tired from the fresh air . But either way it was bright as I set off to cycle east in the early morning sunlight. Galway Bay was twinkling and shimmering as I cycled silently through the morning.
Having recently brought one of my children to the airport leaving on his way to meet the new challenges and adventures of his life – his heart full of hope, mine silently breaking . I decided to put off my usual pilgrimage to the Glasson Rocks at the the eastern end of my beloved island and decided as I climbed upwards towards Túr Mháirtín sitting proudly keeping a vigil over the beautiful Gregory Sound between Inis Mór and Inis Meáin that I wanted instead to stop at Gleann Na Ndeor . The valley of the tears.
This is a stunningly beautiful and rugged clifftop area between Túr Mháirtín and the Glasson Rocks. So named because many many years ago when the islanders took the emigration ship from Galway to the new world, the ships very often sheltered in the same Gregory Sound awaiting favorable weather.
One of the outcomes of this was that the islanders relatives and family could go this clifftop perch and could see , call out to, beseech, but not touch or embrace their loved ones on board the America bound ship. This was a heartbreaking form of land to sea emigration wake . So close and yet so far.
Strangely enough, I found myself thinking a lot about the islanders on the boat and how i believed and hoped that their unique and pioneering island spirit had driven them on to a new, happy and fulfilling life. The potent mix of this beautiful place on the edge of an island off an island, add in the history of this unique vantage point- It is impossible not to be touched by the physical beauty and impacted by the emotion of this special clifftop place. More from my beloved island soon.