Clare Island Adventures….

Jun 25, 2022

The following is true, except for the parts that aren’t : ) As part of my writing experience in Ireland, this is from: “Enter the day Writing: June 17, 2022.” And updated on 8/31/22.

CLARE ISLAND

During the night, the clouds pulled in wet and tight. The occasional sound of tires bumping along the narrow rocky road can be heard clearing one water-filled pot-hole after another. The splash thankfully disrupts the trance inducing heartbeat as each wave meets the shore… the very one that drifts through my open bedroom window at the Granuaile B&B.

A nearly irresistible undertow, it is. If it weren’t for occasional splashing and school children laughing on their way… a person could surely get lost in thought – never to be found again. I’m certain there’s an Irish legend about a maiden that becomes one with the sea, like the selkies shedding their seal-selves to explore being human – only the other way around. As it is story that has kept the Irish alive. And music. And as you’ll discover if you visit, the Irish breakfast.

Like at home, sometimes rain can be exactly what you need to collect yourself. My head is full – and a smidge un-moored at the moment. Cutting ties, relinquishing tethers, tearing out seams that seemed to matter – until they didn’t.

Turning over the comment by the intuitive told before I left, “You won’t come back, you know,” said so matter-of-factly … which I can only interpret to mean, “You won’t come back the same.” If I keep eating salmon-ladened fish chowder with well-buttered bread by mid-afternoon, chubbier would be one difference I can presently predict. Because you see, no one escapes the offering of a full Irish breakfast – tailor made for the famished, the hard-working, guaranteed to ward off a day’s worth of cold and rain – skillet fried eggs, bacon, sausage, two kinds of savory pudding, potatoes and a hint of tomato can be found somewhere on each plate.

A Pirate Tale

This tiny fishing village on the ferry landing lulls a traveler back in time with history lingering on doorsteps and villagers’ faces and fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. Today’s legend is staying at Mary’s Sea Breeze B&B up the road. The smiling shark painted on the bow of the fiery red, seafaring sailboat dwarfs the more traditional fishing boats – lording over the small harbor – and that’s where the story begins of a professional sailor rescued from the Atlantic when he lost power and connection for two days at sea bringing newsworthy fame to this tiny island community.

Leathered brown skin, inked up arms and fully-unruly hair bleached by both salt and sea, we sat with a pint and chowder while he wrestled and coughed out a tale. “You can’t fight with the sea; she always wins.” Uncertain of what to do without navigation the story goes, he was hoping to find his way out of the dilemma by taking a nap when after two days the rescue team arrived to drag him to Clare Island for safety. Appreciation and disappointment intertwined with the telling as he brought us through to present moment, “The people here have been so generous…and, damn, I was in the lead!”

Who enters a sailboat race across the Atlantic – from England to Rhode Island? Neil does. A professional sailor, still wearing a hint of pirate past-life in his shadow…anxious to repair the ropes and be gone again.

Oh, the stories that feed our souls! And the moments of courage that can’t be undone like…

The simple act of wondering into an unfamiliar pub

Far away from home

On a sleepy island nestled in the wild Atlantic

Only to invite a total stranger to share your table

And listen to his death-defying adventures

Over a cup of chowder and a pint,

Soaking up a remarkable story….

A fascinating encounter, it was.

I hardly recognize myself!

Perhaps not unusual for you…

Fully out of character, for me.

It’s in Ireland, you see, that storytelling strides alongside traditions of song, poem and prose. Inspiration resounds from the pubs’ wooden floors and shared pints, springs from the rolling green hills that stretch over horizon to sea, echoes from the endless stone walls built out of hunger and determination. Lyrics knit together communities…words, arranged like beautiful Celtic knots, thread through each generation into the next.

And you’ll discover if you visit, this, the Irish spirit.

The intuitive was right. Between the chowder, the people, the stories, and the writing, I won’t be coming back…

The same.

For more details, read the Mayo County News story of Neil’s rescue.

 

 

Pie Crust
Be Dragonfly

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your writing and for letting us join you (and Peppa) on your journey. Ernest Hemingway would have liked knowing you.

    Reply
    • Roxanne… TY for taking the time to read. It’s a new adventure for sure!!

      Reply

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