? Aill na Searrach in the background…..
I was in Clare for the weekend; in Doolin to be exact about it. The sudden blast of warmer weather and sunshine had a paradoxical effect on this part of the coast, so the day was was smudged in a sea fog for much of Saturday into Sunday, while, apparently most of the rest of the country experienced uncharacteristically hot, warm sunny weather. I’d be lying if I said I minded. I didn’t. I love this part of the world in any case.
On Saturday, I hung out among the wildflowers growing in the cracks of the spectacular limestone pavement of the quay for a few hours just watching the ocean and spotting the local dolphin mosey about. Dingle started that oul lark with ‘Fungi’…… now they’re all at it. Tory has a dolphin, Fanore has a dolphin and, Doolin also has a dolphin…….. that’d be Dusty the dolphin to you by the way. I don’t know if Dusty is on the payroll of the tourist board, but maybe she ought to be. Maybe they all are. Dolphins make the people happy and are just a bit thrilling, smiling and altogether captivating.
I took the boat trip out to the Cliffs of Moher. There was a bit of a swell and, perversely enough, I like that too, though I felt sorry for the people who were ill. I did not feel sorry for those who turned up in stilettos and high wedged shoes. I was grateful for the entertainment value and the incongruence; a high heel on the functional stainless steel of a ferry is asking for trouble at the best of times, let alone out at sea….. on a roll, as it were. Don’t be too proud to take a seat, or go barefoot.
The scale and presence of the cliffs are impressive. To view them from the sea creates a whole different sensation of perspective and how I respond to them. I noticed I was in reverie thinking of how they were formed and how the acoustic changes the closer you get. I noticed the sea is amplified. The sound of sea birds is urgent, rowdy and competitive. Look up by all means, but don’t be too carried away with awe – there’s a lot of guano in the air.
On Sunday, the sea fog persisted until noon or later. Trotting to the cliff edge in fog turned out to be an interesting experience and was worth it to take the time to sit a while. The experience was one of really being in a liminal space. 30 meters back the acoustic was of larks and bird song. A few people were there – a photographer, a surfie, an occasional hill walker. The sounds of surfers drifted up from the surface of the sea. The mist and fog changed constantly in density, sometimes revealing glimpses of the sea, and wave patterns, points of resistance where the water met the rocks. It was treacherous and mesmerising. The horizon also appeared, merged, smudged, and defined itself, like a work in progress. The Aran Islands looked like cloud formations sometimes. At other times they disappeared entirely. The visual trickery was compelling.