It’s easy sometimes to let the time slip by. To let the days melt into one and let the seaons change without acknowledgement. It’s easy to forget how easy it is to find and explore the gentle, rugged beauty on our own doorstep. We often get stuck in uninspiring ruts that leave us feeling flat. To explore, walk, hike or cycle the Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland’s coast would always be my solution. However, far be it from me to offer advice – I’ll leave it to someone with far greater authority!
Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) was a Derryman, poet and nature-lover with an ability to put into words the unspoken beauty of Ireland’s landscape, its culture and its people. Descibed as a wordsmith, Heaney is best-known by Irish students for his heartbreaking poem “Mid Term Break” and for penning Ireland’s Most Loved Poem of the Last 100 Years; “When All The Others Were Away At Mass”. Notably, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”. So, when looking for someone to dish out advice on how to awaken your soul and inspire the mind, look no further.
Heaney tells us to explore one of the best kept secrets of Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way; The Flaggy Shore. This is an alluring, peaceful place – hidden from the masses of people – where the dividing lines between sea, sky and stone refuse to be drawn. Grey sky, grey rock, grey sea. ‘Postscript’ is one of his finest works, and leaves us with the simplest of advice…
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
So, to wander The Flaggy Shore, to uncover the secrets of the rock and its origin, to learn of the place’s connection to the White House in America, to find an area of true peace and calm, to cycle the Wild Atlantic Way’s hidden gem; get in touch.
Catch your heart off guard.
Blow it open.
– Enda (2016)
The West Awaits