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reasons to love ireland

I’m in County Mayo visiting a friend. As we drive back towards Belmullet from Knock airport there’s a tug of war in the skies. Driving rain against blazing sun. And then the smudge of a rainbow. As if encouraged by the attention, it turns molten bright and arcs across the sky. A paler twin unwinds underneath. As welcomes go, it’s right up there.

mayo double rainbow

Last night it was drinks at John Jo’s down (or should I say…up) the road (…hill) with a handful of locals. As we ordered Guiness (half for me, no hairs on the chest just yet, splash of black to prove it) I hear murmers down the other end of the bar that the Air Ambulance has just flown in. My curiosity is nipped and I have to go and ask. The old boy says it’s for a man who’s just come in off one of the big trawlers. We have a chat about my accent and he tells me how he worked in Cambridge for a while. When I get my rounds in later, he’s been ursurped by a retired lighthouse keeper. We make easy conversation and end up bemoaning the decline of good radio. He tells me how he used to pass long hours on shift listening to the dramas on the BBC World Service. “Not like it used to be”. I have to agree. And wonder if I’m getting old.

This morning we set off to Erris Head under blue skies. It’s just so goddamn beautiful on the cliffs with the sky and sea and hills stretching out before you. As we tromp back through the bog to the car (mud all down one side where I stacked it fifteen steps into the walk, ‘mineral rich mud’ Damo assures me), a couple shout hello and point excitedly down to the bay. We join them as the fins of four dophins slice the water’s surface. Damo’s never seen bottlenoses here before. A welcome first. And he’s been here a lot (his job involves monitoring the Marine Mammal Population). So he snaps away until his camera battery dies two minutes later, and I idly consider if we’ve been lucky thanks to the fresh bird poop I slapped my hand into at trig point twenty minutes before. Might have to cover myself in mud and shit more often if this is what happens.

Back at the house it’s bacon sandwiches (“food of the Gods” according to Al Murray/Damo) and mugs of tea all round. Ireland and Scotland have just played he first match of the Six Nations and now it’s England Vs Scotland. Maybe I should be more bothered about this match, being Engligh n’all, but I’m a sucker for transferred enthusiasm. Not sure if that makes me fickle or empathetic but hey. I know a lot more about the game now than I did two hours ago. Not sure how annoying it is to be asked multiple questions as your country plays for the sake of their pride, but it worked for me.

Now we have steaming hot chocolate and a hot hot fire, spitting out sparks. Maybe smoked salmon chowder and glasses of wine a bit later. I’m not sure how tomorrow could be any better.

But we are in Ireland. So it’s possible.


One Comment Post a comment
  1. Aunt Ang #

    You are right Dawn Anything is Posssible in Ireland!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xx

    February 2, 2013

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