Looking out over the Cape Clear North harbor, its a foggy, misty kind of day, as it was yesterday. When I arrived here Friday afternoon- after having to dash for the ferry as the bus was running late- but made it-phew- it was mostly sunny and blue skies.
After arriving at my present digs- with an amazing view of the North Harbor, I wandered down around the small harbor, went to the store/restaurant and ordered some fries- known here as chips- and sat outside taking in the view. Later that night I went back to the store/restaurant and had pizza, as it was pizza night. It was really good.
That night I slept like a rock.
The next day I went for a bit of a walk and ended up taking one of the two walking loops they have here on the island. The Glen Loop walking trail, and am I ever glad I did. I had no idea the surprise I would be in for. As I walked up the trail, and some points a little bit of a scramble, I found myself on the top of the island, overlooking the Atlantic ocean, and could see the Fastnet lighthouse in the distance. It was beautiful, breathtaking and it was a wee bit windy. I just stretched out my arms, breathed it all in and reminded myself, I was really on Cape Clear Island, in Ireland!!!!
I walked through various types of vegetation, small gorse bushes, ferns, various grasses and the scenery was beautiful. At some points you could see where the ocean met the island as the waves crashed in. I eventually made my way back, I had been a bit turned around- you know my dyslexic brain and map reading- but got back, had a shower and then later went down the the pub for dinner.
I slept like a rock that night also.
Yesterday morning upon waking up, it was as it is today, foggy and misty, but not cold. I spoke to the host Mary, and she told me her husband says it was going to clear up a bit around noon, and he was right.
So around 1:00 pm I went for a walk on the other side of the island, and did walk -literately- to the other end of the island as once again I got turned around. I was looking for two neolithic upstanding stones, called the Marriage Stones. I had heard about these from my family doctor, and an acquaintance in Ontario, both whom have visited this island many times.
After taking the wrong road- well actually missing the road- then taking another wrong road- they all look like driveways here, ending up in the wrong muddy farmers field, I persevered and found the correct muddy farmers field. However, there was a gate with a “Beware of Bull ” sign- I didn’t see any bull. But being the polite Canadian that I am, I didn’t want to trespass on anyone’s property. So went back down that road, got back onto the main road and started walking back thinking there must be another way in.
Did I mention the killer hills that are on this island?
There was no other way so I said screw it, went back down to the field, found a way in and went to the stones. It was amazing standing there before them. There is a hole in one of these stones and it is said that when folks got married, or commit to each other they would hold hands through the hole . Also, the hole aligns exactly with a passage grave on the neighboring island, and during sunrise of the Summer Solstice the stone lines up exactly with the suns alignment. I will be here for the summer solstice. We will see if the sun shows itself.
It was amazing standing there, wondering who had stood there before, and the fact that I knew 2 people, who live 3000 miles away from each other in Canada,do not know each other, and they had indeed, stood before these very same stones.
Who had put these up, why, etc.? Of course being the person that I am, as I have done with my trip around Ireland, I kept touching the stones, feeling its texture, the crevasses, getting a feel for them, and the land they are on. Wondering how smooth they were when put up 5000 years ago. 5000 years ago…imagine, I’m touching something that was put up 5000 years ago. It still amazes me. And I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming!
After spending time there, having a drink and a snack it was time to head back to the North harbor. I took my time and just reveled in the moment.On the walk back I could see the hills I had climbed the day before were still enshrouded in fog and mist. I got back to my digs, another shower- you work up a sweat with these hills. and put band-aids on my blisters. I wore the wrong socks..that will teach me.
I then went down to the pub for dinner, had a glass or two of Guinness and met 4 lovely ladies who are staying in the yurts just down the road. And one of these ladies loves Orca’s, I mean who could blame her. Also, apparently there were Basking sharks in the south harbor that morning. So we talked of our adventures- they were kayaking in the South Harbor, I told them about my trip, and my adventures in trying to find the Marriage stones.
They asked where they were. I told them…”You go straight down that road with the killer hill over there, you keep going straight and you will see a peach/pink colored house, you don’t turn there..” and they all started laughing saying- ..”yep, you have been here long enough, your talking like us, your an honorary Irish now” I just laughed.
I love this island. Its another one of those magical places, that speaks to me and feed’s my soul. There is something about this place, I don’t know what it is, and I may never know, but there is something. I find it amazing how some places can have such a strong feeling for me, and its as if my ancestors are speaking to me, reassuring me I am not alone and that they know I am here.
I came on this trip for many reasons and one was because I wanted to return to a land I never been, and be in the place that has called my soul since I was a small child. I also wanted to honor my ancestors that gave me the genes to survive what I did, and to lay old ghosts to rest, the family legacy of pain that had been handed down for generations. I think I have been doing that and doing it well, with care, with love and with authenticity.
And when I have landed on those sacred spaces- as this island is and feels- its like the ancestors know, because as much as I’m giving them- hopefully peace and rest- they are giving back. They are helping me find who I am, giving me strength, and as the women on Inishmore told me…” your Irish is speaking and you are now rooted in the subsoil and being nourished.” That’s what this feels like. I am here on this island, with every fiber of my being receiving nourishment that it has been looking for all my life. And I know it will stay with me when I go back home.
I think of those two people I know back in Canada, who both mentioned this island, and both surprised when I mentioned I had been told to come here. It was then I knew I had to come. I’m so glad I followed my instincts, and so very grateful they pointed me this way. And my ancestors are happy they did also.
I am here for 5 more full days, I leave Saturday on the noon ferry. I have a few things planned but not much, and know I will go on many walks and visit the marriage stones a few more times. I also know the ancestors will speak to me in their own time, in their own way and I will honor them. I will sit, I will listen and I will learn.
In the meantime I think I will go and place a few pebbles from home in the harbor.
Thanks for contuiing to come along with me on this journey.
Suzy To learn more about this magical place here is a link