Sep 30: Beach time and Knock Shrine

I skipped a little of our evening yesterday as I was so caught up in my family business!

We had dinner at a nice restaurant near Croagh Patrick and the National Famine Monument. After dinner, we decided to pop in and have a look at the mountain to see if we felt it was something we could tackle. I was pleasantly surprised and touched to see a small shrine dedicated to Mary as she appeared at Medjugorje, the Queen of Peace. After spending some quiet time in reflexion with Mary, we took a few moments to look at the mountain and decided it is doable and something we’d both like to tackle. We’re just not sure when.

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Does anybody know what kind of tree this is?

Across the street is the National Famine monument – The Coffin Ship. If ever there was a monument or sculpture that captures the essence of the horrors of so many that endured or succumbed to the coffin ships, then this is it. I had read about how the sails were skeletons but reading something and seeing something with your own eyes… unbelievable!

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So, this morning after a nice sleep in and a leisurely morning breakfast, we decided that, with the sun shining, we should take full advantage and head over to the beach. We have a great view of the beach from our home but didn’t realize, until today, that it is a public beach. I just presumed it was owned by a local farmer as all I could see were his sheep and cattle roaming around. But this morning, while we were having breakfast, we could see someone kite surfing and Mom had a look through the telescope and saw cars parked there as well. So, after breaky, we headed over to the beach! What a beautiful day to be there! The wind had FINALLY died down (it’s been crazy windy here since we arrived) and the showers were intermittent. As we arrived, the surfer school was packing up for the day and the tide was out, way out! After a dozen or so pictures, I headed out in my trusty Keen sandals. Mom eventually had to take her shoes off so I joined her too. We had fun splashing around in the waves getting wet and just loving it! Until we noticed the waves getting closer to shore and our shoes!!!

We watched a rainbow kiss an island, waves kiss our shins and then we had our fill and were off – back to the house to dry off and drop off our collection of stones.

I decided it was high time I drove and proceeded to drive down the lane towards our cottage. It was much easier than I had anticipated and we arrived safely!  I’m glad I tried it but am OK with letting Mom do all the driving as she loves to drive and I love to hang out the window taking pictures. We’re a match made in Heaven! 😉

So, Knock is our destination along with a trip by the fjord on our way home. Lunch is packed and we’re off with dry feet (or perhaps somewhat dry feet but definitely sand free). We didn’t quite make it to Knock for lunch, but we decided to pull off the highway at a very quaint lunch spot beside some water. If I knew the name of the place I’d share but… It was a lovely spot with two picnic tables. We sat and ate our lunch watching the beauty around us. What’s amazing me most about this location in the west of Ireland is how we’re surrounded by mountains. Like we’re being cradled. I’m reminded of Granville Ferry in Nova Scotia. It looks very similar! Actually, a lot of this area reminds me of home – with the exception of the houses, stone fences and ocean of course! Not long and we’re back on the road and soon arriving in Knock.

I don’t know what I expected but this wasn’t it. I was disappointed by how commercial the site is. I think I would have preferred something smaller, something more, I don’t know maybe more real? If that makes any sense? I know in my heart I can connect with Mary, Jesus or anyone from the spirit world at any time, any place, but sometimes it’s nice to have that spot where they walked or where they appeared. Unfortunately it wasn’t that for me. It didn’t feel sacred. I felt some energy in the chapel but that was short lived. To be completely honest, I felt more energy from Mary as we prepared ourselves for our outing this morning, at home and again at the beach. I always say that my church is in nature and that is never more true that today!

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We stopped in at a gift store next door and met a lovely woman who worked there. She was a pleasure to be around. Afterward, we crossed the street and had a tea and piece of carrot cake (Oh My! What a treat and it was so very good!) On the way back to the parking lot we could hear a bird singing and it sounded a lot like our robins back home. An English lady had stopped near a tree, looking for the song bird and we chatted a little. As we neared the tree, Mom and I both looked for the source of the beautiful song and eventually we found it! The two sounds I miss most in the Autumn and Winter are the robins and the red-winged black birds so this was a real treat!

The drive home was great with lots of laughter. I’m always amazed and grateful at how well we get on! We were driving into Louisburgh as the sun began to set so, now that we know where the beach is, we headed straight there to watch it go down. I took more pictures and this time I took some video. I’m so grateful there was no wind and I finally have video of the sound of surf without the wind! I love playing videos like this over and over – it’s so meditative and inspiring, especially in mid-January and/or February!!!

 

We were confused by the checkered flags hanging on people’s homes and gates. A little research unveiled they are the colors of the sports teams (i.e. GAA). Mayo’s colors are red and green. The highway was littered  with placards wishing Mayo well against Dublin.

Notice the old ESSO sign above. There were even three gas pumps on the sidewalk. Not sure they’re still inservice but what a treat!

Tomorrow is our last full day in the Westport area. There are a few last minute things we’d like to do before we head further south.

Things I now know:

Driving on the left isn’t so bad!

I really really love Baileys, even more than before.

The Irish sure know how to make tea.

On a spiritual note:

On the way to the beach this morning, a white horse stood and watched me pass by. It was one of those surreal moments when the world stops for half a second and there is just you and him and you know there’s more to this than what meets the eye. Something special is going on and you’ve just been visited by spirit. I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened to me and it’s special.

Then we saw ten or more white swans. White swans, swimming near the beach… in Ireland. Not something I would have thought to see here…

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