The stillness of a meditating Hare

It's 10 years ago, our first night in the new house and I can't sleep for excitement.

It is such a quiet spot and all I can hear is the sound of the endless silence ringing in my ears. I can't stop myself listening and trying to hear something I can recognise. But in no time I am hearing things that are not there at all.

Almost dawn, still tossing and turning I jump up to see my new surroundings in the morning light. The tall summer grasses are waving in unison, the Comeragh Mountains to the west are slightly misted over and just beneath my window a doe Hare and three leverets are sitting on the gravel path, utterly peaceful and unaware of my gaze.

The stillness of a meditating Hare was something I had never seen. Usually they are loping through the fields, and they can run very fast with their long hind legs. Now I often observe them staring into space for long periods especially in the evening or early morning.

Whenever I get close, as with this youngster nibbling in the garden, I am reminded of my first night here. How in the early misty morning, the Hare family introduced me to the meditative stillness that would soon become home. The way that Mother Nature again made her presence felt in my life, and that moment when I began to re-learn how to stare into space........


......and just at that moment......

Special times come and go so fast. The one beautiful evening this summer. That last photo opportunity of the day. The final moments of the slithering sinking sun.

After a pet day on Rossbeigh Strand, that elusive sun is tracked until it's very last golden seconds of light. Lads stop playing football on the sand and have a few beers. A woman lingers at the water's edge of her evening swim, absorbed. Now the cameras of all shapes and sizes are lined up and at the ready.

It seems as if we all pause.....and just at that moment, there is so much love and gratitude for all of this, so much, I think I can feel it in the air..........


Alone with my thoughts


On a small strip of land between the sea and the wall of the house, this beautiful horse has been casually grazing. He is a constant presence and from the house can be seen peeping up over the stone wall, his dappled coat blending in perfectly with the misty landscape.

If ever an animal or a scene was conjured up to convey "a typical Irish landscape" then maybe this is it!

The neighbours feed him vegetables and he shyly takes everything he can get, soon going back to his strong silent pose just over the wall. 

His gaze follows my route back to the house, our bar-b-que, the evening swim, the Weather Forecast on TV. Through it all he is there, still curious, still watching, still negotiating that little strip of land he calls home.

I struggle with his isolation. I think about what he might be missing. But then I remember my own world, often alone with this camera and my thoughts. We look into each other's eyes, a small moment of shared experience.......


....and in no time I began to forget.....

There were 5 kinds of weather in that sky and the mist hanging over the mountains made the beach disappear in an endless haze. Sun filtered through from time to time and the surfing classes, picnics and family gatherings continued, in spite of sprinkles of rain, thickening fog or sand blowing.....

We could no longer resist a dip in the Atlantic. Balmy salt water and soft waves. An eery light that made the whole of Inch Beach look like an alien planet.

I let the sea water and the dramatic ocean bay of weather sweep over me. The silky sea, the cool sparkly dazzle, the dark mountains and those busy beings like so many ants, undertaking a thousand happy tasks.........and in no time, I began to forget.......


My typical Irish summer snaps.....

Well it wasn't a summer of sunny swims or shady meadow picnics. But in our typical Irish summer there were golden days in spite of that.

That's the thing about looking back, we somehow manage to find the sun in it. Like the day the little girl in pink wellies flew her kite on Tramore Beach, the day the neighbours' geese made a run for me, or the perishing Sunday I saw my elders swimming happily during howling gales in Garrarus.

The way the local girls exercise their ponies and manage to chat about Justin Bieber at the same time. Paddy's delight when he finds something lovely for me to photograph. The screams coming from the disembodied legs at the amusements "down around."

Those cloudy grey skies and the very occasionally visible western sunset which would have me running up to the highest point on the hill. The way that little pools of dreamy coloured rain settle in Hydrangea flowers.

Perhaps one of my favourite sights this summer was of the French couple snacking on the Copper Coast bench at Annestown beach. Wrapped up warm, a nice bottle of wine, a pint of Guinness and a selection of cheeses, all while staring into space and an onshore breeze.......A great example of what we would call "getting the best from the day." Here's to a few more weeks of the typical Irish summer!