We head out west where the roads are small and everything takes time. We arrive in the rain of course and the van winds across the mountains of Connemara as we aim for Killary Harbour. The family are gathering with a small Swedish Grandnephew as the centre of it all. He is a smiling bundle of energy with a thing for household and domestic implements: saucepans, sweeping brushes and spoons.
The dark skies change by the minute. There is rain, there will be rain, there has been rain; outbreaks, showers, drizzle and driving varieties. Killary is a fjord separating two counties with a sliver of deep Atlantic. We stop at the meeting point in Leenane where they made the film of The Field. You can see here can’t you, that I’m on the Galway side and Himself is in Mayo.
In the waterside house my sister has taken for a couple of weeks the cousins are avoiding midges and planning fishing trips. When the light turns to summer, the huge sky opens up to the west, next stop Boston as they say. And although there will be crab sandwiches and glasses of Guinness the big draw here, is the landscape.
I kept thinking of John O Donohue from the On Being interview transcript something I keep close. He grew up in the Burren not too far from here.
“Well, I think it makes a huge difference when you wake in the morning and come out of your house. Whether you believe you are walking into dead geographical location, which is used to get to a destination, or whether you are emerging out into a landscape that is just as much, if not more, alive as you but in a totally different form. And if you go towards it with an open heart and a real watchful reverence, that you will be absolutely amazed at what it will reveal to you. And I think that that was one of the recognitions of the Celtic imagination: that landscape wasn’t just matter, but that it was actually alive. What amazes me about landscape, landscape recalls you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude, and silence where you can truly receive time.”