I arrive a day or two ahead of Mr. Zany Mountain to the western edge of Kerry. Still with city dust and rush in my system. It’s all there, the joy as we round the last bend to Ballyferriter, the excited children, the familiar tug of the heart. The Kingdom of Kerry puts her best mantle on to welcome us-the sky is endless, cornflower blue. The sea is turquoise and silver, the Blasket Islands-the two clearly visible from the cottage are shaded in gold; so close you can see the ridges and spires. Stand for a moment in Ceann Sibéal on such a day and the very earth, the very universe itself shimmers in magical folds around you.
Something has happened me lately, an internal shift. I didn’t go outdoors for most of spring, I couldn’t write a word. I was tired. Tired of the work, the carrying and fetching, other people, problems out of my control. I was tired of myself, if the truth be told. I had the pallor of it-my skin as pale as a ghost.
On our first days there, there is a heat wave. We stretch outside the cottage, books, wine, sun hats, soaking all that good Vitamin D. I feel like a cat, stretching and snoozing in the heavenly still air.
And all the while as I lazily sit outside the cottage in my left ear, the islands throb with a pulse of their own. Calling, whispering, with an unexplained energy.
The two islands visible from Ceann Sibéal are Inis Tuaisceart and An Tiaracht. Sometimes they are so close that you can trace them with fingertips, sometimes they are so forbidding and cold, sometimes they are not even there, in times of evening haze or morning mist. You can only see the edge of Great Blasket (An Blascaod Mór) the largest, almost hulking island from that particular point, as the little cove outside the cottage (known as Ferriter’s Cove) is sheltered by Clogher Head-a climb worth taking, because that is a vision of heaven where you can see all the islands together. Truly!
I don’t know if I have some kind of spiritual renewal or awakening here, but something gradually creaks open in my soul. I am not religious in the conventional sense, but I believe in human connection, nature, love and the universe. And in my tired, depressed and weary heart, everything flows here in this place to fill in the empty cracks. I see it in the evening murmuration of sparrows, exotic insects, the rainbow of wildflowers. I pass strangers and we stop and warmly chat. I light a candle in a stony church, praying for something to be found, I expect nothing of it, only to turn right and see a stained glass image of Naomh Antaine (St. Anthony, patron of lost things). I laugh and walk and eat and sleep the sleep of the dead. I cry.
On my last day in Ceann Sibéal, I feel restless again. Myself and Mr. ZM take the final circuitous route from Dingle via Ventry to Ballyferriter. I need to say goodbye to the Islands, I tell him. We stop at the view with the knowing seagulls and we don’t speak, soaking it all in for one final time. I send intentions to An Bhlascaod Mór for a happier outcome to a problem. I cry warm tears behind my sunglasses as Mr ZM squeezes my hand.
It’s the last day and I pause one last time before the long journey east.. I send a final intention to the Islands. For once they answer back in the breeze and in the cries of gulls. I know what the answer is now.
It’s a message of healing.
Til next time,