After an uncomfortable night in Galway (for many reasons, none of which the city was responsible for), we headed out to the docks and boarded a ferry across to the Aran Islands. Our trip was fairly quiet, as I drew and the three of us talked in our little corner of the boat. The events of the night previous had not left us in good moods. It seemed appropriate, then, that I was drawing the detached “face” of a skull, probably belonging to a man in his twenties, which appeared to have been cerimonially detached with a sword. Otherwise, the boat ride was pleasurable, and we all arrived safely.
The Aran Islands, also known as Inishmore, is only accessible by boat. While well known for its sweaters, Dun Aonghasa (Dun Ang-ah-sah) is a world heritage site, a stone fort which appears to have half fallen in to the ocean.
It is quite a startling feeling to lay on your stomach and gaze down at the water crashing far below. The beauty of the concentric half-circles of the fort is that there is no wall on the edge of the cliff, so one can simply sit on the edge and stare down at the water between your feet. The entire wall-less-ness made Tomas quite nervous, which was perhaps reasonable, given the mesmerizing effect of the water. It made you want to take a bit of a plunge, but as Tomas only too practically pointed out, the water was much farther away than one thought, and the plunge, accompanied by the currents, would result in almost certain death. It would be the equivalent of jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge, except much more peaceful and less smoggy.
There was little rush on the islands, but it was still sad to go. The food was amazing, the wool was soft and (unfortunately) highly expensive, and only too soon we found ourselves on the boat back to Galway. I stood on the back, watching the islands grow smaller. We had played in the water a bit before we had gone up to Dun Aonghasa (whoever said the Atlantic Ocean is warmer than the Pacific lied. I’ve been in both now. Pacific is way better), but despite those moments of semi-sunshine, clouds were again blocking the sun, so there was no sunset behind the islands, just a lingering blue-grey.
And I was okay with that.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland is the weather. It is only rarely full sunshine and songbirds. Most of the time, the sun only pops out for a few moments, then disappears again, and one is caught in an ever-changing range of clouds and cloudiness. But, then, it seems like life is like that. I imagine it is a rare life indeed that is always sunshine and happiness. Most often, it is a mixture, with a little sunshine peeking through the clouds, sometimes watching as the rain falls, because emotion and feelings are very rarely purely of one kind. It seems they are more often somewhere between a splatter of paint and a tie-dyed t-shirt.
And sometimes it is OK to love the beauty, even if it is only seen when you’re a bit blue-grey yourself.