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Low tide. High tide. In and out, the coastline breathes slowly. When you live by the sea, the tides are a constant presence. You always know where the tide was when you went down to the water, even if you don’t remark on it. You might not know if it’s coming or going, but it’s part of the ever-changing-ness of the water, as much as the sun and the clouds and the wind are constantly changing it.

I forget about the tide, when I’m gone.

Mabel on rocks with Dun Laoghaire in the background

Low tide

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The trajectory of a holiday is mirrored by the trajectory of a single day of travel. You start out full of hope and goodwill, with useful things packed helpfully to hand and brightness all around. As time goes on the unusual becomes normal, living in another country or traversing airport concourses. And finally the downhill slope, you’re nearly there, nearly home, but everyone’s getting tired and cranky. You want your own things and you can’t find anything you need. You stuff it all in and drag the zip closed and you think about the bliss of your own bed.

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“Ireland is known for potatoes, rain, and cows,” says Mabel. She learned about the potatoes at school, but she added the others. We saw more of the countryside this trip than we have before – more fields with cows and horses and sheep – and the kids coped admirably with sleeping in a new place every night for eight nights, meeting new people, being whooshed off to play with new children while the grownups drank their interminable cups of tea and talked about boring grownup stuff. It helps that every family in Ireland appears to have a trampoline in the back garden, and that all our friends and family members are truly lovely people.

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The mountains of Kerry look like dark-green crushed velvet, light and shadow constantly moving over them from the scudding clouds, changing the scene moment by moment. They make you want to give up all your possessions, buy canvases and paint, and live there forever, trying and failing to capture the soft but breathtaking beauty of it all.

Kerry beach scene with mountains and clouds

This could be a painting, right?

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It’s much too hot here today for a cup of tea. So I’m having a cup of tea. Breathe in, breathe out. There.

7 thoughts on “Back

  1. Jill

    You make me want to go there. And I’m already there. I’m glad you’re home to your own things, I breathe a huge sigh of relief when I flop onto my own bed on the day I get back from holidays.

    Reply
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  3. Fionnuala

    We’re heading over soon and our boys will have a similar experience, meeting the children they only see one a year at most, 5 different beds in 7 nights and lots of visits to the beach, their favourite part of Irish holidays.
    What is with the trampolines? Did they come free with the mortgages? They are everywhere. Our kids feel very hard done by when they see them all, since we have none.
    Brilliant post!

    Reply
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