Thursday, August 9, 2007

Special Places

I've often wondered what makes some places more special than others.

Nearly 30 years ago, during a brief trip home from the wanderings of our youth, GB and I decided to splash out, buy a small plot of land and prepare to down our roots .... a little.

There were few, if any, limitations to our imaginations. There were no arguments about location. The raised eyebrows and questioning looks, the disbelieving comments "why, in God's name do you want to live THERE?" or "you do know, don't you, that you'll be virtually CUT OFF from civilisation?".... There was some serious head nodding and knowing looks passed between the relations and friends .... they skittered down our backs like water off a duck.

We followed our hearts.

To the wild, stony landscape where our souls felt at peace.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to live there on a permanent basis. Opportunities for full-time work, the necessity of having an income, and 4 children conspired against us. But we did manage to build a house of the basic variety, nothing fancy, that protected us from the elements and provided a bolt-hole from the insanity of urban existence. It also provided a much-sought after retreat for the doubting thomases. Every summer, the house was filled with hordes of laughing, crying, cranky, joy-filled children and a motley selection of parents and other adults. We made a conscious decision not to have a TV or a phone or computers of any kind in the house. But we did have running water and electricity and open arms for anyone who wanted to escape and recharge. We were never short of visitors.

When the sun was smiling, the days were filled with expeditions to the seaside to collect crabs, cobblers, feathers, shells and round, smooth stones. Chases in and out of the icy, cold ocean, shiverings and goose bumps. Boisterous games of bulldog and boules in the maze of sand dunes. Panning out on the sand, with desultory conversation, if you liked. Cares and worries on the back boiler. Slowness.

On the not so sunny days, backpacks and "sensible" shoes were donned and we headed for the rocky hills. Amidst loud protests. But not for long. Like puppies, the children scampered off over the rocks, rising many a startled hare from its reveries, in their element running and climbing, laughing and racing and sometimes whingeing and whining. Hours later, we would arrive back, like the Pied Piper, with the exhausted, ravenous creatures that had been protesting so loudly just a few short hours ago. Fed and watered, they went on to regale each other and the non-attending adults, of what so and so did, how high the mountain was, what the goats smelled of, what the hares did when the dogs chased them ...... endless stories ..... and memories.

The days were long and warm. And rainy. And windy. And very wet.

On the very wet days we stayed in. We played cards, scrabble, monopoly, cluedo, made jigsaws, read books, painted masterpieces, cooked a million different types of cake, built dens and secret hideaways in the garden, dressed up, play acted, played charades and had 15 part recitals of every song we could think of. On the third consecutive wet day we HAD to get out. A "Special Treat" trip to a cinema in Galway or a trip to the local Cave was the choice. We didn't have too many of these.

The years have flown past. The children have grown and their parents are off exploring a much more accessible world. We're still here, embracing our treasure.

Back to where we started. With our minds and hearts filled with priceless memories.

Back to the wild, stony place that sings to our spirit.


Faithful 2 U said...

Cool blog! Nice pics too!

Tanya Brown said...

It sounds marvelous. Simple and basic, a slice of heaven. I'd like to go.

Barbara said...

This looks like a little piece of heaven. Where exactly is it? Off the coast of Ireland? Do you accept visitors? :)

Stomper Girl said...

I bet your kids have the most fantastic memories of their holidays there.

You will probably have to set up a roster and a guestbook for all the bloggers who would now like to come stay too. (Can you put my name at the top of the list, please?)

Lee said...

Most assuredly it will remain a treasure.

meggie said...

Divine! How you make me long to see it, when you write so lovingly of it.

Aunty Evil said...

Sounds like heaven!!

Voyager said...

What a beatifully written post about a magical place. My aching wanderlust has squelched any such putting-down-roots urges, but I admire those who find such joy in one special place.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I think some places are like that... Italy does that for me.
It's like my soul belongs there and when I get there, then I'll finally be coming home to a place I haven't ever been to.

Don't know what that is. I wander through photos of the countryside so often, for hours at a time, and it's like I belong there, and I long for it so deep down, in a sad and wistful way.

Who knows.

But, this was a wonderful post, and I love the photos!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Diana said...

That sounds like the perfect retreat. I love windy, rainy, stormy places that then have stunning sunny days that are the more amazing because they are not common.

The Old Professor said...

Hello R.O.O.M.,
Thanks for commenting in my metaphysical emanations, I mean exclamations. I posted a new blog today answering your request for these exclamations.
They are at
The Old Professor in California

mjd said...

Your wild, stony place with no TV, phone, or computers yet with electricity and running water looks and sounds wonderful although I do rather like my computer.

Molly said...

What a wise move it was that you two made way back then. Young you were, but certainly not foolish, like me........You forgot to mention the knitting lessons, on the umpteenth rainy day, wherein even the boys, tongues clenched between teeth, struggled with needles and yarn.
I'd bet the recent meteor showers looked brighter in BallyVee than anywhere else---IF the skies weren't weeping!

fifi said...

Oh, it certainly sings to me...
(so beautiful)

enjoy it.

Tracey Petersen said...

Days at our beach house were wonderful when our kids were little. They slept well, they ate well, they played long and hard...then my sister-in-law brought a tv and playstation to the house. RIDICULOUS!

I love your no TV policy. I bet this is something that your children will want to share with their children.

Princess Banter said...

I love those pictures... and I too would love to have memories in that place. It seems magnificent!!!

mcewen said...

Might be a little too basic for my brood [or is it really me and my need for creature comforts!]
Fabulous views, makes me just a tad homesick.
Best wishes

sMC said...

Rise you are truly 'a nice matter' so I have given you The Nice Matters Award. As I consider you a 'truly nice matter'

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It sounds so lovely! I also love such shared solitude in a beautiful, practically untouched place.

And I love reading about your life in Ireland. It's no accident that you are of the land of Yeats.

Molly said...

Funny that heartinsanfran should mention Yeats as was thinking this place speaks to "the deep heart's core."

frannie said...

beautiful... and so true. makes me want to stop and smell the roses.

if only I had time...

riseoutofme said...

Thank you all for your comments ... I really must try and improve on responding to them ..

faithful ..thank you.

tanya .. you're welcome, anytime.

barbara .. this little piece of heaven is in the Burren in Co. Clare on the West coast. And we not only accept, but welcome, visitors!

stomper .. all the kids (not just my own) have wonderful memories and have even said that it was GREAT not having tvs or other such distractions!! Top of the list for you. Couple of days notice, just sos we can have the fire lit and the bread made ...and the pints ordered in the local!

lee .. indeed, treasure.

meggie ..throw some of GOM's tracky pants into a sack and get moving! Its even better in reality!

aunty ... looks, sounds, smells, feels ... IS

voyager .. if any place could put the wanderlust to bed .. this might be it ..

wanderlust .. whats stopping you ...get up and GO ... few enough places speak to our souls ..GO!

diana ... breathing space ..

professor .. have been over with my assignment!

mjd ... if I was there permanently, I too would have to make a slight concession for the puter ... but until then ...

molly .. I'd forgotten the knitting escapades! What other nuggets lie unremembered?? The meteor shower was UNBELIEVABLE!

fifi ... sweet music ..

tracey .. you're right! My daughter thinks, now, that it was an inspired move by us .. and plans to follow the same route herself!

princess... everyone needs a special place to grow precious memories .. I hope you have one ..

mcewen .. basic, yes ..but you'd be amazed at how much you can do without .. and not miss at all after a few days ...

Birdy .. thank you ..

heart ..Yes, Yeats but also Patrick Kavanagh ...

frannie ... try and make some time .. you won't regret it ..

Isabelle said...

Oh, oh, oh. How lovely. Just like many places I love in Scotland, but don't have a house in any of them.

How about setting up a nice coffee morning for all us bloggers? You could cope with 23 for coffee, couldn't you? And then a little walk in that beautiful place?

My float said...

This post gave me goosebumps. I dream of a place like this.

You have given your family such a wondrous gift - peace, solitude, family, togetherness. How inspiring you are!