26 September 2009

An autumn walk on the beach in Skerries

Skerries ... has the potential to be the Kinsale of Fingal (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2009)

Patrick Comerford

I have worked almost two weeks on the run without a day off. Some of the days have been short, like last Sunday, when I finished at lunchtime and had a wonderful afternoon in Kilkenny and Castlecomer. But some of the days have been long – to 14 hours on occasions – with early starts and committee meetings that went on until late in the evening.

It has been tougher on some of those days because my lung s have felt the residual dust left from the building work during the refurbishing work at the institute.

My sarcoidosis leaves me with an irritating dry cough and short of breath, so that I have found myself short of breath many evenings this week, often unable to continue a full conversation at the dinner table.

Today came with great relief. The unusual late summer sunshine was a clear invitation to go for a walk on the beach in Skerries. This is one of the most charming villages in north Co Dublin – I can’t understand why the restaurateurs of Skerries have not yet succeeded in promoting this as the Kinsale of Fingal.

After buying the Guardian in Gerry’s, it was still bright and almost sunny after 6 as I set off for a stroll along the beach this evening. The view across to the islands was crisp and clear, as they stood out in relief, dotted along the horizon.

After that ramble, I went for dinner in Tarragon, a small bistro restaurant on Strand Street in the heart of Skerries, where they have regular food and wine evenings and are committed to using local ingredients.

Conor McGloughlin and Francois Grelet opened Tarragon a year ago. They change the menu every two to three months so they can introduce seasonal produce while maintaining some of their classic favourites. It was full by the time I left at 8.30. I must return soon.

It’s only 40 minutes home from Skerries. But I felt this afternoon I was a world away from the problems sarcoidosis has brought me. Already I’m looking to forward to preaching in the chapel of Saint Columba’s College, Rathfarnham tomorrow morning, to the baptism of a great-nephew in Lucan tomorrow afternoon, and to the week ahead.

Once again I feel that while I may have sarcoidosis, sarcoidosis does not have me.

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