Friday, 24 September 2010

Calm on Fingal’s beaches after last night’s storm

White clouds and blue skies reflected in the wet shoreline on Corballis Beach in Donabate this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Patrick Comerford

Last night’s storm was disappointing. I had hoped to get to Skerries for the parade to the harbour and the fireworks display. With a full moon and a high tide for the autumn equinox, it must have been an amazing evening. Hundreds of people turned out despite the lashing rain, there were floats, drummers, fire jugglers and pipers, and I was sorry not to be there for an evening marked by great humour and passion.

Everything had dried up by late morning, and so I headed out to Fingal this afternoon, for a walk on the beaches at Donabate and Portrane.

It was bit too windy to have lunch sitting out on the terrace at the Waterside House Hotel beside the Martello Tower in Donabate. But we got a table by a window, and sat looking out at the waves rolling in from Lambay Island, before going for a stroll on Corballis Beach.

Autumn has settled in, those who have jobs are back at work, and children are back at school. Apart from a few isolated stragglers and a dog or two, we had the beach to ourselves. The tide was out, the sun was shining, and despite some clouds, we were still blessed with plenty of good blue sky. The view was so clear I could see beyond Howth peninsula to the peaks at Bray, the Sugarloaf and the beginnings of the Wicklow Mountains

Turning around to walk back north towards the Martello Tower, Saint Ita’s Hospital in Portrane, designed by George Ashlin, stood out in clear relief on the near horizon, with its clock tower, water tower and the Evans Round Tower.

Looking out onto the Burrow from the Quay in Portrane this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Around in Portrane later in the afternoon, the effects of last night’s storm could still be seen. But there was a warm welcome from our Lynders cousins, and from the Quay there was a clear view across the Burrow and out over Rogerstown Estuary to Rush. I wondered whether the fireworks in Skerries were visible last night through that torrential downpour.

I’ve noticed my lungs haven’t been too good for the past few nights, with a little more sarcoidosis-linked coughing. But this afternoon’s walks on the beaches of Donabate and Portrane did me so much good! They truly lifted my spirits.

I’m looking forward to being back in this part of north Dublin on Sunday morning, preaching at Morning Prayer in Kenure Church, Rush, at 9.30 and preaching and celebrating the Eucharist in Holmpatrick Church, Skerries, at 10.30 a.m. And I’m looking forward to the students on the MTh course returning on Monday morning for a new academic year.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.