21 December 2012

A walk in the mist on the beach before dusk turns to darkness

Dusk turns to darkness at Bettystown this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Patrick Comerford

Once again, I have managed to fail to send all the Christmas cards I intended to. I have too many lists, on too many pieces of paper, in far too many different address books and directories, in different rooms of the house.

And as I hastily wrote a few more today, I wondered whether those who were going to get them – if they ever get them – will realise that they are not at the bottom of my list (or lists). It simply means that I am bad at organising my own personal details in life – great at seeing the big picture, not so good when it comes to the details.

Eventually the rounds of family visits began around lunch time ... and I’m sure they shall continue until Christmas Eve.

The traffic was choking until we got to the Airport, but from Swords north through Fingal and East Meath, it seemed that was still a little brightness in the skies to the west. The colours on the fields at this time of winter, as they prepare for new life, give winter its charm: here a field of stubble, with the birds hopping in and out in search of food; there a field of green still being used for grazing; and then the fields of grey-brown, ploughed up, with ruts and ridges filled with wintery water; or the long field between Gormanston and Julianstown that looks ark today but I know will be filled with yellow daffodils in a few months’ time.

It was the shortest day of the year, and darkness was closing in on the beach at Bettystown (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

It was after 4 this afternoon when we arrived in Bettystown, Co Meath. As this is the shortest day of the year, we had arrived just in time for a brief and short walk on the beach.

It was dusky, the tide was still well in, the long stretch of beach from Mornington to Laytown was wet, there was a heavy mist coming in from the Irish Sea, and in the fading lights it was difficult to see for any distance at all.

A pair of brave riders and their horses leave the beach as darkness falls in Bettystown this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

A pair of brave riders were in the water 100 metres further up the shore. Dark closed in as they returned to the soft wet sand, and prepared to take their horses away in their boxes.

Oh yes, and I still had this morning’s cards to post ... I had almost forgotten.

Relish in Bettystown this evening ... the restaurant is bright and cheery, ready for Christmas celebration (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

It was dark as we collected The Guardian at Donovan’s and strolled back to Relish for what was a very late lunch indeed.

The restaurant is fully decorated for Christmas, and we lingered a little longer than we expected, savouring a large Americano and a double espresso.

As we were leaving Relish, I stole another winsome glance at the beach. But it was too dark, and the mist from the sea was too heavy to consider another walk along the shoreline.

The mist clung heavily on the road as we drove along the shore to Laytown and then inland though Julianstown and Gormanston, onto the motorway.

When we arrived at Portrane for the last of today’s family visits, the lights on the other side of the estuary and the bay, stretching all the way to at Rush, looked like a set of Christmas lights decorating the shoreline.

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