Sunday, 16 December 2012

Walking on water in the dusk of a winter’s day

Dusk on the beach and waters in Loughhinny Bay this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Patrick Comerford

The bright yet crisp weather I enjoyed yesterday, with its blue skies and bright sunshine, continued this morning – but only briefly.

I stood in a warm sunny glow, sheltered from the winter chill, outside the south-west porch of Christ Church Cathedral this morning, greeting people as they arrived for the Cathedral Eucharist on Gaudete Sunday.

But the sunshine was gone two or three hours later and blue skies had given way to heavy grey clouds that were laden with threatening heavy rain showers.

The rains that had hit the west coast yesterday were about to move across Dublin, and we decided to head out to the Fingal coast in an effort to snatch walks on the beaches before the rains came and darkness fell.

But first we had two panini and coffees in the Olive on Strand Street. We had not been in Skerries since August, it was the end of July since we had walked the beaches there, and perhaps even a little longer since we had been in the Olive. The menu has changed, but it was a delightful lunch, and I can still say this is where they make the best double espresso in north Dublin.

A winter’s walk on the beach in Skerries this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Down on the beach, the tide was in, the waves were strong and yet there were some brave young people in kayaks working their way in a line parallel with the shoreline.

Small birds were making a feast of the weather’s offerings, and a lot of seaweed has been washed up against the high water line. But some brave people have already posted signs that they are organising a swim on the beach at 10.30 on Christmas morning.

We continued up around Red Island. It was heartening to see ‘Storm in a Teacup’ is continuing to stay open at the harbour through the winter weather, but it was sad to read a planning notice that indicates Carroll’s Pierhouse Hotel, which closed a few months ago, is about to be demolished – the loss of another facility to this charming town. The hotel and bar had a stunning location with the windows providing dramatic sea views.

By the time we had reached the Sailing Club, the rain was coming down heavily. Back on Strand Street, we popped into Gerry’s for the Sunday newspapers and a bottle of wine for dinner.

As we headed home and dusk was falling, we noticed the Yacht in Loughshinny has reopened and is looking bright and welcoming once again.

Looking back at Loughshinny from the shoreline as darkness fell this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

There and then, on a whim, we decided to turn off the road from Skerries to Rush and go down to Loughshinny. A group organised by Shearwater Sea Kayaking, based in Howth, were packing up and heading home. But the rains had stopped, and the end-of-evening lights were reflecting beautifully in the ripples and the wet sands of the bay.

As I looked at the wet sand beneath my feet, it could have easily tricked me in that light into imagining I was walking on sea water.

It was dark before we got to Rush.

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