30 October 2016

Walking on the beaches in Portrane and
Donabate as the evening closes in

Evening lights on the Burrow Beach in Portrane (Photograph; Patrick Comerford, 2016; click on image for full-screen view)

Patrick Comerford

These last few days have been beautiful, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine. The clocks went back last night, so the mornings are brighter but it was noticeable this evening how the darkness is going to close in so early from now on.

Tomorrow’s unusual bank holiday has added to the opportunities provided this weekend, and so there have been visits to Wexford on Friday [28 October 2016] to enjoy some of the programmes of the Wexford Festival Opera, and to Co Meath yesterday [29 October 2016], which included a walk along the banks of the River Boyne at Trim and through the vast ruins of Trim Castle.

I was in my stall in Christ Church Cathedral this morning for the Sung Eucharist, and later six of us went for lunch in Mykonos, the Greek taverna on Dame Street.

But the afternoon was still warm and bright, and rather than staying on in the city centre, two of us went out to Portrane and Donabate to walk on the beaches and to catch the sunset.

I had ideas too of photographing Stella’s Tower in Portrane. Next year marks the 350th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan Swift, and as I began to plan an essay on the best-known Dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, I thought the story of Stella’s Tower or Portrane Castle and its associations with Swift would be worth taking another look at.

After a walk on the beach at Portrane, and a visit to cousins at the Quay, the early dusk caught me unawares, and I never found my way into the field where the ruins of the castle stand.

Instead, we went on to Donabate, where the tide was out and two of us enjoyed a long walk on the sandy beach, catching glimpses of the setting sun behind the sand dunes.

I was back in south Dublin in time to hear the History Show presented by Myles Dungan on RTÉ Radio 1, and my interviews with Louise Dervin about how the bodies of JJ Murphy and the ‘Pickled’ Earl of Mayo were brought back from Italy and India in unusual circumstances for burial in Ireland.

Sunset behind the sand dunes on the beach in Donabate this evening (Photograph; Patrick Comerford, 2016; click on image for full-screen view)

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