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So this morning, it is rainy, blowy and foggy. We are electing not to scale Mt. Brandon today. We are told by the locals that even if we did brave the nountain, we wouldn’t be able to see anything anyway. We will be transported to Cloghane later with our luggage. Looking ahead, if it isn’t raining when we get there, there is an old burial ground and the ruins of a 13th century church just a couple of kilometers outside of town, so we may go explore that. In the meantime,  I would like to share a writing I did yesterday morning. I tried to paint a word picture of the Dun Chaoin area.

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The Blaskets- 7/12/2015

Few things stir my soul like nature. Last night I saw a sight I had long wanted to see, yet I had failed to bring a camera to record it. I arose early to return, so that I could record the images so my future feeble mind may not completely forget the wondrous rugged beauty of the wild Atlantic coastline of Ireland.

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I slipped out of Glenn Dearg quietly, so as not to disturb any other guests. The Atlantic breeze tickled my face as I strolled down the quiet tarmac, much gentler than last evening, when it felt as though it might toss me into the sea. As I walked the flowery hedge row, the birdsong enveloped me; the cackling of the grackle, the rapid laser – fire sound effect of a bird hiding in the hedge, the cooing of five pigeons strolling in the road as well, until I got too close and they lifted with a chuff, chuff, chuff of wing beats.

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A black and white cat greeted me from a section of stone fence that had somehow managed to escape being overgrown in vegetation.
Farther down the hill, on the left, a river cascades haphazardly down the mountain.  At the bottom, I can hear the rushing of the water, but it cannot be seen for the wild fuchsia that crowds both banks.

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Topping the hill, a pottery café sits, but is not yet open, as it is too early. “Pottery, knitwear, books, bakery”, advertises the sign, painted in an illuminated manner, with the Irish spelling of Dun Chaoin  (Dunquin).
I finally reach the turnoff for the ferry on the right.

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A lamb in the adjoining field has his head poked through a square in the fence, nibbling grass and weeds on the other side. The rest of the sheep are either grazing or lying down, contentedly chewing their cuds while they look out to sea.

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The barking and keening of the gulls catches my attention. I watch as about a dozen gulls ride the air currents inland, rising up the side of the mountain Sliabh an Iolar like so many winged surfers.
As I approach the sign requesting all who visit here to leave no trace, I step off onto a grassy path that takes me along the cliff tops, where I can look upon the winding road down to the ferry landing. Two large mini- islands ( one named Dun Binne, the other whose name is not remembered by our hostess Kristin, who helped with the running of the ferry as a girl) are just off the point, where several gulls rest before catching the next wave up the mountain-side. The waves crash against the rocks down below with a rhythm that belongs to the sea alone.

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Looking around, I note green paths zig-zagging down the other side of the narrow inlet, where presumably ancient mariners once accessed the sea; the erosion of wind, waves and rain eventually reclaiming the paths.

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Out at sea, the Blasket Islands interrupt the horizon with their craggy heads. With names like An Blascaod Mor, Inis na Bro and Inis Mhic Aoibhleain, a feeling of wonder is evoked, knowing that they are in a sense, “ghost islands” that were once populated with people, but are now inhabited by wildlife only.

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Such visions create in me such a sense of wonder, awe and oneness with the natural world. I can forget for a little while that there are bad things and occurrences in the world. I can forget that pettiness and shallowness crowd out so much of the good in human interactions. It is in such moments that I feel complete peace, complete happiness. It is in such moments that I think I can love the whole world.

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