Walks in Donegal


Up and up above the pier, above the fence and the old ruin. On up the zig-zag sheep trails: such neat and efficient foot holds. Up to the the cliff edge and the open sea.

A fulmar.

I hear about the land over there and about what it would have been like here. It’s as if a detailed layer of tracing paper, teeming with life, has been placed upon the view.


A very nearly full moon last night.

Now, in the day, strange shapes and tones are made by sweeping hail far away against the hills.

The tide is so high. The waves swell in and up the steep bank and leave residue in the form of abstract lines of foam, like the curved shapes inside a psychedelic lava lamp. The moment these lines are created they immediately proceed to sink back into the sand, disappearing as you watch.

Light is everywhere.

The sun brightens the broken surface of the water, churned up from the stormy winds last night. The dog, always in the water at the first opportunity, is skirting around the edge of the foam, intimidated by, and cautious of, the size and force of the waves.

There is a freshness and drama in getting to experience this beach outside of the familiar summer pleasantness. I feel honoured.

The sea is supposed to be warmest at this time of year, but I still manage to lose the circulation in my toes.

The days are shorter. The light fades as I watch from the rocks above the beach.

Glencolmkille Beach, Autumn


Dull and dark on this Autumnal Donegal evening. Rain starts pelting down. I rush to let the dog out of the car and get some stuff. A massive flash-light goes off in my face: white bright light. I yell in fright.

Lightening, I realise and, still reeling, a whip-crack and rumble rattles through my body and shocks me like a slap in the face.

This is the heart of the storm: the dark clouds right here, above my head. I look up in awe. I grip the car, look at the dog and try to regulate my breathing as the large drops of rain continue to fall, cold on my head.