The most peaceful morning of my stay in Ireland resulted from plodding around barefoot on an island that sits along the tiny coastal town of Clontarf, just a ten minute drive north of Dublin.
After crossing the long, narrow bridge that connects the island to the mainland, the wind blasted seemingly from all directions. Sets of stairs led down from either side of the walkway; the left side led to the sandy coast, the other, meant for swimmers, led straight into the choppy waters of Dublin Bay.
I took the path of the beach and loaded my hands and pockets with shells like a greedy little child. It wasn’t until probably a full mile down I noticed that while my big coat pockets were filled to the brim with welk shells, my phone was nowhere to be found.
After realizing that this would be the second time the Irish Sea would claim something vital of mine (r.i.p. glasses) in the last six months, and tracing my steps in a slight panic by the number of “ugly” shells I unearthed and laid back, trying not to look too panicked in front of a few runners and their dogs, I found my phone sitting a little too prettily on the sand. I could swear the thing was trying to teach me a lesson.
The rest of the morning was simply peaceful and beautiful. I walked barefoot in chilly, shallow water to the sand bar and up the grassy sand dunes, getting a clear lookout to the village tucked into the sides of the Howth cliffs and sat for a long while. Dark clouds loomed about for most of the panoramic view, with the exception of Sugar Loaf Mountain being perfectly illuminated by foggy sunlight. There is pure, unadulterated joy in having solitude in places like this. I think these images are seared into my memory.
I slowly meandered my way back to the pathway and across the wooden bridge in search of warm soup, which I happily found at the Bay Restaurant across the road. On my walk home, I found a dreamy house for sale that I want to move in to (for a cool 950,000 euro!!), passed palm trees and made friends with a sweet neighborhood cat.
For the millionth time this trip, I realized that my true earthly love lies within the whole entirety of Ireland.