The bus rattled along the road that skirted Clew Bay and I drew breath at the sight of a scene I never grow tired of. Islands like a string of green emeralds strung out before me, beneath Ireland’s holy mountain referred to by locals as ‘the reek’ and which some scale barefoot in reverence. Here on this far western edge of Ireland in county Mayo lies an island 14km offshore that reminds some of what once was. Where locals live lives the rest of us it seems, have forgotten how to live.
In 2013 the Irish government announced the designation of the country's first wilderness area in County Mayo in the Nephin hills and in July this year I made my first visit.
It was an interesting conversation with Paul my local greengrocer the other day when I remarked on the aisle of birdfeed in his store that has recently appeared. What has caused this contemporary phenomena in Ireland of everyone en masse feeling the need to feed our wild birds?
I can't exactly recall the first time I read Heaney but I know as the years passed away in America I would find myself intermittently lost in one of his poems thinking of home. Hearing the "squelch and slap of soggy peat" and the shovel slice or boots stick into the wet sod earth.