Landfall in Ireland

24 August 2011


Clint and I are sat in William's apartment in Crookhaven, above the
restaurant for which he is the chef. He's Swedish. He's been living
and working in Crookhaven for the past two years (the owner of
O'Sullivan's pub is Swedish, and brought him over).

We met him through the older bartender at the pub just a while ago. It
was our first stop ashore after having walked down from the little
dock we tied the dinghy too. We chose a spot further from town, as the
wind was blowing out of the harbor and to have rowed upwind would have
been impossible. The stroll down the one-lane road into the small
village was absolutely delightful, lined with blackberries ripe for
the picking and surrounded by green hills and cow pastures, with a
backdrop of grey stone mountains behind. A castle was perched on the
hilltop in the distance, which we shall explore tomorrow.

The three of us enjoyed three rounds of fresh coffee (with real milk!)
and their homemade brown soda bread with butter and jam. William came
out having heard that one of us is Swedish, and offered the use of his
shower if the sailing club was closed up (which it was). We met Magda,
who I'm assuming is one of William's roommates, and another girl whose
name we didn't get. It looks like we've taken over their apartment,
out salty wet weather jackets strewn about, my flipflops drying on the
floor (they were incredibly moldy when I took them out of the hanging
locker), and our bags lying on the sofa.

Clint shaved his beard and looks like a child.

Mia and I are freshly showered, for the first time in 24 days, which
feels indescribably magnificent. The water was difficult to get the
correct temperature, and the pressure left much to be desired, and yet
it was one of the greatest showers of my life. The curtain was hung up
loosely with an old thick wire. It's not the nicest apartment, but
wonderfully comforting.

We're headed back to the pub now for our first Murphy's Irish Stout
and some lunch. There are two golf flags in the pub, from the '07 PGA
Championship and '08 Open Championship signed by Padraig Harrington,
who is good friends with one of O'Sullivans' regular customers.
Tomorrow we shall go exploring in the hills, looking for castles and
stretching our legs.

William the Swedish chef had a black t-shirt that said 'I (heart) Goats' on it.

The best part about our landfall was the smell. I'd forgotten about
that part, and it came upon us as we rounded Mizen Head and the wind
came blowing over the hilltops towards us. We were wafted with an
aroma of grass and trees, soils and woodburning stoves, moss and
rocks…earth. Nothing can quite stir the emotions like a strong scent,
and this one was mesmerizing. I couldn't get enough of it through my
nostrils, and kept gulping in quick short breaths, aware that soon
we'd become accustomed to it and it's magic would fade, but in the
moment we took as much as we could. Mia and Clint agreed, Clint even
having tears in his eyes and we started motoring up the narrow channel
into Crookhaven harbor just as the last light of day was fading. We
anchored between two rocky cliffs, opened a bottle of bubbles and
drank wine for the rest of the evening, not even bothering to change
out of our foulies. We're in Ireland.