Connemara was a wild and windswept place this New Year’s eve. I ventured out to the Renvyle peninsula, about 10 miles north of Clifden to meet a friend and walk along the White Strand. Passing through Letterfrack, I took note of the high tide at Ballinakill bay and sure enough the sea had overtaken the strand completely in Renvyle. The sea was washing hard over the remaining rocks and thrashing up against the dunes, no traces of sand left. The sound of it was remarkable – a kind of woosh as it pushed forward and then a roaring, crashing rumble as it pulled back over the stones.
Looking out to sea and beyond, the snow capped peaks of the Mweelrea mountains were clearly visible and then we spotted a group of black clad surfers in the water.
We watched them for several minutes – it was mesmerising..
A little further along the shore, we came across a rocky outcrop where we saw a shell midden. This is an ancient site consisting of shells, bone, vessel remnants as well as organic and other material. It is evidence of life here thousands of years ago where people gathered, ate, cooked and discarded their waste. My friend who is an environmentalist, informed me that this site is seven thousand years old, making it the oldest shell midden of its kind in Europe. As I take some photographs, I find it hard to conceive of this passage of time.
One more photo as we took a last look down the beach. The sky had darkened, the cattle silhouetted against the last of the light. They seemed to be grazing on the very edges of earth here. It started to rain and invigorated by the salty air and the spray we made a dash for the car. I made a mental note to return here again soon.