Loop Head

The final blog with last week’s pics from Ireland uses shots from our visit to Loop Head.

Loop head pokes out into the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the most westerly points on the island of Ireland, looking out at North America some three and a half thousand miles away.

I had never been there before and the absurdity of that fact slapped me on both sides of my face for having almost missed this in my lifetime.

I am sure I will have missed many wonders of the world by the time I die, so it isn’t that I have some innate need to chalk off as many as possible during my lifetime. But, being born and raised not sixty miles from such an amazing piece of coastline, it is truly shameful that I had never made the journey.

We explored the edge and it was quite a walk that sapped our energies by the time we returned to the car. This is not like America where many of the country’s wonders are commercialized and tourist-enabled. We were trodding up and down hill on grassy surfaces that were strangely spongey under our feet.

When we got to a cliff edge, there was no barrier to stop us taking a lover’s leap, nor any warning signs that the ground underneath us might give way. It was simply us and nature and we loved every step we took.

The danger of falling in, felt real. And we respected that possibility as much as we could. Inna put the brakes on several of my attempts to step that last yard to the edge and several times I found myself lying on my belly, leaning out with the camera in extended arms in order to get the shot I wanted.

At one moment, only the camera strap saved my expensive little Sony from beginning its own transatlantic journey on the waves below.

The gentle breeze and the relentless sounds of waves crashing into the cliffs below us created such a wonderful ambience that made the whole experience feel quite surreal. And by the time we got back to the car, our souls were bubbling with excitement of what we had just experienced.

I have added a number of images at the end of this blog. Some are taken with normal exposure and others in long exposure of 25 to 30 seconds. The normal exposed shots go some way to relaying the vivid power of the ocean as it beat its rhythm against the cliffs. The long exposure translated this experience into something peaceful and almost spiritual. I hope you enjoy.

The final thought from this adventure that led me to this blog was along the lines of how humans being creatures of habit can miss out on so much of life.

It wasn’t that I took this place for granted. I didn’t. I just didn’t witness it at all. Sixty miles is nothing. I travel that distance routinely now for the most inane purposes. And I had been to Kilkee which is not more than ten miles away, a million times, which makes this all the worse.

But we all find a comfort feeling within our normal lives that takes us in the same direction, on the same road, to the same place.

It isn’t necessarily that we are all lazy in this, it is simply that we place more emphasis on the destination and not the journey to get there.

How often do we explore a new drive to work? Or a new path to visit someone? We don’t. We identify getting to work or to our friend as the important consideration and the journey itself moves across into the “most effective way” aspect of the consideration.

Sometimes, life hands us a detour because of road construction or traffic, perhaps. And we find ourselves down a non-familiar path. “I never knew this was here!” we might find ourselves thinking.

Yes there are natural explorers among us and I take my hat off to those Uncle Traveling Matts of the world. But the majority of us develop routines and stay with them.

Routines are good in many ways but we pay a price for them. Our brains develop no new memories in a routine. They only store information that is new. Don’t believe me? Pause for a moment and try to remember each of your drives to work last week. How much of these drives can you actually remember?

Getting away from our beaten track and exploring the world around us is an essential part of building a memory-rich existence.

When my life passes before my eyes as I check out of this world, I doubt very much of it will be dedicated to drives down Swindell Road to the interstate. But if the very last thought happens to be a reliving of that feeling standing on the cliff-edge at Loop Head with Inna, then I will die a happy man.

… just a thought.