Yesterday the weather was clear with further confirmation that spring may finally have arrived in an Ireland that endured one of the coldest winters in over thirty years. Was it pathetic fallacy the literary device explained to us in school long ago that had weather events mirror emotional states? Well, this long and bitter winter certainly was not found wanting in giving full vent to the seething depression that has gripped this country as we mire further into this mother of all economic depressions.
Anyway, I awoke to clear skies and I vowed that today would be the day when I would undertake a major outdoor physical event, as in undertake a gentle hike! I placed the Bray to Greystones cliff walk on the agenda, phoned a friend so that I was publicly committed to doing it, searched the web for the DART timetable and packed my small rucksack.
Well, everything went well. The sun shone, the skies remained clear and only a gentle breeze stirred the sea. The views along the route where as stunning as I remember them. This walk is Ireland’s answer to the Cinque Terre (which I walked in 2008), albeit a less indulgent one. No stops along the way, no picturesque villages tucked away in sheltered coves and no vineyards cheering you on. Still, it was worth it. Early spring heathers and the yellow gorse in bloom made up for the absence of vineyards.
And, then the glory of the descent into Greystones, the little bay spread out before me and the beckoning houses with the promise of comfort and rest. But wait, what happened those welcoming meadows by the railway that normally usher the walker to the outskirts of the town. Gone! Instead, the route is now diverted around a massive building site that purports to be the new super-marina and shopping complex that will from now stand at the town gates. You endure thirty minutes of hoardings, concrete plants, mud and scrawled re-direction signs. Absoltutely dispiriting.
But then, just as the spirits are about to flag totally, there is the sign for Poppy’s coffee shop. A little extra effort brings you right to the snug warmth and chatter of this little nineteenth century gem. Inside, apple cinnamon cake and coffee in abundance awaits.
Life is wonderful after all!