Wednesday, 25 June 2014


It's really hard not to feel pure joy, but somehow I manage it.

The scene in front of my eyes would put any Rom-Com montage to shame. I’m on one of my favourite Connemara beaches, under a cloudless blue sky.

Walking beside me along the pristine white sand with the Snapper is a very over-excited 3 year-old collie-lab who goes by the name of Lady, or on occasion Lady Dog.

As soon as she jumps out of the car, it is apparent that she's never seen the sea close up before.

Immediately she is fascinated by the waves. What are these watery animals that keep rolling onto the sand? Running along the beach up to her knees in ocean, Lady goes into hunting mode, learning quickly that when she takes a bite out of the Atlantic, the wave collapses, so clearly she is killing them.

Look, there’s one, got it, oh no there’s another one, got it, oh no there’s another one, got it, oh no...

What a smart doggie!

Steady there now, if anyone’s going to say my dog’s thick, it’ll be me, if you don’t mind thanks missis, sniff cof cof.

On the drive there we’d listened to radio reports of calamitous thunderstorms around the country, but here, just beyond Cleggan on the way to Claddaghduff, here the weather is perfect.

That which used to be the West Coast of Ireland is now branded the Wild Atlantic Way, which is a wonderful thing if it helps to keep the area as unspoiled and stunning as it is right now, while supporting those who work to show others the road from Cork to Donegal.

One of the great things about being a bit of an empiricist is that every happy day appears as if the like had never before. I have walked this beach a hundred times, yet each has been unique. Time moves on, taking with it emotion and energy, but one constant I give thanks for: this little beach is always empty.

The sun is beating high in the sky, the water a blinding array of turquoise shades that put the Aegean to shame. Looking at this wondrous scene, I try to imagine what the soundtrack music would be to this particular movie montage. It’s that part of the film when time passes as dogs run up beaches, husband and wife walk hand in hand and there’s scones and jam for tea.

Which there were, but that’s another story.

So my dog is having the time of her young life. As the Snapper laughs and the dog swallows yet more pints of emetic sea water, I struggle really hard not to spoil the moment.

For once I succeed. I laugh and shout:

“Good Girl! Good girl! Are you having fun out there? Good girl!”

Thankfully my fears of driving whilst drowning in rivers of dog vomit prove fruitless, as Lady leaves seven or eight Hunk-hunk-hunks on the beach. The first few are clearly sea water, but by the time she’s nothing left to give, she’s retching parcels of matter that look remarkably like Potty Putty.

Hadn’t thought of Potty Putty for years.
Dogs are amazing.

Please take me with you - I'll be good!

Anyway, thank goodness, now she’s safe to put back in the car.
Ah but no what’s this? All of a sudden she stops and raises her backside in a most unusual position (the dog not the wife: behave!) that is neither a pooh stance nor a peeper crouch. She’s holding it there and oh my god ... oh good grief ... oh yuckkety yuck yuk.

To be fair, her positioning is an accurate description of what’s just happened. Neither one nor t’other, a most unfortunate cocktail of all three states of existence.

While it’s a little late in the day to spare your blushes, patient colyoomistas, I do realise that there’s only so much I can reasonably expect others to read about the motions of my pooch.

The point to all this is neither the splendour of the day that’s in it, nor the alien vileness of whatever it is that Lady explosively expelled onto the sand.

The point is that I have a hard time letting go of my responsibilities and to me, Connemara has always been a sanctuary.

New in Ireland, working as a kitchen porter in Kinsale, I used to stare at my map for hours, my fingertip tracing the western coastline of Co. Galway. My travelling instincts itched to visit this area and have never been disappointed.

Of course Connemara has faults. Some days when I lived out here I felt I’d physically implode if I saw another raindrop on my window pane, but hey, that’s what Galway City was invented for.

A trip into town, a bit of craic and soon enough Connemara would lure me home; happy, safe and silent in my far-western refuge.

Yet today it’s different, for a reason that is so completely socially unacceptable that I’m finding it hard to confess.

Dog owners are fond of saying:
“Best thing we ever did that was, getting the dog. Changed our lives forever.”

...but but but I'm irresistible...

Well I love my dog too. Her welfare will always be my responsibility, but as I work at home, for 5 days each week she’s solely my responsibility. Evidently, eventually that for me becomes exhausting.

The experts all say that the dog must fit in with your lifestyle, which is fine if you don’t mind mopping the kitchen floor. To be fair, Lady lives up to her name, but right now, on this tiny wee holiday, a huge part of me just wants to be free of all responsibility.

Let me think of nobody but myself and the Snapper.
Let there be no early morning clock-watching.
Let me sit inside a pub.

Anyway, we’re having a lovely time and with Lady now thankfully empty at both ends, we drive back to Rosleague Manor, where there are warm scones and jam for tea.

I think I mentioned the scones, didn’t I?

©Charlie Adley

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