Drive Out West : County Clare, Ireland and Cornwall

Despite September and October being unseasonally warm this year in Cornwall, we have this week been visited with the more expected high winds, rains and squalls more typical of the Autumn season.

The West coast of Cornwall where I live has some similarities to the West coast of Ireland and my birth county of Clare and so I can easily imagine myself in Seamus Heaney's poem on the Craggy coastal road  in Clare (photo on left) even when I drive out on the road from Portreath to Gwithian and Godrevy in Cornwall. (photo right .)

On the Craggy shore road, County Clare , Ireland.

The Flaggy Shore itself is where the flat stone of the Burren meets the sea. The force of the sea has left a mix of worn, flat stone steps ,like flag stones, along with lots of beautifully rounded limestone rocks.

David Clapp B&W photo The Burren 
from here

You won't find the Burren in Cornwall but there are plenty of granite stones- this sculpted one is inland at the entrance to the Gwithian dunes.

There is a slate grey lake at Godrevy  - well it's grey when the sun isn't shining), (see left and double click for larger size but I didn't capture the swans in this one)

and unlike the poem I did manage to get one here with his head
"busy underwater"

So now for Heaney's great poem 


And some time make the time to drive out west

Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,

In September or October, when the wind

And the light are working off each other

So that the ocean on one side is wild

With foam and glitter, and inland among stones

The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit

By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,

Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,

Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads

Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.

Useless to think you'll park and capture it

More thoroughly.  You are neither here nor there,

A hurry through which known and strange things pass

As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways

And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Seamus Heaney,
The Spirit Level (Faber and Faber 1996).

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