"Hey baby, everything's fine. Really. Everything's fine. I just want to tell you what happened..."
A Tale Of Woe In Ireland
On Thursday last week I returned from the stunning south-west coast of Ireland, an area that my family has been in love with for the past 40 years. My extended family own a tiny cottage in the small coastal town of Schull (also officially known as Skull, which is awesme) and it was wonderful to be able to go there, particularly after a rough few weeks in London. If anyone's visiting Ireland and looking for a beautiful and rugged part of the country that's delightfully free of marauding Americans searching for their long lost ancestors, I couldn't recommend this place enough - Betsy can attest to it. One man who discovered the delights of the area a while back was Jeremy Irons, and he now lives his days high above the locals in a phallic pink fortress (seriously, Google it) that he built atop of the ruins of an authentic castle.
Schull is dramatically perched by the Atlantic at the foot of Mount Gabriel, a very pretty and thoroughly summit-able mountain - and we (my mother, my sister and I) decided to do just that one fine sunny morning. We found the old mountain track and parked up the car, and set off on foot while enjoying the stunning Atlantic vistas and admiring the inquisitive goats along the way. About half way up, my sister and I saw this cool-looking crevice thing in the rock and decided we had to explore it. To get to it we had to jump over a small rocky stream, which really wasn't substantial. Upon returning from the cool-looking thing, it was time to once again nimbly traverse the raging torrent (it's raging now, and has widened by many feet). I nimbly leapt into the air, gazelle like in my grace and poise - I'm sure Betsy will back me up* on my gazelle-ness.
Unfortunately, however, I landed with all the grace of a beached whale, albeit a whale with damageable limb appendages. My right ankle landed hard on a rock surface that turned out to be a lot more diagonal than I was anticipating and then took my full weight. At this point I felt things giving and crunching on each other in a way that they weren't supposed to, and I went down like a sack of spuds. We were still by the track, happily, so my mother raced down the mountain to go do some perilous driving back up to get me, while my sister very helpfully stood by me to take photos and prodded bugs off my now alarmingly swollen ankle.
Anyhoo, long story short is that I wound up in the charmingly tiny Bantry hospital with ligament damage and a full plaster cast that remains on me now, along with crutches. I was discharged later that afternoon and that meant, to my mother and sister's delight, they got to go explore the grounds at Bantry House (an old childhood ritual). Ironically, I was parked up on the grounds with tea in exactly the same place we used to park up my somewhat immobile granny with her tea while my family went bouncing up the sadistically-named 100 steps.
So that is my tale of woe, but on the plus side I did get the full special wheelchair and scissor-lift treatment at the airport, so there was that. You have to really ham it up to make the most of the experience, but I think everyone should try it - all you need is an ankle! My sister had her own dramas in Ireland later that week after Mum and I left and some friends came to join her, when a 8-foot long dolphin straight-up tried to murder them all (seriously, I'm not even joking), but that is perhaps another story for another day...
all photos of Schull and its environs courtesy of Ellie - thank you!
*Whatever you say, dear.