Last year, at the end of summer we went to Sligo, up in the northwest of Ireland. It was wonderful. We visited a fairy mountain and made a wish, walked through a landscape of stone monuments older than Stonehenge and stayed on the beach at a little hotel behind an ancient pub that served the most fantastic meals.
One day we decided, perhaps in a moment of madness, to walk around the rocks that edged the coastline, leading away from the pebbly beach. It wasn’t too bad, to be honest – even the small girl could manage it, and we were amazed by the fossils visible in the ancient rock layers, as well as the deep clear ocean pools below our feet.
We made it, eventually, around to what had once been a harbour and on the rocks of the small ‘beach’ we found this:
Isn’t it amazing? If I could, I would have brought it home with me. But it was incredibly heavy, despite the rust. So I took a photo instead. I’ve been meaning to have it made into a canvas – I just love the colours and the way whatever-it-is sits on the stones.
The stones were in it just as you see them – whether deposited by some other hand or the ocean waves I wasn’t sure. The beach was littered with other bits of rusting iron, remnants of a mysterious past. A curving concrete quay jutted out along one side of the little cove but it was tiny – only small boats would have come in here. Perhaps one night there was a wild storm and one of them washed up to break against the rocks, only the heaviest metal bits and pieces remaining to tell the tale.
So an object found, but left where it lay. Sometimes it’s better that way.
What an amazing find! I love how the stones are arranged in their ‘shelves’. You Europeans are lucky to be surrounded by so much of your own cultural history. Australia is an old country and filled with cultural history, too—its indigenous cultural history. Being a white Australian, my culture started where you are (and possibly should have stayed there), which is why I think I feel drawn to the history of the UK and Ireland in particular.
I feel the same – whenever I’m in Wales I just feel like I need to stay there – it’s in my blood. My husband has an Irish background and he feels much the same when we’re in Ireland. I remember the many years I lived in Melbourne & Sydney I was always drawn to the oldest parts of the city, loving the layers of history there. But yes, the cultural history of indigenous Australia is held in the landscape – you can feel it when you’re out in the bush, but not so much where Europeans have come and ‘written’ over it. Still, there are moments to be had, even in the centre of a city.
My sister lives near Sligo and we once visited the beach with the fossils exposed in the rocks. Thanks for reminding me of it. The sea and air were so clear. My sister told me that Lord Mountbatten was blown up out in the bay there, so the thought of that kind of spoiled the loveliness of the coast.
I find it interesting what you say about Wales, where I now live (in the Berwyn mountains). I love the landscape and history around here, but both me and my sister were born and grew up in southern England and feel that our hearts truly belong to the Hampshire coastline, and the ‘Saxon Shore’. We had a recent discussion about where we would like to live in money/family situation was not an issue, and without hesitation we both said the New Forest, in sight of the sea.
Thank you Barbara, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was a lovely trip and somewhere that quite surprised me. I didn’t know about poor Lord Mountbatten though. But yes, the fossils were amazing and the freshness of the sea and air were just what was needed (we had just gone through a lengthy house buying process and needed a break). And I love how you can relate to the feeling of a ‘heart home.’ Living in the New Forest in sight of the sea sounds lovely – for me it would be living up near Criccieth, also near to the sea, or even further south, Tenby way. There is a theory that our DNA can influence how we feel about a certain place, so, if you have no DNA indigenous to the area where you live, you will never feel at home there. And I suppose it works the opposite way as well, that we know where home is in our very bones. 🙂
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!
Fantastic objet trouvé/found object photo. What kind of camera do you use?
Thank you! Believe it or not, all the photos are taken on my IPhone, and the colours of the object are just as I saw them – that’s why I had to take a photo of it 🙂
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