I arrived at Renvyle on Friday afternoon. My friend’s house is on the coast above a sweep of white strand beneath blue mountains that curve down to the sea. Visible from here, beyond Crump Island~a wonderfully noisy word for what is, in fact, a crumpled looking island~ is the Island of Inishark, the cone of the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick and the high cliffs of far off Achill Island in Mayo.
There is something magical about the sea in the west, the bays and their green rocky islands the prussian blue roiling ocean encircling them in ermine and beyond, looming vaguely, pale cliffs and islands. Always there is something to see even when, as now, the cloud is low and the rain sweeps in from the Atlantic smearing the sky and sea, diluting light.
On the Saturday, we woke late and had a leisurely breakfast before heading out to Glassilaun beach beneath Mweelrea so I could have a much-needed sea swim. We wrapped up, three of us, and brought a flask but the sun was coming out in patches and though I ran to the water in shadow, in the waves the sun came out for me, slapping me in turquoise and ochre. I body-surfed and cavorted before running back up the beach to a warm cup of tea and incredulous friends.
Glassilaun is a stunning beach. The breeze gently swayed the mantilla of cloud hazing Mweelrea slopes and out to sea the islands floated like rocky submarines, turreted with pillars, the colours of successive islands and headlands fading out to blue giving a sense of space and a feeling of your own smallness in a vast world of sea and sky.
The sand, as always in Connemara was white broken by the leviathan backs of colour-striped and splattered rocks scribbled with sea weed.
The sea was a most startling cyan over translucent sand which mirrored floating clouds. Scattered on the shore line numerous tiny whorls of shells, so many, so pretty, just lying there as if being pretty was nothing out of the ordinary. And here it isn’t.
After my swim we went back to the house for more food and gabbing and scratching~for I had been stung by a jelly.
Before dinner we headed up the Diamond. The Diamond is a mountain above Letterfrack in Connemara National Park, so-called because of its triangular shape. Last year I took part in and adventure race, The Connemara Rough Diamond, part of which had us running half way up this mountain .
At the start I had tripped jumping a hay bale and torn every ligament in my right ankle. I had trained so much that despite the initial pain I decided to carry on though and had done this run on sheer adrenaline. I felt nothing at the time but it was months before I could run again and my walking was too hot for a while afterwards either.
Today we only walked up the cinder paths and along the board walks over white tufted bog, turning back when we got to the rock, halfway. We nattered all the way ignoring the half-hearted rain.
Back home where dinner was waiting and talked of the next days cycle, taking a part of the new Western Greenway from Mulranny to Achill Sounds and the rest of the evening was spent very pleasantly on the sofa.