I arrived in Rossnowlagh, stopping off for a brief glance at Mullaghmore, which has an awfully nice beach and is also home to Irelands most popular big wave. It was overcast again as I checked into Finn McCools Surf Lodge and found that not only did I have a dorm room to myself but the whole hostel and all for €20 incl. breakfast…and some afternoon toast and tea that I helped myself to.
The hostel is in a large car park that backs onto the beach and the big window in my room looked out on the dunes and the bay. It is a squarish building with no particular charm and although well used it was clean and bright.
The first thing I did was check the waves and the tides and finding them both to be satisfactory headed in for my first session with the body board in a while. Oh bliss!These curling waves are rare in Tramore and I was in heaven. I caught my second best wave ever which, in my terms means I looked slightly less like slug on a slate than normal….
It was raining hard by the time I got out and I changed quickly for fear of getting wet…
Rossnowlagh is split in two the higher part above the south side of the bay can be reached by driving across the beach at low tide or heading back on to the main road and driving for a mile or two before turning off. Inch in Kerry is often touted as the only beach you can drive onto in Ireland and I am here to tell you it’s not so. In Rossnowlagh the beach is the main street.
High tide was at 18:14. At 18:11 I asked a local about getting to a restaurant on the cliff and after checking her watch and the tide told me it would be OK to drive up the beach. I happily decided to ignore the advice and drove the long way around as the waves lapped the cliffs. I ate at The Gaslight from which there was nice view. My meal was a plate of expensive and bland Fish and Chips. I went there because it was Lonely Planet recommended it, I guess they were having an off day.
I spent the evening reading and taking pictures of the fixtures and fittings at the hostel.I know. I’m weird. I slept like a log and woke at half seven to a crystal blue day.
The bay is beautiful, curved and wide trimmed with rollers and ringed by dunes. The beach itself is embedded with thousands of tiny pairs of shells in orange and purple stripes, like fabulous butterflies pinned to natures cork board. To hear them crunch underfoot elicits a massive guilt at causing such destruction
To the north, the low blue hills of Donegal and to the south, Sligo.There is little development, though the local hotel on the beach is pretty ugly but it does have a Surfers Bar.
The surf was up and I went straight out and got into my wet suit again. Ah, glee. The sets were like tubes of liquid steel, prussian green and cyan powdered with ochre. The grains of sand glistened like gold where the morning sun pierced the water, giving my shadow a halo of golden rays. I am canonised by the sea. Around me the yellow-green fields glowed in the sun, the dunes spiked with Monopoly houses.
Past the curious corrugated green cliff to the south~ which must light up a soul fire in a returning locals breast the way the pillars of Tramore Bay do for us in the South~ I could see the shadows of Rosses Point and Strandhill in Sligo. Small clouds appeared, their shadows a slick umber mirroring cobalt as the dark kelp swayed around my feet. The viridian tubes keep coming, edged with shining ermine, but it was time to go.
After stopping at Finn McCools shop to pick up some funky surf jewellery as presents for my nieces and nephews I packed up and turned the car south into a glorious day as happy as I have been in a while.