Where the Tides Meet
The Atlantic rollers don’t quite reach Narin strand, its shelter coming from the looming headland of immovable rock that hides Portnoo Harbour and the small white sandy beach that faces her big sister across the bay. But it is not only the promontory that offers the succour of shelter to Narin from the wild Atlantic weather that can change a landscape at its will, land merciless to its long brewing moods that have travelled from far to the South West
Proud in the bay is Inishkeel island, well only an island at high tide, a causeway of pure white sand attaches her to Narin when the sea recedes. Uninhabited, a handful of shells, once belonging to a homestead, break up the hard rock, furze and heather. In its lee nestles a dark sand beach that can make the water a bright mackerel skin blue on a brooding day, the shelter giving this tiny beach its own climate when the weather turns. The mooring buoys in the shelter of Inishkeel are the only Lloyds approved moorings for many miles around which demonstrates this safe haven with a history of which we can only wonder.
Local open water swimmers use Inishkeel as a racetrack for their competitive days and training alike while children dream of the adventures therein whether reached by land or water.
When walking along the endless white sands of Narin strand, whether a surprisingly balmy May day; late on a summer's night when northern latitudes stay light when southern Europe is marred by neon or in mid-winter warmth coming only from the awe of being in such a landscape the rising tide, at just the right time threatens to take back the causeway and make the low water presque ile and island again. The chop comes in from two, nearly perpendicular angles giving this confluence a geometric quality that lends order to this untamed landscape. When the weather or ones mood is good Lear, the ancient Gaelic sea Goddess, wraps her arms around Inishkeel like a mother clutching a child. Protective, fierce yet kind. The child returned to the care of its mothers arms.
On a dark day when Donegal's climate and vista would make even the most obscure of Thomas Hardy's Wessex down land prose seem bight the perspective changes the sea, angry and grey, tossing up Kelp roots torn from the deep, steals the land away from Narin. A reminder of Lear's power that all along the Wild Atlantic way respect and relish in equal measure.
Sitting on the sand as the tide crept up towards me I contemplated the joining bodies of water in this magical place were generations meet, their differing angles also creating the most unique of geometric patterns in the form of family memories. This place where everyone is welcome, all visitors both respect and enjoy the weather and landscape, making the most of their time away from the realities of their lives. A short walk back to the western and most sheltered part of the beach the Carnaween Beach House where our restaurant quality food meets simple beach side local flavour is quite the place to wait for the right state of moon and brine to see this confluence at its best....then again if you're feeling cold the glass fronted restaurant will give you your own shelter until the time is just right to nip down and see it close up.
Spend a minute or two, whatever the weather, and let the joining of the tides, it sound and shapes, wash over your senses.