January 28, 2016 Eddie Shanahan

TERRIBLE BEAUTY

Irish Landscapes

 

The mists swirl smearing the car widow, flinging icy drops of moisture over the edge of every contour. I am on the deserted road that drags itself across the Knockmealdown mountains between the villages of Clogheen and Lismore.

Suddenly the spectre of tumbling walls strobes softly through the dreary grey light. A ghostly pile of bricks comes into focus. There is a deserted cottage lying in the folds of the broken landscape on the right hand side of the road.

 ”a deserted cottage lying in the folds of the broken landscape…Here is the terrible beauty of an Irish winter’s day… harsh, ravaged, rain sodden and breath taking…”

Stained clouds drift like a giant blanket overhead. Here is the terrible beauty of an Irish winter’s day – harsh, ravaged, rain sodden and breath taking. I must stop.

I can almost see the wind but despite the bitter weather, discomfort is temporarily suspended. The bleak afternoon is filled with wonder, like finding a long lost painting by some favourite artist.

Sheep hop and pick their way through reeds and heather. Some look warily over crumbling remains of old stone walls. Dye stained strands of wool flutter like torn flags on the spurs of barbed wire fences. Moss, lichen, bark, peat and granite knit tightly together in a damp patchwork. Towering trees create a jagged frame along the blurred horizon. Ribbons of white water rush, rustle and carve their way from the higher ridges. Stony paths twist, in and out of sight, meandering across this vista of drowned colours.

Many superlatives come to rest in this unexpected pleasure.

About the Author

Eddie Shanahan Retail and fashion consultant based in Dublin, Ireland