“Donn Fírinne was in the clouds last evening – today would be bad…” Donn Fírinne was a Munster fairy-king always connected with weather omens: …the people said that Donn collected the clouds on his hill (Cnoc Fírinne, Co Limerick) and held them there for a short while to warn of approaching rain, and from the reliability of this sign came his name, Donn of Truth… (from The Festival of Lughnasa, Máire MacNeill, University College Dublin 2008)
Only a month ago I wrote a post about a very low tide: I hadn’t realised that we were heading for an exceptional event, the lowest tide of the century! So I felt that our readers deserved to have this circumstance recorded as well, even though it involved braving what was probably the least hospitable weather that the spring has come up with so far! I should have taken notice of the omens from Donn, but instead I went out into the cold, pervading rain.
Out into the weather: the high road at Cappaghglass at its wettest
The day was last Thursday, 7th April, and the tide prediction was a low of 0.00, just after noon. 0.00! You can’t get much lower than that. But we have to remember that tide predictions are just that – predictions. It’s a bit like weather forecasting – there are so many factors which can affect the outcome. Tides can vary from the predictions because of winds, atmospheric pressure, even the salinity and temperature of the sea, evidently. However, although I can’t vouch for the 0.00 (wouldn’t that mean that the sea was empty?) I can confidently state that the shoreline had receded further than I’ve ever seen it before.
Top: Ballydehob Bay just a mud flat – Bottom: the 12-arched bridge has lost its river
I followed the coastline all the way from Ballydehob Bay to our own Rossbrin Cove. Sure enough, whenever you could glimpse the sea, it wasn’t to be seen! But that might have had something to do with the all encompassing fog that had descended.
Is it a wreck? Or some debris discarded in the Cove?
The modern quay in Rossbrin Cove seemed stranded and pointless, but Fineen O’Mahony’s tower house still managed to catch a reflection as the tide began to turn.
Rossbrin Castle – Fineen O’Mahony’s tower house – seen through a spotted lens
Of course, what goes down has to come up and – in the evening – I ventured out again to see the ‘high’ of 3.30.
Evening high water in Ballydehob (top) and at the quay in Rossbrin (below) – note the improvement in the weather!
This is Ireland, so the day that was in it had changed completely with the tide: now we enjoyed clear blue skies and (watery) sunshine. Walking the shoreline was a pleasure! To be honest, you have to find your pleasure here from taking to the trails whatever the weather (as many of our occasionally bedraggled visitors might testify). It’s fine, as long as you have a good fire in the hearth to come home to…