December in Rossbrin

In the past year I have returned to Rossbrin again and again in my posts. That’s not surprising, as it’s just a short and always rewarding walk down our Beautiful boreens:

It’s December, and we can expect anything in the way of weather. This is the mildest corner of Ireland: further north and east of us today, spanning Cavan, Donegal and Wicklow, heavy snow is falling and temperatures are forecast to drop to minus 8 degrees C in the coming hours. The last real bit of snow in West Cork came along seven years ago but we weren’t here, then, to see it (image below of Nead an Iolair in 2010 courtesy of our neighbours Dietrich and Hildegard Eckardt with, below it, today’s view of the Cove seen from the house):

Whatever the weather, our cove has something to offer – and every day is guaranteed to bring a mixture. When the sun is out we can bask in it as if it was the middle of summer, but it’s just as likely that there will be a stiff and invigorating breeze to accompany our bracing walks.

Above – reminders of summer pleasures to come as we wind down to the year’s end in Rossbrin: Andre’s catamaran – Danu – which he built himself, rides out the winter storms on a wet mooring in the Cove. The first of those storms – Ophelia – hit us last month, and there is a fair bit of wind damage still to be seen:

Traffic jam in Rossbrin!

Often, I will start out on the downhill walk with my head buzzing from the inexplicable madness of the outside world: British ethnocentricity, North American absurdity and worldwide chaos. Within minutes these concerns are receding, and when I reach the waterside I am overtaken by the immersive experience of natural things all around me and I find the solace of constancy: not much changes here. This little townland of Rossbrin is above and away from that buzzing, reeking world. It is a far saner place.

Since publishing this post we have received a communication from our good neighbour Julian, who lives down on the Cove, including some excellent photographs of the winter of 2010. Here’s one of them – thank you, Julian…

Cove in the snow 2010

15 thoughts

  1. Your photos and exposes are calming to the soul. Quiet your banter about politics. Let the world be and continue to share your slice of Ireland with the rest of us. I am second generation Irish is the USA. My dad was an Irish orphan. What I see in your photos I know in my heart. Thank you for putting a visual to the spirit that lives inside of me. God Bless.

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    • Thank you, Charlene. I think it’s ok, sometimes, to bring a bit of the present world – with all its paradoxes – into the equation. After all, this beautiful place is part of that world. My piece told how the landscape here provides a calming influence when there seems to be so much negativity and unhappiness going on elsewhere. The ‘banter’ has come entirely from the comments!

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  2. ha ! Robert glad you liked my pic of Rossbrin Cove in the snowy December of 2010 enough to add it to the blog – well done and thank you for this compliment ! Having just read Ginny Jones USA and Sine Nomine above remarks, I think 2017 will go down in my own memory as the year that I watched Blue Planet 2, rather than any political developments which I regard as pretty unimportant compared to the issues that Sir David Attenborough invites us all to consider. Looking at this Blog, I feel that you and Finola are on Attenborough’s pay-roll (metaphorically, of course!) and more concerned with the incredible beauty and ecological heritage all around us than you are with the soundbites of politicians and their often absurd policies? The 2017 ongoing Plastic Ocean campaign on Sky TV has surely been another milestone in public awareness of a very big problem where borders and customs regulations are pretty irrelevant – the oceans of the entire planet. Tariffs on tomatoes? Who cares? Shouldn’t we rather focus on the real “united working community” (humanity itself) to end practices and policies which we can all see with growing clarity are threatening to destroy most of life on earth, rather than worry overmuch about shifting political structures? In short, cheer up – there is ground for great optimism in 2018!

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    • Julian – and the other respondents here – it does seem a bit inappropriate, I agree, to bring politics into a piece about a tranquil place such as Rossbrin. However, I do care about the world and its future (possibly more than many politicians today appear to). I also care about people working together in communities – for me, friendship is much more important than economic issues which, as has been said, fluctuate in all directions over time.

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  3. This American island dweller often spends time by our local Great Pond, by Vineyard Sound, or looking out at the Atlantic to help fuzz out the rest of the world. Looking at over the water can give a lot of spiritual comfort. By the way, our country isn’t absurd as you suggested, most of us here are reasonably ethical and endowed with a healthy moral compass. Alas, the current administration is demonstrably insane with a president and his old white henchmen who are so far beyond the pale in terms of progressive, thoughtful, compassionate or even rational governance that many Americans are either desperately upset or have gone into a trance. Only 26% of those eligible to vote actually voted for Trump. Many Americans either didn’t vote or aren’t registered to vote. Shame on them! And we have the Electoral College which has gerrymandered and rigged elections. Trump was close to 3 million votes shy of Mrs. Clinton. It is the one thing that he is correct about — the election was rigged, so that he could win despite having significantly less votes. The links and ties to Russia and the vast sums of money spent to manipulate our election are sickening. Every day as I read the news (on line — no TV!) I feel sick. Fortunately I can go down by my “center for spiritual healing” to say a little prayer that one of the two guys with the funny hair dos doesn’t push the nuclear button. Self assured destruction! I investigated getting an Irish passport (Irish grandmother) but she was born in the US and not in Ireland…………..alas. You are correct, the rest of the world is certainly a mess — I fear for the future.

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    • Well, Ginny, there’s not a lot to say in response to that! I guess you have neatly summed up the situation from the viewpoint of a shocked insider. I felt just the same when Britain voted to leave the EU: years of building a united working community in which Britain was completely involved now jettisoned in favour of – what? Nobody knows – least of all the politicians who are responsible for it. Yet we are democracies; if we don’t like the way they work it is up to us to change them, from within.

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      • Robert, Regarding the UK’s exit from the EU, the process was entirely democratic. Those who voted to leave feel no expiation for their decision. The frequent problem with democracy is that when a group or individual does not like a particular decision it attempts to undermine it. Here in Ireland we cannot properly suppose that we understand the British better that they understand themselves, and although outside observers may proffer advice, we most respect the decision of the electorate. I have spoken to many individual’s & businesses in the UK who actually agree that independence from the EU will ultimately bring greater prosperity in the long run. We must not base our assumptions on a short term analysis, the impact of Brexit will only properly be assessed in 10 or 20 years time. In the main people are reluctant to change, do you recall how this country recoiled when the Euro currency was introduced? Yet almost 2 decades on the fiscal assessment would be that, by in large it has been successful. I am frustrated writing all this, as ‘Roaring Water Journal’ should not concern itself with politics and continue to lift us above our momentary troubles by focusing our attention on the beauty of our emerald isle. I trust normal service will resume forthwith.

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      • When the people of Northern Ireland democratically voted to remain in the EU it is bad faith on the UK government to drag them kicking & screaming into an entity where they will languish at the mercy of the unknown .

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