In our early days here I read in a couple of places that Roaringwater Bay got its name from the Roaringwater River, which in turn derived its name from the sound of the water tumbling over the rocks as it neared the sea. Now, I know better. The water in this huge bay, with its multiple islands and rocks, does roar. Not all the time, of course – you could live beside it for weeks, even months and never hear it.
But after a storm, when the wind has died down, the rain has stopped, and all is calm we fling open the doors to enjoy once more the bright sunshine and balmy air. That’s when it stops us in our tracks: a constant roar, like a distant jet engine, or a working factory just out of sight. The first time we heard it we were viewing a house on a hill about a mile inland and came around to the side facing the sea – and there it was. It took us a while to figure out what we were hearing: it sounded like some kind of foundry or industrial equipment. (Aha! So that’s why they want to sell this place!) It gradually dawned on us that there was nothing like that in this isolated spot and that what we were hearing was coming from much further away – from the sea, in fact.
Once back home we got out the spotting scope and could clearly see the waves crashing against the islands. In the aftermath of the storm the water was still turbulent, with giant waves pounding against the rocky shores and breaking right over the rocky islets. The cliffs at the western end of Cape Clear were covered in sheets of salt spray. We have a clear view of the Fastnet Rock (more about this in a future post) and in particularly wild conditions we can see waves breaking over it, reaching up to the trunk of the enormous lighthouse.
Our recent storms have been, as we say in West Cork, mighty. A particularly vicious series of gale, storm and hurricane force winds (9, 10, 11 and 12 on the Beaufort Scale) has wreaked havoc along the coast. Yesterday we went to Ahakista on the Sheep’s Head. The damage there has been recorded by Amanda – click here to see her photos and account. We had a respite from the winds today – a perfect opportunity to listen to the roaring water.
Tonight we are expecting another onslaught, like the one on St. Stephen’s night that Robert reported on in his last post. I have discovered the Earth Winds Map – one of the coolest sites on the internet. Updated every three hours, it shows how the winds are flowing around the earth. This screen capture shows the Atlantic storm that is heading for us and packing winds of 109km per hour. That’s classified as “Violent Storm” and just a few km/h short of a hurricane. Met Ireland has issued a warning, especially for areas affected by high tides, of storm surges and potential flooding. We will hunker down and keep our fingers crossed for ourselves and our neighbours here in West Cork. And when it’s all over, we will listen for the roaring of the waters.