en fy eu mk sl ga

Karen Bies

2018-07-03 11:55 — Dublin, Ireland

Belmullet #3 Uisce

First of all, this was a big swamp, Ian says. In the 18th century they dug the canal. It connects Broadhaven Bay with Blacksod Bay. I am with Ian McAndrew in his car, he will show me the Mullet peninsula. We drive fast over the narrow roads. The single cyclist is not very safe on these roads, I think for in Fryslân we have cycle paths. Ian greets everyone we pass. He seems to be known by all. 

Then we are over the dunes. The first days I was here Blacksod Bay was nice enough, just about the same size as the 'Snitsermar', the Lake of Sneek. But this is something completely different. The Atlantic ocean, so blue, so blue. And quiet. Ian cannot remember he has ever seen the sea so calm as today. The waves caress the beach like feathers, soft and white. 

Look, there is New York, Ian says. He wipes away the sweat of his burned pink head. It's been very hot in Ireland already for a week. Unlike last year, that was a summer of fog, rain and storm. Ian says, 'In 2017 we have not seen the sun for 11 months.' 

'Really?' I say. Ian McAndrew likes to exaggerate and I have no trouble with it. We both like to play our role. He is the guide who is full of stories and I'm the tourist who is impressed. Together we can get along well. 

We arrive at Tobar Naomh Deirbhile, the source of the Holy Dervla. ‘Let me tell you this story,’ Ian says. ‘It was in the 6th century. A landlord was after Dervla. But she did not want to marry him, she wanted to dedicate her life to God. She asked the man what it was he liked so much about her. The landlord says 'Your eyes.’ Then Dervla stuck out her own eyes and threw them on the ground. Here a spontaneous well arose. It is now a place of pelgrimage for people who suffer with diseases of the eye. 

Ian goes on his knees and washes his eyes in the well. And that's what I'm doing. The water is cold and clear. 'Holy Dervla,' I whisper and let the water run in my eyes. I'm not a religious person, but at this moment Ian has me believing everything.