My second of 10 sojourns to Ireland was a summer-long storytelling tour of the island that was certainly one of the highlights of my life. I kept copious journals recording my remarkable experiences. When I read them in 1996, I realized there was a book in it. So I wrote one. Took about a year and a half, but it was time well spent. I am a much better writer as a result, and let’s face it: anyone can begin writing a book. It’s an achievement to FINISH writing a book. I never attempted to publish, as travel writing is like milk: it has an expiration date. The Ireland I describe in this book no longer exists. Little more than a decade later, it is almost an historical document. But it’s good. I like it. It’s fun to read. That is enough. It would be even better if people would read it. Books like having readers. It makes them happy.
* * *
. It had been another unforgettable evening of extraordinary craic, but when the night was gone and the pub cleared out, I still wasn’t ready to go back to the tight confines of our hired room, so I decided to take a sobering stroll down the deserted quay, to experience the singular enchantment of Dingle Harbor after midnight.
. A wicked fog had rolled in off the sea, cloaking the inlet in a gossamer blanket of gray. A soupy atmosphere obliterated everything surrounding me, forcing me to ramble very slowly- tapping one foot ahead to verify terra-firma, the other foot catching up when I determined it was safe. I could see nothing- until I was just upon it.
. Like the stranded carcass of a massive whale, something huge, amazing and mysterious slowly began to materialize in the misty haze before me! The closer I got, the less certain I was, what I was looking at. The enigmatic mass had an eerie, supernatural quality to it, that made the hairs on the nape of my neck stand to prickly attention. Still, I shuffled forward with great caution, afraid to stumble, or fall headlong into the unseen water around me.
. Finally, I recognized the nautical apparition as a lonely ghost-ship, long abandoned in the harbor, scuttled and left for the angry elements to reclaim. Turing at a bend in the quay, I worked my way to the edge and stopped, drinking in the surreal sensation. I could hear boats creaking softly but I couldn’t see them, until the fog momentarily lifted, revealing flickering lights fluttering inside many of the bobbing cabins. Houseboats. People were living in floating shanties that didn’t look vaguely seaworthy. Then, just as suddenly as it lifted, the moist ashen blanket returned with a vengeance. I couldn’t see any part of me as I urinated drunkenly off the tip of the quay.
. Zipping up, I staggered gingerly back towards safety, ambling up the skinny lane and returning to our B and B- finally crawling into bed with a peacefully snoozing Tina, who seemed, as ever- a precious vision of loveliness!
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