In all these posts, and all these months I've been writing at Absolutely Lucy, there's one thing I've never got round to telling you. For a very long time, I was utterly convinced I was a mermaid, and actually, to this very day, I'm still not completely convinced otherwise. Why you ask? Because I love the sea, I love the rivers and I love the lakes. I even love the pond up the road. I think I must have got this from my mother, I just love to be around open water, but particularly near the coast. Much as I love trips to cities and more built up areas, for me you just can't beat the wide open beaches and the brisk, fresh, clean air rushing in off the ocean - I crave it. There's just something so simple, soothing and pure about being by the ocean, no matter how much is going on if your life it all just seems to float away on the endless sea.
“Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away.”
I used to stretch out bath-time like you wouldn't believe as a kid, and even when I was older, I was always the last to get out of the swimming pool. Whether at swimming lessons or on holiday, I'd stay in until I was forced out and my hands were wrinkled. I just loved diving under the water, where things all became muffled and voices became faint, where all the problems of the surface seemed a million miles away. To this day, I still find swimming one of the most soothing things, it still helps me more than yoga, pilates and meditation combined. But even just the feeling of being by the sea is enough these days. As some of you will know, this year has been particularly stressful for me for various reasons and in times of stress I have found that a walk at the beach has done wonders.
So with that in mind, it seemed only right and proper that my final Ireland post of the week is all about the stunning beaches we visited the day after the wedding. Amazingly, after the rubbish weather the day before, the sun was beaming down all day long, leaving us with a glorious Saturday. Slightly hungover and desperate for some fresh air to blow away the cobwebs, we headed out to visit two of our favourite beaches and another one that blew me away. We started our trip by heading to Woodstown Beach, somewhere I had never visited before, but I was astounded by the beauty of this wide open sandy beach, dotted here and there with dog walkers, runners and the odd walker like ourselves. Enclosed in a huge bay, the beach felt completely exposed and unpopulated, and yet sheltered from the harsher elements - you could see how many happy summers were spent with local kids playing in the sand. We walked the entire length of the beach, watching the waves, nudging driftwood with our feet and collecting sea shells.
Our next destination took us to one of my favourite places in Ireland, Dunmore East, where last year I attended a wedding in a hotel overlooking the sea. It was a beautiful wedding, and a stunning setting for the occasion, and again we were so lucky with the weather! The sun shone throughout the weekend and gave us plenty of time to walk the beaches, the coastal walks and to eat out by the sea. It was perfect and I was so excited to return and see all of those gorgeous sights again. I wasn't disappointed and had a lovely wander around the village, before popping into The Strand, a pub over looking the stunning view below, for an amazing seafood lunch. One thing I really love about this place is that it is so unpretentious, so unassuming, and so untouched. There are no "touristy" or tacky amusements, no arcades, no greasy chip shops, none of that nonsense. This place has been allowed to remain as naturally beautiful as possible, like time has stood still, and that is what makes me want to keep coming back.
We finished the afternoon by popping to Tramore, just a bit further along the coast from Waterford, for an ice cream and a walk along the prom. Slightly more touristy, this is where you get the fun fair rides and the chip shops, but turn towards the sea and you'd never know it. Surfers making their way into the swell, choppy wave washing towards the shore, where families with young children play, run and build sandcastles. Further along, on a concrete slop into the waves, a group of old couples sit along the wall, the men enjoying an ice cream while the women brave the waves for a swim! It may have been sunny, but it wasn't very warm and you wouldn't have caught me in there! Further along the slope, with mummy and daddy not far behind her, a little girl is all trussed up in her coat with bare feet as she runs into the sea giggles and runs away as the waves chase her up the slope. Facing the sea, you could have stepped back in time 50 years, and that is the charm of the place, not the shiny bright colours of the fair, but the quaint tradition of the town. Check out the photos from the top of this post for more of Tramore.
Just as I'm sure there are those out there who couldn't understand how I could cope living in a rural Norfolk town for so many years, I cannot understand for a second how people can cope without every visiting the sea. I love living so close, and make it my business to get even closer as often as possible. Watching the waves is the best therapy for me and after my Mindfulness post from last week, I think it is the one thing that will always help me to gain perspective.
Have you visited any Irish beaches - which is your favourite? Do you love the sea like I do? What helps soothe you when life gets tough?