Weekend visitors!

in me

Aafke and Eadaoin in the kitchen at Raleigh Row

I spent today wrapped up writing a two-year retrospective of my life. The retrospective was to be a grand post that overlooked everything from the day it all fell apart for me through to today. I threw it out. I have already spoken about all that in a dozen or more blog posts. A few thousand more words will not offer any new insight on events, and so I binned the post and started again.

In short: I was bad. I was an abuser and the abused in turn while my ex and I spiralled down. I-we-did awful things: Physical abuse, emotional blackmail, and shitty little snipes launched like mortars across a battlefield.

And I paid the awful price for it when I lost my kids. I went to dark places, and there was a whole year where I dropped off the face of the work outside of college work and engagements. I clocked up diagnoses of PTSD and depression, and I cut myself off from friends and family because I hated myself.

But step by step, I recovered and rebuilt my life. I finished the year at college, deferred the rest, and went home to Galway. I gradually came back into contact with my ex and kids. I gave Caira and Garrett and my ex a humble and lengthy apology, and I have attempted to be my childrens’ dad as best I can over a shitty Skype connection. It hasn’t been easy.

And now it has been two years. I am alive, healthy, happy, engaged, and at an uneasy peace with the past.

Aafke and Eadaoin on the beach at Sliverstrand


In June I struck up conversations with Eadaoin of City of Blackbirds over the Iveagh Gardens picnic. We chatted, we laughed, we clicked and kept in touch through the following week.

I travelled up to meet Eadaoin again Wicklow last weekend. We hiked the length of the cliff walk between Greystones and Bray. It was a gorgeous, perfect day. There was ice cream, sunshine, photographs, and Snowdon in Wales.

Eadaoin and Aafke in turn came down to Galway on Friday. Aafke stayed for the day, Eadaoin the weekend.

Aafke and Eadaoin arrived into Galway just before lunchtime on Monday. To me fell the task of navigating the car from Briarhill to my home. Through lunchtime traffic. In the rain. Put bluntly, Galway made me do a bad job. Galway, baby, I love you. Why you gotta make me hit you? You change junctions, you remove exits, and you replace roundabouts. Baby, be good to me.

We had to double back at Ballybane-twice!-and again at the bottom Tirellan Heights. Aafke turned wrong in Newcastle and, we took a wrong incorrect roundabout exit in Terryland. There was a final lap of victory around the Cathedral and Nun’s Island to get to Raleigh Row. Thank you one-way system.

Okay, look-we didn’t die. We got to my house, had a cup of coffee, and ran up town with Aafke pick up some clothes. After that I exploited my exploitive nature. I exploited the presence of Aafke’s car for an exploitive drive evening drive around Connemara.

Aafke wanted to stop at Silver Strand, so at Silver Strand we stopped:

Lough Glenicmurren in Connemara

It pissed rain Friday morning. There was biblical thunder and lightning as Eadaoin left Dublin. There was also a report of drizzle at Aafke’s, and I got soaked by torrential downpours in Galway.

The sun hammered down at Silver Strand on Friday afternoon. It was beautiful-azure skies, white sands, roiling mirages on the horizon, and fluffy clouds. We didn’t stay too long, because both Eadaoin and Aafke were fit to murder somebody if they didn’t have lunch. We kept going and ate at Padraicins restaurant near Spiddal. I pointed out the Cliffs of Moher to Eadaoin from across the bay, and with Aafke clucked in disapproval at the fashion choices of a wedding party.

The third big stop was Lough Glenicmurren near Costello. Take the road from Rossaveal to Costello. Just before Costello, turn right onto the R1201 and continue straight. You cannot miss Glenicmurren, as it is the big lough on your left. There is a spot where you can park your car and walk down to a pier at the shore.

I don’t know when I last felt so at peace. There was a heady scent of petrichor that for all the world smelled like Las Vegas after the rain. We enjoyed a stunning view across the fells and bogs to the Twelve Bens, and it was silent by the shore except for the breeze.

I untied knots I didn’t know I had. It was bleak and barren at Glenicmurren, all water and stone and sky, and it was perfect.

The rest of the drive was less dramatic. Aafke, Eadaoin, and I drove on to Oughterard, and down to University Road in Galway. Aafke dropped us off by the university and took the Quincentennial Bridge to go home, so she wouldn’t get stuck in evening traffic.

Eadaoin and I hung out for the rest of the weekend. I showed her Salthill, the Claddagh, and Galway Bay, because Tipperary has a sad lack of interesting things to look at.

There was food and wine and good company and a lot of photography around the town.

On Saturday we wandered around Claddagh. The day had been dull, but right at sunset the clouds broke and the setting sun shone through.

Sunset over Galway

And then on Sunday Eadaoin and I walked to Salthill and back. She treated me to lunch, I pointed out the sights along the coast, and went back home along the back roads and estates.

That was the weekend. Brilliant and fun and perfect, with great company.

Eadaoin in Salthill

Six Months in the Mountain Kingdom

in me

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