Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where the Grass is Greener: Day 4

The Aran Islands

The “Happy Hooker” was sailing smoothly. M was in an even cheerier mood that morning as he proudly announced that he was successful in his farm-animal-petting crusade. A donkey and a cow in one of the neighboring farms next to our bed and breakfast were very accommodating. The weather wasn’t as sunny as M though and for the first day since our trip, the skies were stubbornly gray. The wind reminded us of the stinging treachery of the sea. A few unfortunate girls on the boat wore flip flops and miniskirts.

Before long, the Aran Islands came into view. Inisheer is one of the smaller islands and it looked like a collage of grassy fields, unforgiving rocks and occasional wooden houses. I could not imagine living here in winter when the sea would offer no escape. As we boarded off the boat, men in horse carriages tried to cajole us into a tour. We opted for renting bicycles instead. The road started out smooth though a little hilly. We stopped at a church ruin encircled by a not so ancient cemetery. All of the tombstones had imposing Celtic heads and tall grass almost matched their height. Strangely enough, the church was several feet lower than the cemetery as if embedded into the ground. I suppose they must have unearthed it at some point and the local residents began burying their loved ones around the ruins.  It was a small church with a modest altar and the engravings of a Jesus-like figure suggested the medieval age. A little black bird paused on one of the crumbling walls, holding a squirming worm in its beak. I’m sure it was utterly indifferent to all churches, histories and gods...More>>