Who would have thought we would have days like these? The landscape is tinged with a golden hue as the crimson light sets seawards each evening. We on the shoreline are lulled into a balmy calm. In the glow, the ordinary becomes magical again. Sand becomes the stuff of dreams for the curious child, the sea sparkles in azure blue enticing even the most reluctant swimmer to take that leap. There’s a buzzing fly hangin’ around the bluebells and the daisies…
Visitors on our Caminos in Waterford have loved the sunshine. There’s an extra spring in the step even under the midday sun. Light radiates energy and we all feed off it. The eclectic shades of attractions here in Waterford are all the more resplendent on a sunny day; mountains, greenway, sea, woods, gardens, cycle routes. Pool them together, add sunshine, and you have something unique.
Waterford always had spell-binding walks and trails but somehow everything seems so much more accessible now. Once separate entities are starting to see the bigger picture and work together. Collaboration is the name of the game and in everyone’s interest. There is a seismic movement at play in how tourism is evolving and all involved need to read the signs. Visitors are looking for something different, something outdoor that invigorates the spirit. Waterford does not disappoint. It has so many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
There is something so refreshingly positive about the Waterford Greenway experience. We’ve started to blend a Greenway cycle into our Waterford Camino experience and our visitors love it. Starting from the Durrow Carpark at O’ Mahony’s, we cycle at a leisurely pace into Dungarvan and take time to absorb all that we survey along the way. Life feels good as you rest the limbs over lunch and take in all that this beautiful town has to offer.
As you cycle, you leave the world as you know it and are transported to a different space, a sphere beyond our normal consciousness. Adjusting to the radiant hues as we leave the dimmed enchantment of Durrow Tunnel behind, surveying the panoramic vista that awaits us as we free wheel towards Clonea, witnessing the feverish excitement of children as they take this magical odyssey for the first time… you feel privileged simply to be part of it all.
The trail up through Crough Woods to the Mahon Falls has left deep imprints on those who have shared the Camino with us. It’s a walk that not too many know about yet it has everything. It’s a gradual 4 km. climb from the base of the woods up to the Mahon Falls above and you know you are alive when you reach the top. Nature bares its soul as you meander your way upwards to source.
In the dark, the eye begins to see – so true of this walk, so true of life! The soothing sound of the waters rolling downstream provides the perfect backdrop to this adventure. We are shielded in the shade as the light glimmers through on occasion. It is a world apart. In the stillness, all that once defined us is left behind. The water flows by, unwavering in its course, reminding us of what is yet to come.
When we emerge, an amphitheatre of age old rock opens of before us. There’s a subliminal symmetry to it all – sheep, mountains, rocky hillsides… and the water cascades downwards to the awaiting ocean as it has done for millions of years. You sense you are enveloped in something timeless.
The arrival at the Falls completes all that we have experienced en route. The journey matters but reaching the destination is in itself spectacular. It’s great to take a seat on a rock and soak your feet in the streams below and take time to absorb the wonder of it all. No medication could have the same impact!
It’s always good to return to the shore on sunny days. It’s like a tropical oasis out in Newtown Cove at the moment. It has a magnetic draw for people of all ages. Some of our visitors have loved the swim, others prefer to stand on the headland above and take in the mesmerizing view across Tramore Bay. Once you get over the fear of taking that plunge, the thrill kicks in. Children, grandparents, lovers, friends face down their demons and jump. The rush of adrenaline on impact shocks the body back to life. Re-charged and re-booted, you’re ready for the world again!
These simple delights are what make life worth living. The light is glimmering in ways we may not have noticed before. A cycle, a walk through shaded trees, a jump in the sea, a paddle in a stream – our parents and their parents before them have been doing it for years. In a round-about way, we are returning to the ways of old in our search for something new – something free. Here beyond the narrowed walls of digital illusion, we experience the world with our own eyes rather than through the lens of others.
Moments on the Camino remind us that we are not alone, that we are part of something greater. Miniature and all as our life may appear in the universal scheme of things, what each of us do now actually matters. Starting today, learn more, laugh more and do what you truly love to do. The destination is not what matters. The point is making the most of every step in between.
Stillness is the stepping stone to peace. In the rush to compete and achieve, we can easily pass over the smaller, more incidental moments in life. Greek poet Constantine Cavafy said the following of Homer’s epic odyssey to the island of Ithaca, words that echo as much today as they did in 1911 when first penned:
“When you set out for Ithaca ask that your way may be long, full of adventure and full of instruction. Have Ithaca always in your mind. Your arrival there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the voyage at all. It is better to let it last for years; and even to anchor at the isle when you are old, rich with all that you have gained on the way, not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches. Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage. Without her you would never have taken the road”
Since our last post, Elaine and I have enjoyed our special wedding day among family and friends. We know that wherever our path takes us, we will gravitate towards light, laughter, music, family and friends… a great combo! I’ll finish this week with the uplifting sounds of Liam O’ Maonlai who honoured us with his presence and his music on our wedding day.
For further information on Waterford Camino, contact Phil and Elaine on firstname.lastname@example.org
Special thanks to… Aisling Gordon for the wedding photos on video, Colin French for the drone footage and editing and to the Hot House Flowers for the music.