An oasis of calm… Dunmore East
The space shuttle uses more fuel during its first 3 minutes after takeoff than it requires for the remainder of its orbit around the entire earth. The magnetic pull of the world takes great energy to overcome. So true of the space shuttle, so true of our lives! It’s easier sometimes to get drawn into the ways of the world than to open our eyes to what really matters. We do not need to soar to the galaxies beyond to appreciate the wonders of the universe. Star dust lies speckled in the land around us beyond the gaze of a busy mind.
Places of amazing peace and beauty draw us into the vast expanse of mystery. When we ease the rhythmic cadence of our lives, we begin to observe what we may not have noticed before. Water cascading against the rocks at high tide, the warm embrace of light as we leave the dimmed enchantment of the woods behind, flowers daring to show their face across snow-drenched headland, the shimmering glow of the ocean as the sun sets… all soothe the rumblings within and ease us into an unknown world. Dunmore East, more than anywhere I know, does it for me!
It takes time to soak in the unique charm and character of this unspoiled piece of Ireland… to become enchanted by this magical place. The spell-binding beauty of Dunmore East has a mesmeric way of slowing the pulse right down. Long before recorded history, people lived in this hallowed corner of Ireland’s Ancient East. They fished the seas and tilled the land to sustain them through the ravages of the seasons. Its name can be traced to a promontory fort built during the Iron Age referred to by local inhabitants then as Dún Mór, the Great Fort. When you take a trail in Dunmore East, you walk quite simply in the footsteps of those who have gone before.
The Dunmore East Cliff Walk lulls us unknowingly into a mystical space. This ancient 3 km. trail meanders its way from the harbour to Portally Cove across a recently cleared pathway. Many proud locals have worked hard to make this possible. Generations to come can now follow the trail of their ancestors. Below the cliff lies inlets and smugglers’ caves carved out of conglomerate red sandstone, known locally as “pudding sandstone”, which was used to construct the harbour from 1814. Here, the senses are stirred into life and are embalmed by the soothing embrace of the sea air.
It’s good on occasion to simply allow time to stand still, to ease the pace of the walk, to calm the tempest of the mind and soak it all in. Energy ripples in symmetry with the dancing of the waves. What we observe leaves lasting imprints; the magical hues of the azure ocean as it laps onto the flat rocks, the languid majesty of the seal as it basks in the sun, the silhouette of Hook Lighthouse as it peers out through misty skies. In observing the waters stretch out to the distant horizon, we sense intuitively the merging of what is near with timeless echoes from afar.
A short trip out to sea on return to the harbour completes this experience. You’d never know what you could meet as you sail out into the Bay. Dolphins, basking sharks and even whales have been spotted. Time in ‘The Keltoi Warrior’ is precious time. Brendan takes us on a voyage of discovery, sharing anecdotes on the coves and sea caves, narrowing the lens to absorb the sublime beauty of the miniscule against the towering backdrop of the cliffs. We are transported beyond our normal frontiers. It feels like a homecoming.
The Dunmore East to Creadon Head walk is equally memorable. This beautiful trail was once the ancient “main road” from Cork to London. An easy to moderate 6 km. walk along beach, lane and field, the views are breath-taking. Forty hand-hewn steps, leading down to sea-level can still be found in the rocks. At the base of the peninsula is ‘Trá na Mná Gorm’ (The Strand of the Blue (negro) Women), giving credence to the legend that slaves were landed, or trans-shipped via the steps to far-away places. Their faint murmurings still linger as the sun descends on glistening waters.
It’s not easy to slow down in a world that moves at pace. The key to life is balance. Exertion without rest ultimately drains the spirit and stifles our real potential. We heave our way to our next target on the treadmill of life and rarely connect to source. You see the inner world does not reveal itself cheaply. It takes time. What is on the outside compares little to what lies within. More and more people are waking up to this reality.
The exploits of the Irish Rugby team warmed the collective hearts of a nation battling arctic conditions. They delivered a level of performance that suggested that there is even more to come from their incredible odyssey. Strength that endures is unearthed from within. We who surveyed their latest conquest knew they had gone deep into the well and retrieved all that was needed to help them achieve their common goal. Mind, body and soul in perfect synch! Such is the equilibrium we all need if we are to achieve our higher purpose.
Nature has a way of reminding us of who we are and what we are capable of. Each one of us can tap into the storehouse of energy and resilience on the inside. No one should think so little of themselves that they fail to see their own worth. When Michelangelo was asked how he carved the beautiful statue of David in Florence, he replied, “I just saw David in the block of marble without the blemish, and I just removed everything that wasn’t David.” We too are like that uncarved block of marble. There is magnificence inside of us all; something uncrushable waiting to be sculpted into life. The legacy we leave is born from within!
Our individual story is just one melodic movement in the wider symphony of the universe. No matter how small or insignificant we may appear, each one of us is part of something greater than ourselves. This is the mystery of life made simple. We all have a song to sing, a story to tell, a higher purpose to map out. There is a life force at play in the universe that can steer us on our way. Our inner compass must do the rest!
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence…
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should…
In the noisy confusions of life, keep peace with your soul… With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
(‘Desiderata’, Max Ehrmann 1927)
Dr. Phil Brennan and his fiancée Elaine are founders of Waterford Camino Tours. They will be partnering with the Strand Inn, Dunmore East to promote a series of cycling and walking trails with the Strand Inn Log Cabins as a base for the 3 to 5 Day Camino experience.
For further information, check out ‘Dunmore East-time for you’ or the ‘Leisure-Cycle Camino’, led by Michael Garland’ on waterfordcamino.com You can email Phil and Elaine directly on: firstname.lastname@example.org