I. Avondale House
I wanted to bring you to a place of meaning, meaning, I wanted to bring you somewhere that meant something to me so it could mean something to you. So there we were, halfway to the estate of someone whose name meant nothing to both of us, where a century before my Gran was born in the servants’ quarters. But the satnav wrong-turned us in Rathdrum, set us dead off course, to a time and a place we may never have reached had we meant to.
We circled the valley’s twin lakes searching for remains of St Kevin’s Cell, me in hope of reading Heaney’s poem riverside, but all we came across were his Kitchen and Bed. Still, we pushed ahead through an oak wood splashed with bluebells and holly, jackdaws raucous in the branches, until a soft winter light draped its raw silk over the upper lake. By the time we turned back for the carpark I’d forgotten the Saint, any reason we came.
III. Ballysmuttan Upper
Dawn mist and a small scattering of red deer haunting the valley where we stepped from the stone cottage down the boreen, the matte grey sky, the mizzle and our groggy minds doing little to slacken our sense of the world undeniably changed yet the same, the black strand of the Liffey slipping away to the city then the bay then the sea. Any plans we had were set aside when we sat on the riverbank watching the water, waiting for nothing at all.