Lightness of being on a deserted winter beach

crowBack on the beach. The tide is but a distant swoooosh, a faintly pulsing thrum that draws you in to listen for its intermittent soothing surges. The light is low and the air is grey and heavy but throbbing high and low with trills, tweets, warbles and whistles.

The sounds are coming from every direction and none in this sweeping quadrophonic soundscape. So bracing, so full and so invigorating. Continue reading

Litter and sewage spoil Rush beach stroll

Looks like the poo will always be with us


At play on the North Beach in Rush, Co Dublin. Just don’t mention the raw sewage being pumped straight out to sea nearby by Fingal Council

low swathe of diaphanous cloud is puffing across a clear denim-blue sky as down Kilbush Lane we go, Bella, my wiry black and white terrier mix, and I. We’re on our way to the North Beach in Rush, Co Dublin, for our early morning ramble.

There’s a north-easterly wind would cut through you, though, and an old salt who has stepped out from a galvanised shed for a roll-up, welding mask pushed to the top of his shaven knobbly head, remarks, “It’s a bit blowy.”

“Tis a bit,” I reply in kind.

Blowy? The fur on Bella’s black face is parted and her ears are flat against her head, making her look like a startled hawk from the front.

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Beached, bothered and bewildered in Rush

Forget Brexit: why are Fingal Council combing our North Beach?


Yeah, I suppose I am a bit aghast  at the Brexit Leave result. And  mildly worked up for sure about the Donald Trump phenomenon and vaguely troubled by all sorts of global things when I am reminded. Or somebody posts something on my social media feeds. Or the News comes on.

But just now I am actually rooted in silent, bludgeoned dismay,  a marooned and lonely sea stack finally aware of its weathering disintegration, and the end of all things coming, when I see that Fingal Council tractor thing turning the sand yet again on the North Beach in Rush. Continue reading

Sunrise on Rush

A moment of transcendence on the North Beach


The sun rises over Lambay Island. Photograph: Leo Bissett

Early morning on the North Beach in Rush. The sun rising slowly from behind Lambay Island is transmitting a vivid apricot light that pierces the low black clouds, and I am witnessing a moment of unfolding transfiguration.

A long triangular beam of light from the shimmering disc picks out a broken apricot pathway across the quietly swashing waters to the soft wet sand under my feet.  All is apricot as the familiar vista of cliffs, Martello tower, sea and lighthouse to my left and harbour cove and houses to my right is infused with an unearthly beauty.

The light is so strong I have to avert my eyes and hazy fragmenting images of sun, harbour and tower are tattooed briefly on the screen of sand before fading away. The sun is well clear of the island now and has dimmed to an unremarkable daylight.

It’s funny to be present at  moments such as this, at once natural and, dare I think it, supernatural. Heaven, the divine and creation continue to elude me, but yet what is this feeling that something might be shaping this moment that I could so easily have missed?

In that moment, the sun was like a huge lens that an invisible hand was directing at the shore in front of me, making me think of the magnifying glass I would hold up to the same sun when I was a boy and direct at a piece of paper to set fire to it.  I walk on.

— Enda Sheppard