This faded photo, for me, evokes green, emerald green.
Back a few years, I was a turning point in my life, I’d stepped out of working in advertising in the West End of London and was unemployed and volunteering in a hostel for young homeless people. I had an old iron bicycle, which I’d brought for 10 quid, the furthest I went on it was the job centre to sign on. I was listening to a lot of Van Morrison and developed a romantic idea of cycling around Ireland. Two small panniers meant minimal luggage, a ruck sack chucked in the basket on the front to keep my lunch close to hand and two Van Morrison cassette tapes for my walkman, which I planned to listen to on repeat. My lone adventure – I was young and feeling invincible.
A ten day trip, cycling all day, and staying in B&B’s where ever I ended up in the evening. I love travel by bike, you see more, you can smell the world as you pass by, people speak to you. However, after two days cycling, it occurred to me that more cycling preparation had been required, my legs seized up and I couldn’t walk. I’d managed to get across Ireland and arrived at a friends parent’s house over looking the Shannon River. Enforced rest, many scones and some running repairs. We tied the old bicycle to the top of an old ford fiesta drove to the top of the Connor Pass. The bike and me were dropped off and I freewheeled into Dingle, to begin my journey proper.
Ireland, for me, fulfilled all the clichés, I found people warm, welcoming and friendly. The scenery lifts the spirit, it was, truly, emerald green. This photograph was taken at Slea head on the far west of the Dingle peninsular, early one morning. Not another soul there. The Atlantic stretched for thousands of miles in one direction but the most beautiful thing was the land, rich green fields, a pale green mist, green cliffs, lapped by green sea. I was listening to Van Morrison (of course, I only had Van Morrison) a track called Into the Mystic, at that moment the world was perfect and I sat on my bike, big tears rolling down my cheeks simply because it was all so beautiful; the Emerald Isle.
I wrote a longer post about this journey when I first started blogging you can read about it here.