Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Visit to Derrynane, Co.Kerry.

by Cecily Lynch 

Cecily Lynch

( Home of Daniel  O'Connell, The Great Liberator)

On a sunlit August afternoon I approached the rugged beauty of Derrynane, a national park on the famous ring of Kerry.  A winding road,  heavy gates, an avenue -  and there was the house, well preserved and  lovely to behold.  To the right was a glasshouse where  was displayed the golden coach which carried Daniel O'Connell, an activist for the poor Irish peasant in the mid-nineteenth century through the streets of Dublin in  a triumphant  parade.  To the left lay the lawns and sand dunes, behind which lay the golden sands and crystal clear waters of a lovely beach. Near it perched on an island was the ancient abbey cemetery, still in use.  It is most dramatic to see a funeral cortege wend its way across the sands, the coffin held aloft over the shallow waters.

Beauty of landscape lay all around.  The groves, the bays, the coves and inlets, the long stretches of golden sand and the rocky promontory of Lambs Head, delighted the eye.  The islands in the bay, Deenish and Scarriff, glistened in the sun.  The curving range of mountains was a background to the little groups of holiday homes among the bare rocks.
The history of Ireland lay before me near Coomakista, a steep incline facing the Scelligs.In the foreground were megalithic tombs, dating from 3.000 BC.  They faced the sea and the setting sun illuminated them.

 Nearby a stone circle pointed  towards the solar and lunar events, a place of religious worship for megalithic peoples.  Some yards away lay a perfectly preserved ring fort dating from  the early middle ages.  Still further,  scattered remains of famine villages, told the tale of hardship and deprivation.  Between these lay the stout farmhouses of perhaps two hundred years, still strong. And near them were the modern bungalows and beautiful holiday homes built during the Celtic Tiger years. I walked on, hunched under my knapsack and thought of  the harsh times gone by when people lived in and loved this dramatic landscape, people of my own race whose genes I carry on into the twenty first century.  May I carry the torch for them.

Cecily Lynch

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