Oh the warm weather! On Saturday summer arrived. It's staying the week and the lovely heat and sunshine makes our final days in Ireland all the sweeter. The last two Irish summers have been cold and wet so everyone is rejoicing in this summer spell, unearthing short pants and sandals and gathering at beaches and barbecues. Saturday was warm but foggy. The clear skies and sunshine moved in on Sunday. It was a bank holiday weekend, so there were loads of people in Ballycastle for the three day weekend. We went to Achill Island on Saturday. Our friends Andrea and Randy had tipped us off to take the road until it ends, as that would bring us to Keem Strand. Excellent advice, as the beach was one of the loveliest I've ever seen. I am sure that it must be on travel magazines' top ten beach lists: a fine sandy beach with blue green waters, a view of small rocky islands in the distance and spectacular landscape edging the beach - high green stubbly hills with brave grazing sheep scrambling about the steep terrain. There was no wind at all and so the light fog felt cozy. We rolled up our pants legs and played footsie with the waves, found sticks to draw pictures in the sand, watched scuba divers do their backwards walk into the water, built castles and climbed the rocks and hills in the name of befriending sheep. On the way home we passed a golf course packed with golfers - and sheep. We are sure there's a children's song waiting to be written: The Fore Baah Blues.
It's hard to think of leaving this place. I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse, but I've had loads of work to do for COA this week. I feel panicked that I don't have as much time to do all my favorite things in my final week but the busy pace has kept me from getting too sentimental. I will have the report I am writing done by Friday, giving me the weekend to move between packing, cleaning and reveling in our final two days in Ireland. We agree that we would like to come back. We can rent house and studio through the foundation if we'd like (at a discount; it would be about 40 euro/day) and we also met a man from Dublin who owns a beautiful house near the Bunatrahir beach that would be even cheaper to rent if we did a long term rental. It will be a few years before we might be able to come back, but it's nice to have in the back of our minds as we say our good-byes. Finn's excited to go home; he talks constantly about his best friend Henning, but he also wants to come here again. Today is his last proper school day. Tomorrow his class goes on a field trip to a small amusement park about 2 hours away and Friday his school is closed because it's election day and the school is used for voting. So this morning was his last day to don a uniform. I made cupcakes to send in with him so his class can have a special snack to mark the occasion. I'll do cupcakes (or queen cakes, as they are called here) for Corin's school on Friday.
So what's on the list of things we want to do before we depart: a final fish and chips meal (with a bottle of Lilt for me), a final walk on the back roads (the yellow wild iris are blooming), two more runs, as much time talking wit Brian in Polke's as we can manage, a final lunch at Mary's (where I've discovered that the chicken, cheese and pepper pannini is the way to go), and walks with the boys to buy treats at Brian's. And taking pictures, lots and lots of them, to capture the scenes that are now commonplace to me. I hope the weather is lovely that last night, as I'd like to sit out on the stone sculpture benches in the front yard and watch the view over the fields towards the water and share some wine with David (although he'll have a Guinness, I'm sure) until the midges drive us inside. It gets dark here at about 11 p.m. and I'm grateful to have the extra time to see this place.