On Beara Peninsula in Southwest Ireland

I just finished a women’s retreat in Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula. What a beautiful location — I love the rocky hills, the open skyline, the sheep, the islands, and the way the water changes color depending on the light. I spent the week writing, talking, listening, reading, walking, singing, and eating with eleven other women at Anam Cara. I learned that this journey that I have embarked upon could be called a pilgrimage (although not in the spiritual sense) because sometimes a pilgrimage just begins with a calling to be somewhere other than where you are, without a defined destination or goal. The word pilgrim has its origins in the Old French pelerin/peregrim which can mean foreigner or stranger and it is related to the Latin for ‘from abroad.’ Peregrination is also an apt word. We read the poem Santiago by David Whyte (Lori should be happy to know!) from his Pilgrim series that described the feeling of going on despite not knowing where or why. I stayed at the Coulagh Bay House Bed & Breakfast, where the proprietress treated me so kindly. She was generous with her time and advice and heated my room for me before I arrived home each evening.

I saw a sheep and her two newborn lambs still with the umbilical cords hanging from all three. I saw a ram with intensely curved horns that reminded me of the one horn we had mounted on a board when I was a child. I took a piece of linen and placed it in the nook of a moss-covered tree by a river cascading to the ocean and retrieved it, a little damper and browner, three days later. I ate delicious Atlantic salmon that the fisherman brought to the kitchen of Anam Cara on a blue board and cut off just the amount we needed for dinner. I learned that it is very restful and good for my creativity to have several hours of quiet time in the afternoon dedicated to thinking and writing.

We can see the seals on the small island — amazing clarity with the telescope!