Sherkin Island had apparently drifted about 2,000 miles to the south. Certainly the weather over the Easter holidays was worthy of the Canaries, with wall to wall sunshine and temperatures up to 18 degrees most days.
The odd patch of sea fog or cooling sea breeze was almost a welcome relief from the amazingly unrelenting sunshine. What a change from our Irish Easter break two years ago, which was truly Arctic with snow and temperatures of two degrees and storm force winds thrown in for good measure.
This year, we escaped for an Easter break on the Cork Riviera to stay in a friend’s cottage overlooking the sea. We looked forward to it with the trepidation and expectation of dashed hopes that inevitably fill the breasts of the foolhardy who choose to holiday in Ireland.
Yet the short ferry trip across from Baltimore could have been across the glassy Mediterranean, with blue waters shimmering under blue skies. We hauled over our supplies for the week as there are no shops on the island. Nor is there much in the way of mobile phone reception or internet. As the ferry came alongside the pier, a drawbridge was raised against the modern world. That short stretch of water seemed to prevent our everyday cares from crossing with us. They would stay marooned on the mainland for the week.
We wandered down familiar boreens to the sparkling strands where the kids splashed in the waves while I gathered driftwood for the fire. Despite the near-tropical afternoons, the nights turned frosty at times, a reminder that our latitude may not have changed quite as much as it seemed by day.
Sean, at five and a half, is now fit and hardy enough to join me on my evening rambles or “mountain adventures” as he sees them. From the top of the hill by the lighthouse he was convinced that we were so high up he could see Africa and Asia, peeking over the horizon.
We walked and talked. Chief amongst his concerns was that he had a wobbly tooth and if it fell out on Sherkin how would the tooth fairy be able to get over. Would she take the ferry? Fortunately, several fairies – including the tooth fairy’s helper – live in the glade in the middle of the island, and so his concerns were misplaced.
Without a car, television or a connection to the worrisome World Wide Web, we soon settled into a pace of life familiar to our ancestors.
Our world contracted cosily to the island and our mental gaze fell only on those around us. Time settled into a more natural, slower rhythm. Meals were simple, often drawn from the garden.
With no car, we walked everywhere together. Hours were spent exploring the universes of rock pools.
Long, luxuriant days were spent close by one another, from the sun’s rise to the fire of sunset. After seven days of this, we were replenished..