Day 7: Bundoran coast walk in the morning--magical!
Darragh told us a little about surfing in Bundoran, the surf capitol of Ireland. There are a few good spots, but one of the concerns the young people now have is that of water pollution (one break is sometimes called "S*** Hole," or something like that). It seems that, until now, sewage has just gone into rivers & streams and from there out into the ocean--people just haven't given thought to the effect of waste on the land and ocean. Now the government is planning to set new laws and build new waste management systems, which is going to cost money, which raises taxes, which upsets people... How does one change the mindset of people? At home we have over-development, because people "have a right" to do what they want with "their" land, including build hotels and condominiums, which house more people, who consume more water and make more waste, which depletes & pollutes the land, which they deplore but, hey, it's their right! Tsa!
I am really wondering about the indigenous culture of Ireland--where did the first people come from, and what was their belief & relationship to the land (and sea and plants and creatures)? It does not seem to be like the Hawaiian belief that all are familially related, but more the western view of man separated from his surrounding.... Must do research.
In addition to 'opihi (limpets) great and small, they have periwinkles, or winkles, Littorina littorea (see Wikipedia), too. I guess our version, kōlea, are a different subspecies. For more on these, see pūpū kōlea, by Joanna Eder.
The flowers were everywhere! Carpets of Sea Pinks (aka Sea Thrift, Armeria maritima) growing right down on the limestone! I know, we have our 'ilima, pāʻūohiʻiaka, hinahina, naupaka... growing on the sandstone by the ocean..but these were mixed in with the greenest grass! It never ceases to amaze me how plants can grow in soil we'd think was impossible; truly nature is magical, and there's a place for everything (and everyone). Having taken about 20 plant pictures, I finally caught up with everyone at the Fairy Bridge, in time to photo Ryan cross while Ulu gazed at the beauty.
In the afternoon, it was our turn for a surf lesson. For me, the least said, the best. The highlight was putting on a wet suit and trying to walk in surf boots, not to mention bobbing in white water with a sponge board. Great comedy, if anyone was watching. I opted to leave the water early (hey, I did experience the Wild Atlantic!), only to find out that it was more dangerous to be out than in. Our instructor gave me a windbreaker to wear and made me drink hot tea, all to prevent hypothermia from being wet and in the wind (it's warmer to stay in the water). I had a great time walking the shoreline and picking up shells. Thank heavens they didn't allow cameras in the dressing room, 'cause taking off the wetsuits was even harder than putting them on! It only took three people to get me out of mine:-)
This evening we saw a surf film about Irish surfers exploring the history of George Freeth, a half-Irish, half-Hawaiian man who became famous for his surfing and life-guard activities in mainland America. Three Irish surfers were inspired to seek out surf spots in their own homeland, a sort of Irish "Endless Summer." I had never heard of George Freeth, so this was a new page of history for me. The next day, some of us went shopping/cruising Bundoran's main street and went into the surf shop owned by one of the surfers from the movie. We told him we'd seen the movie, and he replied that that was a long time ago, when he was young and crazy. Right then, his young daughter came into the shop, and I could see that crazy surfers can become caring daddys...