Christmas is a truly wonderful time of the year and it's one of my favourite as all the cousins, friends and family return from far flung shores! However, let's not make any bones about it - it's exhausting both physically and emotionally. The weeks of preparation beforehand, the mammoth cooking marathons and all of the socialising with the visitors - being ‘happy’ all of the time because ‘it’s Christmas’.
I absolutely love the ‘Silly Season’ and embrace it with both arms. In our house Christmas is all about the family – all hearts come home for Christmas. My sister, her husband and their little two year old come from Oxford and stay with us for about 10 days. Ten days of absolute mayhem and madness but we absolutely adore those times!
And while we can all thoroughly enjoy the good times, it’s such an emotionally charged time that only emphasises and strengthens the yearning we have for those who can’t be around the table. And sometimes that’s not easy to deal with – I find you can often be torn between enjoying the frivolities and joy of the current time but yet, there is a battle of emotions raging inside; guilt, remorse, and sadness that you’re in the present and enjoying the festivities but yet the one person we all miss so dearly can’t be there with us.
Our mum passed away, nearly 12 years ago after a long battle with MS and grief is a funny thing; I don’t think we ever get over losing someone and I wouldn’t say it gets easier. I think we just adapt and employ better survival techniques in so that we protect ourselves from the constant rawness of losing someone so dear to us.
Also, in more simple terms – if you’re like me, socialising can be exhausting! I often get accused of being grumpy or constantly ask ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and genuinely – there will be absolutely nothing, I can be in the best of form but…I just don’t want to talk. I literally have nothing to say. It's like my brain can’t find the energy or the words to engage in conversation. Surely it's not just me that experiences this!??
I’m not being rude or obtrusive, I'm more than happy to listen - I just don’t see the need to talk some times. Not often, but particularly around busy times it’s like my brain can just go into shut down and I need to give it a day to recuperate - that’s all, and it will come back. Now, that can be hard for social butterflies to understand. I used to go out with a guy and he found it really hard to understand that I would want to just be. Not talking. Needless to say that didn’t last, as lovely as he was! Anyway, I digress.
The purpose of this post was to just share my two pence on the importance of resting after Christmas – the festivities, as lovely as they are, they can teeter on the edge of becoming so all-consuming that it really is vital to just take a day or two in January, when all the fuss is over and just…be.
And I did just that yesterday. I messaged one of closest and oldest friends to see if she fancied a day out and off we headed to the ‘Murder Hole Beach’ in Donegal. It’s at the Northern end of Donegal and although I had spent many a summers up in Downings, only 10 minutes away from this beach, I’d never made it to Boyeeghter Bay or ‘Murder Hole Beach’.
I actually didn’t even know it existed until, through the powers of social media I had seen so many photos online I was sure I was going to make the trip up to it!
There are a lot of negative comments online about the guy who owns the land but I saw him approaching in his jeep and I got out to speak with him and ask his permission to walk on his land – he was more than amenable and showed us exactly where we needed to go. So maybe, if you’re up that way, just give him a nod and ask out of courtesy if it’s OK – ultimately he’s just trying to make a living off the land, just doing his job like you or I.
So why the dark name for such a gorgeous beauty spot? I have asked a few locals and done some research online as to why it is referred to as Murder Hole Beach and no one seems to know. But, don’t let the name deter you. I have been to many, many beaches all over Ireland. And I’m a huge advocate for the beaches in around Westport and Achill Island but I can say that hands down, this little secluded beach is by far the nicest I have witnessed in a really long time.
I’m not sure of the geology of the area but there is something special about the sand and rocks. I haven’t seen colours like it on a beach in Ireland – the sand is the most gorgeous golden colour and feels wonderful among the toes! The rocks, have a gorgeous deep purple colour to them – hard to believe that such a colour can exist in a stone. I can see why flowers would put so much energy into bright colours, to attract insects for pollination but rocks? Mindboggling.
Hidden caves and follies, cliffs and mountains surrounding it. It is magical. Siobhán gets this ‘just being’ thing and we each walked around the beach on our own secretly 'papping' each other taking in the sights and sounds and just marvelling at where we were. There is nothing quite like standing watching the ocean just rolling in and out, the calming nature of the water, to restore the soul. We really are so blessed living as close to the coast. I’ll never take that gift for granted.
Our souls restored, my feet absolutely freezing after a paddle and empty bellies after all the fresh air we ventured back towards Downings on the search of the Sibín Ceoil – The Singing Pub. From one magical place to another – a rustic, traditional Irish pub with an open fire and decent seafood on the menu. Couldn’t be happier! The food was great and the owner was friendly and welcoming – I’m only sorry we couldn’t stay for a few pints…next time!
Genuinely felt refreshed after a day out in nature with good company. If you’re not privy to getting outdoors, I genuinely cannot emphasise how much better you’ll feel. I feel like all the fog and mistiness that might have been remaining in my brain and soul after the Christmas buzz, the sadness of missing loved ones, the heavy heart having to say good bye to family and friends as they depart to far away shores – everything just feels lighter and clearer after a trip to the coast.
Big love as always and Happy New Year if it’s not too late!