Achill is a large island off the west coast of Mayo and is joined to the mainland by a bridge, making it as accessible as you’re going to get in these parts. It is renowned for its beaches and water sports enthusiasts flock there for surfing, kayaking, windsurfing and all the rest of it. We camped at Keel beach – there is an excellent camp site there. Unfortunately, it’s not close to anywhere and it took us almost three hours to get there from Galway. Friday was a cracking day but by the time we got to Keel, it had already started to mist over. Alb and I got the tent up before it got heavier. By the time Kev and Siobhán arrived from Dublin, it was even wetter. They got their tent up and some things unpacked and we vamoosed for some food… and later, some drink in a terrifyingly nationalist pub (“26 + 6 = 1”, pictures of Gerry Adams and hunger strike martyrs of the H-block, signposts to “United Ireland – 32”).
In the morning, the weather was much the same.
Note the stylish combination of wellies with pyjamas
Then it got worse. We all huddled under Kev and Siobhán’s canopy and devoured eggs and sausages. Donny and Ciara arrived and we watched them pitch their tent in the rain. Can you sense the joy? Camping in the rain is no fun. But… after a few hours, it cleared up and we had an omen of better things to come.
Donny and Ciara went diving and after they came back, it was burgers out for a barbeque. By the time we’d finished up, the evening had turned out gloriously.
Sunday was just as good but everybody had to head home. Donny and Ciara headed off early. Kev and Siobhán stuck around and I went for a surfing lesson. I’ve always wanted to give it a go but didn’t want to have to invest in a board or a wetsuit first. So I rented them off a guy at the beach and got a lesson from one of the lifeguards. It was so much fun! Also. You know the guys you see on tv and in magazines? They are superheroes. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. I didn’t even get close to standing up on my board. My arms were just too puny. What I like about it is that you’re never in too deep – only as far as waist depth – and when you get it right, there’s a great kick out of it.
I got a real surfer glow from the sun and I’m still recovering the power in my arms. I had to use both hands to turn on the light yesterday. We’re off to Electric Picnic on Friday until Monday and then to Boston next Tuesday, so this blog will become more of a travel-log for the next week or two. There’ll still be knitting though, especially with the flight and the bus ride from Boston to New York. Yay! I think I might get a surf board bag because it’s cheaper than a board… and fill it with wool.