Donegal – still beautiful

I have just returned from a weekend in Donegal, which is still beautiful, beaches and hills and hedgerows of red fuchsia and orange montbretia.

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A reunion weekend, with friends who once upon a time had been together at Queen’s University Belfast. Eight of us made it to George’s home at Rathgory, to a generous welcome, lots of comfort and all those books to browse and CDs to play (and he still has tapes).
We were all saddened on Saturday when we heard of Seamus Heaney’s death, though we had all the poetry there to read and remind ourselves. We were there (QUB) when he was there, but he wasn’t published or famous, yet. So we missed a chance, as we have noted before now.

One of my favourites,


A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.

There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens.

This poem was given to me by Jean McCartney many years ago, the only one of ‘our crowd’ who did know Heaney, but she herself died thirty years ago, we remembered her too. And a different Jean, Cecil’s wife who died more recently. Some of the music we played, that Jean used to sing.

And, we had a lot of music, and all those daft jokes I can’t recall.

Walking and talking, eating, sharing the clearing up. Thanks George, Cecil, Wilf, David, Desmond, Sandra and Irene. And also Carmel and Michael from nearby there.

Music of what happens, now and again, close enough.


8 thoughts on “Donegal – still beautiful

  1. To your ‘Music of what happens, now and again , close enough’ is to breath and friendship shared on earth close to being symphonic but the sound is unique depending on the characters playing in the orchestra.

    Side lined and out of the picture….I enjoyed the wee glimpse of Donegal scenically and inwardly; similar but entirely different perspective than that of Speccy’s Donegal.


    1. thanks for the comment – I love Speccy’s Donegal too and remember it well as I was there thirty years ago with husband and kids, though we stayed in small houses rather than caravans, as my Dad was always with us too. We did not have the photos and the blogging. The George whose home we were sharing this weekend is the ex-husband, no longer in my travels very much. Maybe the perspective is different, “still beautiful” has many layers of meaning. You see layers I think – you would have loved the music.


    1. It was only three days – but so much worth it. Reunions can be mixed bags I think, but this was one of the really good ones, well worth making the effort. I feel you appreciate this – thanks for the interest and comment


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