Have you ever stumbled upon a place that, for a reason you can’t quite put your finger on, just feels right, like it’s a place you’ve been missing but you never knew it was missing until you found it? Before we moved to Ireland County Donegal was not really on my radar, even after moving to Dublin I’d never thought to myself ” I need to go to Donegal!” But, one family holiday, I found a beautiful thatched cottage for rent on the Inishowen Peninsula and, upon arrival, I fell in love with the Peninsula; it was wild, rugged, remote, the mountains touched the sea, the beaches stretched for miles, it was full of ancient history, it was perfect and it became a place I returned time and again.
Within this perfect place was the spot I’d been missing and had just never known until I found it, a tiny speck of land called Doagh Island. When my husband was in Iraq I took two holidays by myself, renting a thatched cottage on Doagh Island. I spent hours roaming the beaches of Doagh Island, gathering rocks and shells, and I felt more at peace than anywhere I’d ever been. It’s hard to explain, there are a lot of places that make me happy, Doagh Island brought me beyond that, it brought me to bliss.
When we went back to Ireland this past April and May we spent our first week in Inishowen and I, again, spent hours wandering the beaches of Doagh Island. In this perfect, blissful spot, is a beach called Pollan Bay–it is the heart of my bliss. I don’t know why, it isn’t any prettier than any of the the other beaches, it just is, and I’ve stopped trying to figure out why, I just accept it and feel blessed that I’ve found my spot.
Our last morning in Inishowen was spent wandering Pollan Bay, my family knows how I feel about that beach and they always indulge my “just one more visit” mantra. It was very cold, very windy, completely silent except for the sound of the waves crashing on the sand, and I walked the beach one last time with tears in my eyes. I know I will always return but that doesn’t make it an easy place to leave– the one downside of finding “the spot” is that you know what is missing when you’re not there. I leaned into the wind with my full weight, held my arms out, and closed my eyes. I stood like that for a good minute or so, letting the wind hold me up, letting it roar against my face and dry my tears, knowing the one thing I can do is hold the way I felt in that moment with me until I returned. I will always return, it isn’t an option not to go back.
I have a hard time putting how I feel about that spot into words, it seems easier to do in pictures and some of my favorite quotes …
So that is my little spot of heaven on earth, the place I was missing and didn’t know I was missing until I found it. I wandered onto that beach, by chance or fate, one afternoon a handful of years ago and something inside of me clicked on, as if to say “look, you’ve found it, finally!” I remind myself that even when I’m not in my spot, my spot is always there, always gorgeous, always wild and untamed, waiting for me to return.