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Wild Atlantic Way – Gráinne Daly

I woke up in a Kevin Barry story. Without a doubt, if he had woken up ‘in in’ the Park in Mulranny, with 120 mile gusts lambasting the old sash window out of it, and the carcass of a lichen covered tree sailing past, he’d say what he says about such things: it’s end of the fecking world stuff out there. The driveway now a tributary to Clew Bay, a stream gushing down past the two disabled spots, and three ewes huddled inside the fresh cavity left by the departed tree. The pier beyond was swallowed and spat out again by muscular waves chasing at it diagonally, whitewashing it from end to end with a peculiar musical frequency. Croagh Patrick, obscured completely by a thick paste of unfallen rain, now a mere holy ghost of a mountain. A slippery silence from the window suggested that the wind was out of breath; that it was tiring; that the show was over. An almighty squeal from outside confirmed otherwise when the rear bumper on a maroon Skoda liberated itself from the car and levitated above the boot before propelling itself across the carpark in the direction of a German tour bus. Just then ‘Achtung Baby’ came on my Spotify and the tiny kettle came to the boil. I tore a teabag from its hand-stitched sachet and used all four milk pots to try get it a drinkable colour but it somehow still looked like a cup of rust. Stockinged feet on the bed, tea in hand, I sat back and checked my email for the umpteenth time. No sign. Not yet anyhow.

I craned my neck at the window to try get sight of the leisure centre, but needn’t have made such an effort; a chrome arch of stairs that bridges the pool to the jacuzzi was now on top of the Skoda’s roof. A rainbow of colour ran beneath the tour bus where a range of floats had lodged themselves. Out on the main road, perfectly placed perhaps, was a yellow sign that read ‘Caution Wet Floor’. Every few seconds there was the sound of old mattress springs coming from the tug between the gust and the roof panelling over the swimming pool. Like the lid of a sardine can slowly tearing back, the metal strip curled on itself further with every new lick of wind in a mesmerising show that revealed a strip of aquamarine pool beneath the rupture. I reached for the remainder of my tea, turning back just in time to see the final altercation: the long strip of jagged metal jerked back and forward and then gave a final double tug in response to a whip of wind that lifted it clear off the building. The gale a winner, the roof hurled in the direction of Nephin Beg. Rain pissed into the pool. I hit refresh: still no reply. Empty as the hollow wind.