In May 2011, my best friend Nadine and I set off from our home towns on the opposite sides of the planet and met up at Heathrow International Airport, London. Our intention was to travel to Ireland and cover many Irish land miles on our self planned, self drive tour of this incredible green island. We had planned this trip for a year, and by the time we met at Heathrow, we were totally beside ourselves with excitement.
Nadine and I have been best friends since about the age of 14 or 15 and somehow, thanks to the wiles of love at first sight, she has found herself ensconced in the land of Oz. Australia has wrapped its luscious arms around her and she has found her place in Brisbane where she has created an oasis of beauty, creativity, self-sufficiency and productivity. I have been romanced by the Mother City (Cape Town) in my home country South Africa, and have lived here for just on 2 decades.
2011 was the year we were both celebrating our 40th birthdays, and how could we not do something life changing in this year when apparently life is meant to get better? We had to celebrate on a whole new level. So with great enthusiasm, I planned out the whole trip, as Nadine, being the super organized human being that she is, needed to take a serious break from organizing anything.
After spending some time with special friends in Stone (England), and treasured family in Dublin, we set off in our little black super powered Bat Mobile (so we wished) and headed off into the sunset with our bags, camera equipment, pencil crayons and a couple of sketchbooks in tow. Nadine drove and I told her where to go. My habitual fear of not making the right decisions for other people had to be pushed to the side. Here I was with our itinerary, plus the latest edition of the Lonely Planet and a map in hand, directing my super organized best friend on where she needed to get us to for our next beauty spot, tourist experience and sleep opportunity. Nadine was in her element with not making any decisions and I had to get over worrying whether I’d made the right choices for us or not. Brilliant experience for both of us!
We took the coastal route from Dublin and wound our way around Ireland in a clockwise direction. Each day was explosive with the beauty we encountered. I don’t think you can ever really explain the incredible detail that makes up the collage of Irish landscapes, but I’m going to try. Rolling green hills, dreamy eyed sheep, grey derelict houses, moss covered grave stones and misty bays dotted with old boats captured our hearts. Steeply soaring lichen covered cliff faces, textured fields decorated with pyramids of drying peat, ever present static statues of Saint Brigid (the Patron Saint of Ireland), majestic castles and vast expanses of cool waters known as lochs filled our imaginations with visuals for future dreams. Of course, most importantly, the fascinating Irish themselves in all shapes, colours and forms with the incredible affinity to weave the most fascinating tales, create music that makes your body move involuntarily and drink a decent pint or seven! Another gift, was my personal journey through the many delicious varieties of seafood chowder on almost every restuarant’s menu. Oh and of course, the faithful potato!
Each day we were in a new place. New smells, tastes and conversations. There was not a moment of boredom or irritation between us. Laughter spilt over and silliness crept in. Capturing the beauty around us was our main intention, and this we did with great gusto and enthusiasm from morning to night. There were some crazy moments. One in particular that stands out was when Nadine just absolutely had to capture a beautiful scene. There we were driving along a pretty, narrow coastal side road and Nadine caught the scene out the corner of her eye. What it was I can’t quite remember, but it was so exquisite that it inspired Nadine to stop the car at break-neck speed (utilizing her speed driving skills she’d acquired decades before), jump out and rush around to the boot (a.k.a. trunk) of the car shouting for me to get out and get the umbrella. With Nadine’s many year’s of experience of being an award winning professional photographer, she’s aware of how quickly the light can be lost on a beautiful scene, and so with powerful intention she loudly instructed me to run alongside her protecting her VERY expensive camera equipment from the rain. Picture the scene. It’s pouring with rain. Two women who don’t look like marathon runners belting down a road holding a camera and an umbrella, running away from their car. Well, we thought it was funny, and once the photo’s were taken, saw the humour in it and laughed til collapse for about 10 minutes.
In a moment of pure nostalgia in 2017 (almost 6 years later) I decided to set my laptop screensaver on the pics from this trip. So on a daily basis I’m reminded of this incredible adventure and the colours and images that infuse the memory of those crazy days. So I’ve created a short video of some of my photo’s, colour blocked (of course!) and definitely not in any formal sequence besides colour flow. My avoidance of excessive amounts of human beings and man made structures is not one of disrespect, but just an acknowledgment of Mother Nature and the incredible creative gift she has bestowed upon us which is our world and the detailed deliciousness that comes through all elements.
“Tá tú chomh álainn domsa”
translates into: “You are so beautiful to me.”
Until next time my beauties xxx