When I was a child, dolphins were a world away from us, despite our proximity to the sea. On Rathlin Island in County Antrim, Ireland, we were blessed with bods of seals and the occasional excitement of spotting the jet black sheen of a porpoise briefly appearing from the dazzling seawater. Dolphins, though, are now… Continue reading Swimming in #Rathlin’s cultural landscape
I'm delighted to be taking part in a few events over the next wee while. First up, on Thursday 31st of May, I'll be at home on Rathlin chairing an event with the acclaimed Irish novelist Bernie McGill as part of the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival. Bernie will be reading from her brilliant Rathlin Island based… Continue reading Summer chat, upcoming events.
A mostly storm-bound week spent working, writing and sea-watching at my home on Rathlin Island concluded yesterday, and with it came tears as I packed up my computer and made for the city. Standing on the pier, my heart wonderfully weighted with contentment, I prepared to mourn the emptiness I would soon feel as its goodness thinned. Like… Continue reading An #Irish act of union – a #Rathlin island welcome.
I'm returning to the city tomorrow, back to my home town of Glasgow. I've been at Maoil na nDreas, my home on Rathlin Island, for three weeks. I've been working (a lot) but I've also been holidaying, spending quality time with family, writing, laughing, looking. Just looking. We don't look enough. When we do, we… Continue reading Saying goodbye is easier when the island is keeping watch.
Rathlin Island, the only habited island in Northern Ireland, has been a hot topic recently after a half-joking (and therefore half-serious) post-Brexit campaign to join an independent Scotland was picked up by the Scottish media. The campaign was spotted by political correspondent Gerry Braiden and he subsequently wrote an extensive article in the Herald. This was followed by a… Continue reading Post #Brexit Rathlin Island isn’t just about Robert the Bruce, spiders and snakes.
The swallows are home from their travels, fountain pen tails inking the sky with stories, polished backs glistening like stars falling from the passing night. They are way too quick to allow me to photograph them but they are making their presence felt, swooping low and daringly along the edge of the patio, their new… Continue reading Pushing beyond the swallows at Maoil na nDreas.
I'm at my island home. There's a storm outside. The wind is strong and vocal, its intensity tossing the sea into a sky kneeling so low it is swallowing salty water hungrily; head back, gaping throat open, the effervescent foam gushing down its impossibly long neck. The peat is burning, its heavy hue hitching an easy ride on the fertile surf that… Continue reading Today the world lost a friend and the island mourns.
It has been a long time since I've made it home to Mullindress, my wee house up the hill on Rathlin Island. Nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. The light has altered, and continues to do so daily. The sun rises and falls from a new perspective; this morning barely climbing beyond the horizon,… Continue reading A winter tale.
The swallows are making ready to leave. Birds from all over the island are gathering in gulps (I'm on Rathlin), their polished backs glistening as they line up on telephone wires, preening and prancing as they wait for the word that will send them on down to South Africa for the winter. Occasionally they appear back up… Continue reading Rathlin Island swallows and #JimBaxter
It's spring in Ireland. It kicks in like clockwork on the 1st of February, St Brigid's day, the spring season running from February to April. I'm in Ireland to greet its impatient arrival, on Rathlin, at my home in Mullindress. And here it is, summoned, the spring peering from a burrow like a rabbit outthinking… Continue reading springtime on Rathlin