The sense of camaraderie at McCuaig’s, the sheer craic, and personal investment, coupled with beautiful landscape made my time on Rathlin second to none. Special mentions to the hostel-runners: Fergus and Tania; but especially Sean, Patsy and Rohan, who made me feel like a member of the family. How could I not take another
week? On my final day we spotted blue whales jumping in Mill Bay, right in front of the hostel.
DVD for Always Sunny in Philadelphia Series 1-2 arrives. Check out the box’s audience warning marks.
Sean (McFaul) reckoned I’d experience culture shock on return to Belfast. At first, little things; then the rising noise of the traffic, the internalisation of city folk, and a return of claustrophobia. Still, Rathlin’s weather taught me to appreciate the colours and patterns closer to home.
Enter, Sean Duffield, cartoonist of Paper Tiger Comix, who I’d invited to come from Brighton and be my guest in N. Ireland. Sean had one request.
Belfast to Ballycastle, often it’s needed to change buses at Ballymena. We discovered a small park five minutes from the station with these beautiful Four Seasons statues.
Sean gets comfortable seal-spotting down at Rue Point, earning the nickname ‘Manimal’.
We take the round-island coach trip.
Even saw a peregrine falcon at West Lighthouse. It’s a pleasure having Sean D around. His sticking to daily writing exercises provides the perfect context for professional practice myself. Sean is also an awesome cook. There’s not much pub time, as Sean wants to walk e v e r y w h e r e.
We do make a visit to Yvonne Braithwaite’s Breakwater Arts Studio, hosting Rathlin’s first ever Culture Night. It’s an intimate evening of songs and stories from islanders, handed down through generations, as the sun goes down accompanied by deelish cheeses and warming wines.
Watershed Cafe Suzie shows us around some caves.
And we’re introduced to a healing pool, legend having it that if you bottle this water and give it to a friend, it will clear foot ailments of all descript. Though you can’t use the water on yourself…
…No. It really has no effect.
We set sail for home like every visitor to Rathlin, forever changed.
I’ll be returning this weekend (5th December), for a few drinks in the bar. You’re invited to join us.
If you’d like to keep a closer eye on Rathlin, there’s a host of stuff around the web, including the Rathlin Community Page, and the regularly rewarding Friends and Residents of Rathlin page on Facebook.