This January, when the waves beat against the rooftops of the homes and businesses on Lahinch’s sea front I wonder if people knew what the sea would bring in. Pavement was torn apart, windows broken, and the town flooded. It was a town under attack. Looking at the sea front now one might not realise the ferocity of the storm and the damage it caused. The buildings still stand tall, even if a little worse for wear.
But the locals see what the sea brought in. They tidied the town in the ways they could but there are changes that they won’t be able to reverse.
Half of the pristine sandy beaches of one of Ireland’s premier surfing towns is now littered with boulders, so much that you can’t see the sand beneath them. To me, the thousands of rocks looked as though they had always been there when the reality is that one storm carried them in covering over the perfectly sandy beach that was once there. But to me, it is just as beautiful. I don’t really remember it without the stones.
Like the storm that hit the west of Ireland just two months ago, there are forces of change beyond our control that threaten our places of safety. They draw us out and make us question our wisdom of making our home so close to the sea – the unpredictable sea. Were we too risky?
The pastel colours that filled my vista as I drove closer and closer to the edge of Ireland took my breath away. The beauty of the sky, the sea, the streets, and the people were unique to this collection of buildings and life.
After the hurt is gone and the strength to stand returns we see what the sea brought into our lives. Friends and family who love us help to pick up the pieces and put them back together again. It changes the landscape for good – but there is beauty there. And when we open the roads to let newcomers and visitors in again they will stand in awe of the creation that we are. They won’t see the storm, they will see the beauty.