Barefoot ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 247


One of the most precious feelings I know is that of warm sand on bare feet  and the joy of cooling off paddling in those little lacy waves that embroider our beaches, especially when the tide is coming in.

I’ve long been aware that this is not a sensation to be taken for granted and last week it flooded back to me when I was running down towards the beach for my swim at Garrarus Beach.

The place was deserted apart from a man and woman who were deep in conversation at the very end of the tiny car park which overlooks the beach.  The woman was sitting on the wall and the man was in a wheelchair. We exchanged ‘hellos’ and I went for my swim remembering the frustration of sitting on that very wall with my broken leg in plaster and not a hope of being able to get down the steps to the beach.  I had no idea if the man was likely to be in the wheelchair forever or if it was just a temporary situation.

Two days later, I met them again; this time they were with a smiley young man who asked me if I would take a photograph of the three of them as their holiday had come to an end and they were catching the ferry back to England early next day.

We had a great chat and it emerged that the wheelchair was likely to be for life.  There was an extra special feel to the sand that day and the waves seemed lacier than ever.

As I walked back along the beach the stones  were all gleaming in the sun and still wet from the receding tide.  I gathered three with each of my now familiar strangers in mind. They were incredibly different in shape and colour as the trio had shown such individuality in those few minutes that we had talked.


They were gone when I got back  but I caught up with them  as I rounded a bend which is always clad with honeysuckle at this time of year.  Pulling up,  I let down the window and handed each of them their stone.  I may as well have given them priceless gems, such was their surprise.

What had inspired all this had been learning that the man in the wheelchair is an artist. I hope that the stone ~ with its red, yellowy, orangey, golden tints, all blending like trees in Autumn, will fire his creativity even more and bring him back to Garrarus through art, imagination and hopefully in person.

Isn’t it amazing how people can touch your life in just a few moments?  They will always be part of Garrarus and its beauty for me now.

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

13 thoughts on “Barefoot ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 247”

  1. A great thought provoking piece of writing. Like you I am totally inspired by the beach stones and the many textures colours variety of stones rocks and pebbles of our local beaches.What a thoughtful gesture,some times the greatest gifts cost nothing but our
    time and consideration.

    Well done Jean

    1. Hi Sinead, I’d have to say that these three people were a total inspiration to me in terms of their whole demeanour and attitude. I think that, in a roundabout way, I wanted to connect into that and the stones seemed the obvious way, as like you, they always catch my eye with their uniqueness.

  2. Nice piece. I knew right away your poetic license was still current and valid as I read the words:
    “… little lacy waves that embroider our beaches…”

    1. Mamo, thanks for writing. The great thing for me is that the beach is moreorless on my doorstep and I can see the sea from the house ~ well from an upstairs window and hear it when the wind is right. I suspect my companions those days are not so fortunate. Hopefully, they will send me a copy of one of the pics we took when they get themselves sorted after their holiday and I will have a chance to get to know them better.

  3. It’s a nice thought that they will always have something from Garrarus as a reminder Jean. I have American visitors next week and you have me thinking what small and permanent item an they take away with them.

    1. Hi Roy, having spent many, many holidays in Jersey, the things that I treasure most are mugs that I painted myself at Jersey Pottery ~ as they represent time spent in sheer happiness and being able to be as creative or uncreative as I wanted. The other things are tea towels from Jersey Lavender which send me off to Jersey on a daily basis!

      1. Yes Jean, I had lavender in mind – maybe we’ll squeeze in a visit there next week. Jersey pottery is sadly now only made off-Island and the company has built on its original visitor cafe to become a major player in the restaurant game.

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