How long would I have to live here before the surroundings became routine and not worthy of wonder, excitement – and photographs? I doubt that the dramatic beauty of this place could ever become mundane to me, in any amount of time.

A boat in the Shannon Estuary at Loop Head this foggy evening.

Tonight at dinnertime, Eoin and I decided to drive away from Kilkee and further into Loop Head for a bite to eat. During our many journeys around Loop Head we have often passed a pub that sits along the shore of the Shannon Estuary, which borders the southern part of the Loop Head Peninsula with the Atlantic on the northern shoreline. Keating’s Pub is in the townland of Kilbaha,  just a couple of miles from the very tip of the peninsula where the lighthouse stands. The beautiful setting of this pub and the remoteness of the site have beckoned me to pay a visit.

Dinner itself was a pretty basic affair, with Eoin opting for the usual Chicken Goujon and me, the vegetarian stir-fry with rice. Following our meal, and after a pleasant conversation with the pub owner about a local man whose book I am currently reading, we said goodbye and headed for the car to make our way home. Much to my surprise, in the hour or so we took to have our meal, a cloud had descended upon Loop Head and the whole area was thick with mist. Dusk quickly approaching and the fog around us, the sensible thing to do may have been to head straight home, but I couldn’t resist driving further up the road so that we might see what the lighthouse looked like in such a thick, foggy mist. Visibility made it difficult to see beyond about two or three car lengths so I drove slowly along. Somehow, Loop Head, even in these conditions, didn’t seem eerie to me. It simply presented a scene of peacefulness and a bygone era. When we arrived at the farthest tip of the peninsula the fog was so thick that the lighthouse was just a barely visible outline of light grey surrounded by white.

We didn’t stay long at the lighthouse but we didn’t rush home either. I drove slowly for safety’s sake and we were able to take in the passing scenery with the attention it deserved. The Atlantic on our left and the Shannon on our right were invisible at the narrowest part of the peninsula. It looked as though the world ended at the cliffs. As we proceeded further down the road toward Kilkee things cleared up just enough to see a bit farther into the Shannon and we were able to ponder the fishing boats anchored offshore, wondering aloud about what it was like sitting in a boat in the water on a night like this.

Keating’s Pub in Kilbaha in a cloud.

We passed Keating’s again on the way back and I decided to stop at a clearing at the side of the road to take a photo of the pub surrounded by the mist. Wandering a bit further along the road, we stopped again at a rocky shoreline where seals sometimes visit. No seals were present at the moment, but Eoin had fun looking for them! As I took photos of him on the look out for seals, we heard cows mooing in the mist behind us.

Pretending to spot seals on the rocks!

Back in the car, we drove on toward Kilkee, only to stop again as we passed a mother horse walking about with her youngster, peacefully nibbling on the grasses of the field, appearing unconcerned with the mist surrounding them. This idyllic scene called for more photos, which not only show the horses, but the beautiful field they were grazing upon. Mother and child looked back at us curiously, perhaps wondering what sort of lunatics would be out driving and taking pictures on such a night!

Mother and child observing mother and child – the fog barely showing up in the photograph! Photo by Eoin.

By the time we entered our cottage through its newly installed half-door, we were both physically satisfied from our meal and spiritually satisfied by the delightful drive home afterward. Here on the Loop Head Peninsula, non-events become events and a simple dinner can become a journey through the mists to a place out of time.

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